NASA has released details about a plasma rocket project that has the potential to take missions to Mars not in months, but in approximately forty days. But this story has a hidden side, as we shall see in a moment. Here's the story as recounted, interestingly enough, by RT:
As noted, this mircowave heated plasma rocket is not for launch, but for use in propelling objects already in space:
A US company may have the solution to get humans to Mars in just over a month. They have been given a grant by NASA to try and achieve this. The space agency is pinning its hopes on the Vasimr rocket, which aims to reach the Red Planet in a mere 39 days.
The Ad Astra Rocket company from Webster, Texas, awarded the contract by NASA, is located just a stone’s throw from the Johnson Space Center. The CEO, Franklin Chang-Diaz, who is a former astronaut and flew on seven space shuttle missions, says the new rocket engine has the potential to be revolutionary.
The interesting thing here is, of course, not only that the idea has been around for quite some time (leading one to suspect that the technology already exists, as do other propulsion systems, such as ion propulsion, already in use by NASA [See Crazy Engineering: Ion Propulsion for the Dawn Mission]), but that if one knows certain books published in the alternative field, the "news" appears not so much as "news" but rather as a controlled release of information. For example, the scientist Dr. Paul LaViollette published a book Secrets of Antigravity Propulsion(available on this website's webstore), in which he details a number of alternative propulsion technologies, one of them, utilizing microwave soliton effect, could be used not only for propulsion but for launch and lift capability. This technology was an idea around in the 1950s, and if LaViollette's are to be creditied, was made to work sometime in the early 1960s. And this is just one of the many ideas for alternative propulsion that he details in his important book.
More importantly, as I've indicated in numerous blogs, NASA's Dr. Harold "Sonny" White is spearheading a project to create the experiments to test the feasibility of warp drive, and DARPA has made warp capability a goal for the USA within 100 years.
So what's going on with this story about plasma drives and missions to Mars taking only days?
Our high octane speculation suggests at least two possibiilities, though there are many more. The first of these is that a microwave heated plasma drive would be a relatively easy technology to develop for pratical application to space missions. The coupling of this technology to the idea of Mars missions capable of being executed in a little over a month, rather than several months, suggests that they're in a hurry, for some reason, to develop technologies to get us to Mars quickly. Of course, "hurry" in the context of space has a different meaning than it does in ordinary conversation, and can imply a development time of years. One need only recall that President Kennedy's Moon mission announcement was couched in terms of a decade.
The other possibility suggested by the announcement lies in something deeper in my opinion. If you've been following space matters closely, there has been a steady stream of announcements of all sorts, including announcements of Russian-American space cooperation - including Mars - in spite of the tensions between the two nations on Earth, tensions which are at such a level that some are calling it the Cold War 2.0. There has been, in other words, a slow drip of announcements, and these announcements have included stories such as this, announcements of promising technologies, awards of contracts, and so on. Which leads to the inevitable high octane part of our speculation, namely, that the powers that be are deliberately orchestrating this slow drip of information, to what end one can only guess at, but it does portend big things, and Mars, like its central place in human astro-mythology, appears to be at the center of it.
See you on the flip side...
(Thanks to Mr. G.B. for contributing to this article.)