Pulsed plasma rocket promises a wild acceleration in space travel | Space

A round trip to Mars – with our current technology – would take about two years: nine months to get there, three months of hangin’ out, waiting for the relative positions of Mars and Earth to line up closely again, then another nine months back. Howe Industries, funded by NASA, is aiming to make a round trip closer to a seven-month sight-seeing journey with its Pulsed Plasma Rocket engine design.

Mars can be as close as 34.7 million miles (55.8 million km) away or as far as 248.8 million miles (400.4 million km) away depending on where our two planets are in orbit around the sun.

Maybe you’ve already seen the figures for the Pulsed Plasma Rocket (PPR): 100,000 N (73,756 lb-ft) of thrust and specific impulse (Isp) of 5,000. For those of us that aren’t rocket scientists, those numbers are good. Really good. Especially when in the vacuum of space.

Specific Impulse is a measurement of “oomph” (not a scientific term) from the fuel used. The higher the number, the more efficient the rocket. Imagine less effort for greater effect when talking about Isp. For example, the SpaceX Starship that we’ve been seeing flying to and from Earth has an Isp of 327 at sea level and 380 in the vacuum of space. An Isp of 5,000 means a much lower fuel payload will be required to operate the rocket over longer distances in space. And the 100,000 N of thrust means it’ll boogie along nicely with…

Source newatlas.com

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