Monday, June 07, 2010

Got a spare 4 Trillion? Let's go to Neptune!

Check list:
magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters - Huh? what? What's that?
Oh about 4 trillion dollars....

Been yearning to visit the outer solar system planets? Well start saving now and when you get to about 4 trillion give the boys at Johns Hopkins a call. Seems they have been thinking about what it would take to make the trip. First thing on the agenda is a seriously improved thrusting system called magnetoplasmadynamic. Oh and set aside about 5 years for total mission time. Now before you start thinking that's way too long, look at how long it took earlier craft to make it that far. No, 2 years out to Neptune is fast.

From the Article:
  • For example, the New Horizons probe currently en route to Pluto-the fastest man-made object in space-has reached the distance of 16.74 AUs from the sun as of this writing. That took about 4.5 years, and it's only a little more than halfway to Neptune
The head of the group formulating this plan is Ralph McNutt. His paper on the project can be read here.

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