The VASIMR engine uses a fraction of the fuel of traditional chemical rockets
The VASIMR engine could make a manned flight to Mars in about a sixth of the time of conventional rockets
The three stages of the VASIMR engine contain plasma within powerful superconducting magnets
Last week, as the world celebrated the first lunar landing, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins both called for NASA to make Mars its next goal. But the chemical propulsion system that took them to the moon would take six months, at least, to get a man to Mars and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. However, a new ion plasma rocket being developed by another former astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, could potentially reach Mars in just 39 days using a fraction of the fuel.
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