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Transport Humans To Mars In Just Two Days? The Envisioned 'Space Train' Could Actually Do That

First Posted: Aug 30, 2016 03:59 AM EDT
Soyuz TMA-12M Prepares To Launch
Innovators have conceptualized a space train that could travel at the speed of about 3000 km per second going to Mars.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA/Handout/Getty Images)

A group of innovators has created a concept for a hypothetical space train, which they called "Solar Express." This new concept is designed to transport humans and cargo from Earth to the Red Planet in less than two days.

The imaginative idea of this space train is headed by Charles Bombardier and his team. They conceptualized the Solar Express wherein it could journey at around 1 percent the speed of light. This is about 3,000 km (1,864 miles) per second. This drops the travel time between Earth and Mars to less than two days,according to Science Alert.

Bombardier explained that in space, the most expensive portions of travel are the acceleration and deceleration phases. He further explained that the energy required for those portions is tremendous, especially for something as heavy as a space train. He added that if you were to start hauling cargo, it would become very expensive.

So, how does the Solar Express work? The Solar Express is in the form of a series of aligned cylinders, which have a length of at least 50 meters each. One train has six cylinders that are placed in straight line. The cylinders/torus would be split into four cargo bays and changed in-flight with the help of maintenance robots.

The space train would first accelerate with rocket boosters. It would also use the force of gravity to slingshot around planets or moons. Its speed could be set at 1 percent of speed pf light or about 3000 km/s. The train also has huge solar arrays that could be used to capture solar energy and transport it by laser to supercapacitors.

 Bombardier said that once the train lunged its cruising speed, its energy consumption would be marginal. He further said that's the idea behind the Solar Express concept and it would never stop; instead, space wagons/capsules would rendezvous with it.

The team is figuring out other technicalities such as how to control a fast vehicle, how the space shuttles would offload goods from the moving craft and how to get it hitting such high speeds. "Obviously, there is a lot to consider, starting with dimensions, masses, speed, energy, etc. How do you control such a complex vehicle?" said Bombardier. "The Solar Express is a basic idea and we would like to know how we could improve it."

 

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