Right now NASA scientists are weighing in on that subject again, claiming that the cutting-edge technologies needed to making this pipe dream a reality are getting closer by the day.
Imagine getting to Mars in just 3 days… or putting points beyond our solar system within our reach. New propulsion technologies could one day take us to these cosmic destinations making space travel truly interstellar! - Philip Lubin
Getting closer to that goal is a possibility with the all new Space Launch System (SLS), touted as the most powerful rocket every created as it puts out between 50 and 100 gigawatts of power when it takes off. If you don’t know how much that is — according to NASA and Philip Lubin that’s approximately the same as the energy needed to reach the relativistic speeds.
Keep in mind, reaching relativistic speeds would allow us to propel a hundred kilogram robotic spacecraft to Mars in just a few days. Translating to the size of a shuttle holding human occupants, it would only take “about a month” to reach the Red Planet. Anything in space within approximately 25 light years would be readily available for exploration. Yes, that would include several exoplanets that scientists believe may be habitable. The Alpha Centauri star system, for example, is ‘only’ 4 light years away from Earth.
A technology with a similar power output to the SLS will come into play and NASA believes this to be photonic propulsion. Photonic propulsion involves using emitted light particles for thrust, rather than heat or propellant and has long been hailed as the next-gen propulsion system among scientists.
Think of Photonic propulsion as the light that propels us to the highest speed, which ironically is the speed of light — the “ultimate rocket fuel” — what a fitting solution!
There are recent advances which take this from science fiction to science reality. There is no known reason why we cannot do this.
According to Lubin, NASA has a roadmap, so we are not only getting pretty close to realizing this theorized, futuristic type of rocket, but are finally inching closer to something we once thought is an eternity away…