So far, in the context of the rocket for the first flight to Mars, only solutions from NASA and SpaceX have been mentioned, but it seems that another one has just joined them, namely Ad Astra, which is working on a rocket with a plasma engine. If this plan is successful, it will most likely be possible to send a much larger crew to the Red Planet than planned, and the space journey will take three times less time than traditional rockets.
It's impossible not to mention that Ad Astra's CEO is Franklin Chang Diaz, a former astronaut who flew into space during his NASA career, so he certainly knows what it's all about. In his opinion, plasma engines have a chance to drastically change our space travel capabilities, and the typical rockets used by NASA and SpaceX are ... primitive. In his opinion, the famous Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield partly agrees, who admits that if we are actually going to finally reach Mars, we actually need something new.
And although in an interview with CBC he did not refer directly to Ad Astra, it is difficult to take the words differently: "I do not think that we will reach Mars before we travel the way from helicopters to jets, or what the equivalent of traditional rockets and something will look like. more. Are plasma motors that something? They are certainly the future, because they don't burn fuel like traditional ones, and instead use an electric field to heat gases to temperatures millions of degrees higher than the combustion gas. This allows us to think of them as an alternative that allows for faster travel and, at the same time, less exposure of the crew to cosmic radiation, ”said Franklin Chang Diaz.