Interview • Fusion-Powered Rocket
November 23, 2012 • 2:48PM

A round-trip human expedition to Mars, using current technology, would take two to three years. On such missions, astronauts would lose both muscle and bone mass, and would be exposed to large doses of cosmic rays and solar energetic particles. The cargo required for such a mission would require 9 launches of the largest class rocket for a manned Mars mission. Dr John Slough's team of researchers at the University of Washington and MSNW, believe they have a unique solution to this problem by using nuclear fusion. The high energy density of fusion fuel means that such a rocket could reduce the trip time to 30 days, while requiring only a single rocket launch per Mars-bound spacecraft.

He was interviewed on his proposal by Jason Ross at the Fall 2012 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium, held Nov. 14-15, 2012 in Hampton, Virginia. NIAC examines early stage concepts that may lead to advanced and innovative space technologies critical for NASA missions in the next 10 to 100 years.