The 62 million mile trip from Earth to Mars may not stay so daunting if Young Bae’s photonic laser thruster has anything to say about it. Photon thrusters have a long history in rocket science, but so far have proven inefficient as a means of sustained thrust. Bae’s design has demonstrated physical proof that it’s capable of working on a small scale, and his design is scalable enough to allow for spacecraft traveling more than 62 miles a second. That means the normal 6 month trek to the Red Planet gets cut down to just about a week of travel time.
That’s super cool, so I’ll be excited to see what comes of Bae’s exhibition at the upcoming AIAA SPACE 2007 Conference & Exposition.
How awesome would it be to see manned Mars missions in our lifetime?