Science Space

These Are the Voyages…

Finally, it looks like NASA is developing a faster, lighter, more affordable form of rocket propulsion. Here comes the Fusion Drive!

NASA, and plenty of private individuals, want to put mankind on Mars. Now a team at the University of Washington, with funding from the space agency, is about to start building a fusion engine that could get humans there in just 30 days and make other forms of space travel obsolete.

“Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” said lead researcher John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics in a statement. “We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”

The proposed Fusion Driven Rocket (FDR) is a 150-ton system that uses magnetism to compress lithium or aluminum metal bands around a deuterium-tritium fuel pellet to initiate fusion. The resultant microsecond reaction forces the propellant mass out at 30 kilometers per second, and would be able to pulse every minute or so and not cause g-force damage to the spacecraft’s occupants.

  • Ryan Carson

    In other news, my shitty truck still gets 20 mpg on the highway.

  • mrbrink

    Look out, universe!

  • muselet

    In a way, it’s a less-horrifying version of Project Orion.

    I really want to see the thing fly.


  • Michael Norris

    “To boldly go where no one has gone before…”

    • Jone_of_Snark


  • Scopedog

    This is damned good news. It isn’t warp drive, but it could be a huge step forward in deep space exploration.

  • Jane Phillips

    This is YOOOGE!

  • Ipecac

    That sounds utterly fantastic. Hope it works.