Mars has been a long-shot target for NASA and various space researchers around the world who believe that the Red Planet could be a potential human colony in the future. Now, the theoretical travel time for humans to reach Mars, according to NASA’s calculations, is around 9 months with the minimum distance between Earth and Mars being 54.6 million km. However, engineers from Canada have devised a new laser-propulsion system that claims to reduce the travel time to just 45 days. Let’s take a look at the details.
Humans Can Reach Mars in 45 Days: Study
A team of researchers and engineers from Montreal’s McGill University say that they have devised a new laser-propulsion-based spacecraft that could take humans from Earth to Mars in just over six weeks. The researchers suggest a directed-energy propulsion system using large lasers based on Earth to jet-shot a spacecraft from Earth to Mars in the said time.
Using the system, the researchers say they will be able to accelerate a spacecraft very quickly near Earth using the lasers. These laser beams move the spacecraft into deeper space at a speed, which is comparable to the fraction of the speed of light. Following the acceleration, the spacecraft will reach Mars over the next month.
“The application of directed energy to spacecraft mission design is explored using rapid transit to Mars as the design objective. An Earth-based laser array of unprecedented size (10 m diameter) and power (100 MW) is assumed to be enabled by ongoing developments in photonic laser technology,” reads the research paper published by the McGill University engineers.
While the main vehicle will land on the Red Planet in 45 days, the rest of the spacecraft will return to Earth to be recycled for the next launch.
“A phased-array laser of this size and incorporating atmospheric compensation would be able to deliver laser power to spacecraft in cislunar space, where the incident laser is focused into a hydrogen heating chamber via an inflatable reflector. The hydrogen propellant is then exhausted through a nozzle to realize specific impulses of 3000s. The architecture is shown to be immediately reusable via a burn-back maneuver to return the propulsion unit while still within range of the Earth-based laser,” it further adds.
For those who don’t know, this reduced travel time can be achieved using nuclear fission-powered rockets but that has radiation risks. This new system appears to solve this problem.
Although this sounds like a feasible system to reach Mars or even explore other deep-space areas of our universe, the spacecraft to test out this theory currently does not exist.
While Elon Musk thinks that humans would be able to reach Mars in the next six years, NASA and China aim to send humans to the Red Planet by the 2030s. So, we can expect researchers and engineers to develop and build a spacecraft that would support the laser-based directed-energy propulsion system and work on this tech. What do you think about this? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
This sounds extremely dangerous from Earth ? What would this do to the atmosphere ?
I honestly do not believe that a Mars Starship could be launched from Earth. Much easier to take off from a space station or the Moon. Less gravity , less risk to where we all breathe.
What is the purpose of a Mars mission ? Elon Musk proposes that it is about survival. I know that he must realize that to create
a small colony there would take a concerted effort for 30 years, with advances in flight technology.
We can’t seem to be able to plan well for next year currently.
Tremendous Science but it did occur to me right following reading this fiction that in the absence of a complementary laser array propulsion system on Mars, a back up system must be in place for the return journey …which must take significantly longer than 45 days.Seems to me that a Moonbase Alpha programme would be a better initiating step.However, now that Russia is pulling out of the International Space Station, how feasible is all of this should the Ukraine level of contestation be prolonged? Let us engage a Cortico Thalamic Pause over this.
I am very excited for this mission. It’s amazing, I wish I am become a part of this mission. and I pray for the mission is successful complete
Let us,first,make air travel on earth safer and probably faster!
This is only science fiction.
How the himan body withstand the so much acceleratio for a period of 45 days even with more sophisticated space suit.
How do they get back if the laser array is on earth?
SOS this is earth calling WW3 has started one way ticket to mars for sale armageddon out of here .
If you think that Mars is a better planet to live on, how about considering that you will be much, much closer to the asteroid belt. Good luck! Paula
Saving time and fuel on outward trip only still means saving fuel, time, and expendables. Savings is savings. Might make the difference between doable and impractical.
If built on moon’s surface no atmospheric compensation would be necessary.
Even if Mars existed and we could go there, do we humans really want to destroy another planet. We are a very destructive species. Concentrate on putting earth right and alleviating suffering, that would be a more honourable thing to do.
This is the moment where humanity will look back in the area of space travel as Historical moment. Kudos to the team. As the comman term there will be the. Beam me up.. And instead of colonizing Mars, we should first do that on Moon
Why are we in such a rush to destroy another planet ..we haven’t even completely ruined this one yet .
