In Canada, it was proposed to send astronauts to Mars with a laser catapult. Local scientists believe that with the help of the revolutionary idea they will be able to reduce travel time to 45 days.
According to ScenceAlert, the idea is to build a laser-thermal propulsion system on Earth from a group of infrared lasers with a diameter of ten meters and a capacity of 100 megawatts. That’s about 80,000 American households.
The orbiting spacecraft will have a reflector that will direct rays from the planet’s surface into a heating chamber with hydrogen plasma. As the temperature increases, it will be ejected through the nozzle, thus creating a powerful thrust. According to the plan, when the radiation stops, the ship will accelerate to 17 kilometers per second.
However, here lies the main problem – scientists still have little idea how to slow down at the destination. This may require a similar laser installation on the Red Planet to create reverse thrust. But in this case, we have to wait until people master Mars.
Laser catapult flights may begin no earlier than 2040, and while the first colonists will have to get to Mars on conventional rockets. SpaceX Mask estimates that it will take them about six months to fly on traditional fuel.