Advanced Space Propulsion
A Mars mission
with VASIMR technology would be much like others envisioned in
numerous previous studies but much shorter. A one-way, slow, high-payload
capacity, automated cargo ship would leave first and place a habitat,
fuel and supplies on Mars. Following successful completion of
this robotic mission, a smaller, low-payload, fast ship will carry
the crew to Mars.
opportunity for a human mission occurs once every eleven years,
when Mars' orbit is closest to Earth's at the time the two planets
are in proper position for the transfer. Other opportunities exist
within this eleven-year cycle, but they are a bit more costly
It is important
to reduce the crew's exposure to weightlessness
and solar radiation; therefore, it is important to shorten the
trip time to and from Mars. Current chemical rocket science predicts
that one-way travel to Mars will take approximately 10 months.
The reduced travel time of the VASIMR, four months, would alleviate
these major concerns.