Regardless of the propulsion system how to stay alive is more the point I think. Colonisation and subsequent terraforming are thought provoking. Kim Stanley Robinson wrote an epic trilogy about the colonisation and terraforming of the red planet. Check it out, well researched and completely engaging.
This is not anything that is new! I have been reading about a Earth based laser propulsion system sence the 1970. Currently we lack the technology to exist in outer space beyond earth’s low orbit for any lengthy time period, (mars included). Although our mach. (AI) seams to be doing a great job! We as a race of humans we have to remain patient, keep science in the forefront(as Mr E. Musk is doing and others) an try not to destroy this wonderful place an each other so fast and let our science continue . eventually we will have portable Fusion and shielding any moxie (portable air!!!!! We as humans can get there!
That would be traveling TO Mars but obviously will not work for the return journey as there will be no laser system on Mars to propel a space craft back to Earth.
To tell you the truth 8 to 9 months doesnt seem to be that long to get to mars?!, i dont know why everybody has a heart attack about that time difference?! Time goes by really fast these days and its way better than 8 to 9 years travel?! But this lazer technology doesnt sound too bad, just build the damn space craft and stop all this worry about cost and time and other factors! Let god worry about it and do it darn it!!
My only concern is Particles floating around in space. What happens should a space craft hit a small pebble or larger size space rock at this high speed. Will it withstand the impact? And hopefully not a Cluster of space rock. Also I don’t know if Flying Saucers are real but They sure have the Best Design so far For Skimming Through Debris At Higher Speed
With the plan of colonizing mars we should also focus on reducing population to 2 billion in upcoming next 100 years ……
I think it’s fantastic….the fact that we could colonize Mars is just incredible…another planet for our kind!! This is where our energies should be focused, not fighting with each other!!! Thank you to the scientists who working on our brilliant future!
That’s the spirit 🙏
Actually a better solution would be to make this planet more habitable in the future. On Mars you’d be forever ‘imprisoned’ in a claustrophobic pressure suit whenever you left the claustrophobic confines of a structure. No beautiful outdoors environment, only a starkly barren and inhospitable red dust and rock ‘landscape.’ I know this sounds pessimistic but it is absolutely true; in short order after making yourself ‘at home,’ you’d surely start missing Earth 🙂
I agree. Completely we shots be so beyond war and other such savage behavior. I am grateful for those people who care about the advancement of everyone not about petty self serving things that will only bring destruction and demise its truly restoring my faith in mankind. THANK YOU TO THE PEACE SEEKERS !!!!
Ready to go now!!
What happened to the guy that said he can build a spacecraft that will go from the Earth to the moon in 1 second and can reach Mars in 15 minutes what happened to that guy
He’s probably the leader of Russia now
How do they slow down?
That’s what I’m thinking.
They could have thrusters when entering Mars’ gravity, or they could keep the shuttle in low orbit and deploy from there a lot of different options
They perform an aerobraking in Mars high atmosphere, to reduce speed enough to stay in orbit.
Landing becomes a payload mission.
It sounds better than chemical propulsion and would probably be cheaper too since you’d be shipping less fuel. I wonder how atmospheric conditions might affect its reliability / performance.
The laser array operates at 1micron wavelength, infrared, atmosphere is transparent to it.
Price of fuel.is going to keep us mostly at home. Covid hasn’t helped!
Agree can go to Mars in 45 days how about return it will still be 500 days the spacecraft which shoots laser will return back to earth there will be only main aircraft in Mars…
Initially sending cargo to Mars, one ton at a time, with zero braking at 8gs for a few minutes. Eventually a similar system, less powerful, could be set up to catch incoming payloads, brake, send back another payload to Earth.
Beam me up Scott ready to leave earth for a better place
I like,it. Sounds brilliant,just have it, the power supply in a portable configuration so you could just strap it on to any type of platform starship or cargo ship and move things baby.
Power supply in portable configuration? This is a 100MW beam, requiring a conventional earth bound powerplant, e.g. nuclear. Also cheaper to operate from the ground.
So Dr Evil had it right with the “giant laser beam”?
Different indeed but speculation is indeed needed if the Chinese are to be backed off..Why not involve our most brilliant students in this enterprise and allow some freedom of expression….
Who will go
duh you of course, who else…
Very wonderful. Have it materialize.
