It was recently reported that NASA plans on cutting travel time to Mars in half. What was originally going to be an 8-month mission can now potentially be much shorter.
How is this possible?
Well, according to NASA, advanced propulsion technology such as nuclear technology or solar-electric engines could be used to drastically slash travel time. Aerojet Rocketdyne, representatives of which joined NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden during a news conference on potential new options for Mars travel, has been working on solar-electric propulsion systems, for example.
In spite of this potentially welcome news, it still helps to remember that even with a shortened travel time a voyage to Mars isn’t likely to be a picnic , as The New Yorker has recently reminded us in an excellent long-read by Tom Kizzia.