quote: The engine doesn't generate nearly enough thrust for a liftoff from earth; it's useful strictly in space.
quote: There isn't a lot of energy in a plasma, even one at 100 million degrees. Take the old example of a hot oven...you can stick your hand into the 450-degree air of an oven without harm, but water at a mere 200 degrees will scald you instantly.
quote: "It could do this by being able to burn fuel continuously the whole trip accelerating on the whole journey to Mars and decelerating on the return journey."
quote: This makes no sense at all. If it did this, the ship would be at its highest velocity right as it passes by Mars. It would be like a 5-minute flyby at the cost of 3 months of travel. If you intend to stop at Mars and spend any time there, you have to accelerate for the first half the trip, then decelerate the last half of the trip.
quote: Lastly, I can't believe that they intend to test it "on station." This is highly unproven technology. It needs to be in a separate satellite far away from anywhere that it can do any damage.
quote: However a new technology may soon leave both options in the dust.
quote: However, thanks to the magnetic nozzle the plasma can be tamed and channeled into useful impulse.
quote: Why would the government fear this? If anything they can use this to cut their own costs. And increase safety and reliability.
quote: Plasma rockets are considered by many the best long-range propellant solution besides fusion rockets. As fusion power is still a fledgling research field , plasma may help to fill the gap for many years to come. Past fusion power, only exotic propulsion solutions could possibly yield greater speeds.
quote: Are you talking about fusion electrical power, or thermonuclear rockets?Fusion power perhaps is a up and coming field of research, but the truth is that rocket technology was developed in the 50's and 60's