Colonizing Mars is the pipe dream of billionaires. It is NEVER going to happen. We should take care of the only home that we have, the same problems that we have on earth will just simply go with us to Mars.
you get a thumbs up for this lovely speech
Go for it
Very interesting and eager to know more data of going to our neighbor planet Mars!
Yes this is the best solution for travel to our neighbor, Mars. And I do believe it would work. It is hard to understand why we have waited so long for this to happen.
Because the key technology here ain’t the ship, but the 100MW laser array, still in conceptual stage at UC Santa Barbara.
All very well but how would it get back to earth?
Conventional methods like fuel would be used to return
duh thats for you to figure out when we put you in the craft, we have done our best find your own way i rest my case
I hope they really can do what they say because we are destroying this planet very quickly at the moment Cheer’s
One thing to accelerate to such speeds, but another thing to slow it sufficiently on arrival at Mars to allow it to go into orbit…and then land.
And what about the G forces of such acceleration/ deceleration on the people inside the space vehicle?
Bingo, are the astronauts turned into jelly with the g-force involved during acceleration?
Good point, addressed in the study. Initial payloads will have to aerobrake in Mars high altitude, with 8g for the first 3 minutes, kinda max for humans, not to land but to remain in orbit. Payload then takes over the landing mission.
Great news however, I suspect that this method of travel is a one way ticket as it is an Earth based laser that initially propels the spacecraft.
Yes. It is initially, and with cargo.
But the system is really like a shuttle/booster: shuttling back and forth between LEI and about 50,000 km, it can send and release payload after payload, tilt, use the laser to brake and return to LEO, refill with H2, launch again.
I am hopefully that humanity has a second chance. Go Elon
Are we getting close to warp speed??☺️👌👌👌
Remember you need the same amount of energy to stop again! Do you have a friendly laser operator on Mars or is something else envisaged?
Nope, aerocapture , aka aero braking in high Martian atmo. Dicey but doable
Yes, it may be a reality in the years to come.Most of the scientific inventions and ideas were thought to be not possible when scientists spoke about them at the beginning stage.Definitely by the turn of this century, the world will see amazing scientific development
Exactly scientist able to make a spacecraft that can reach on Mars one day by using sensor technology.so can travel and back to earth by spacecraft and can settle on Mars as we all know when disaster on earth will come.
Good one.Enhances ability to explore deeper universe
How does the space craft and passengers return to earth ?
Initially this is a cargo one way trip, can do a whole set of one ton at a time with same booster. All this cargo gets on Mars. Eventually the same techno can operate from Mars.
Nice , but sharing this info could give other rogue countries ideas to use this technology to further develop there own weapons such as hypersonic missiles or aircraft etc.
In my past I had a dream of a propulsion concept that once the object was put in motion , it would constantly increase in speed , perpetually . Never pursued my dream any further, but always questioned it.
Why we are so interested in exploring the red sand planet! But why not we try to make the world a better place like sahara where livelihood is possible yet just unavailability of water supply.. So that many homeless people may have new home… In Mars no oxygen, no near source of water.. No life but Just the absence any form of live. sometimes I feel like this is technological madness but it’s informative though.. That’s why we human are created in the likeness of God in intelligence.. But the same may lead us one day in despair. What shall we do out there. That is another point of views..
This is nothing new. This science has been around forever. The issue is space debris in the path of the space vessel. At those speed, a tiny pebble would obliterate a craft. One would have to send some sort of reflective shield or shields through first to clear a path, and even then… Yep.
One my favourite SF scenes the Earth crew lands on Mars after months of space travel (years of training) only to find some college kids invented a wormhole in the meantime, basically standing there in a pressure suit with a snorkel giggling and waving to them as they land LOL Vernor Vinge if I recall correctly.
Not understanding the science sending humans into space via laser seems George jetson. Nuclear propulsion is age accepted.
If the laser is earth based, how would we protect anything flying over head? Seems more feasible for this to be moon based, and powered by a nuclear reactor.
What’s going on that we are not getting told too many advances in technology too many questions no answers
When shouting the leaset beam from earth, this means the return would take the regular time. No word about this in the article.
True enough, the initial missions will send cargo payloads at Mars. Either to land it or keep it in orbit as a station.
Later a similar system can be set up on Mars for two ways rapid transit .
At the very least you should give the credits to the research authors, or the quoted comments…