Mars trip could happen in near future

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To the Editor:

I would like to share with my fellow citizens of Creston something quite fascinating that I have been studying on the Internet recently. There is the possibility of a manned mission to Mars by 2035. This is something I want to see in my lifetime — the idea of men and women travelling to the red planet would be a monumental achievement in space exploration, indeed, to say the least.

Currently, an entirely new type of propulsion technology is under development, known as the plasma rocket engine. In a nutshell, it uses a gas such as hydrogen, helium, argon or neon, which is heated using radio waves, then enters a magnetic field where the fuel’s temperature is further raised until it becomes a super hot ionized gas, called plasma (what the sun and other starts are made of), and is finally expelled out the engine’s nozzle at tremendous thrust. A trip to Mars in this type of rocket, travelling at 135,000 miles per hour, would take only 39 or 40 days, whereas today’s more conventional chemical rockets, speeding along at 40,000 km/h (25,000 mph) would require six months or more.

This would be just the first step in human beings exploring Mars, and perhaps someday there could very well be cities built on the planets, as well. I also believe that interstellar space travel will become a reality within 100 years or so from now, and that warp drive technology could be feasible in order to travel faster that the speed of light, which is 300,000 km/second (186,000 miles/second — it certainly boggles the mind, doesn’t it — just like in Star Trek, of which I am a fan. New life forms may be discovered somewhere out among the stars in the Milky Way, and possibly homo sapiens like ourselves.

The concept of time travel is something else that has fascinated me for the past several years, and according to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, it could be possible to do so.

This is one of the reasons I love astronomy so much — it absolutely fires one’s imagination, and motivates him or her to keep learning about this beautiful universe that the Lord has created in all his wisdom, and to be closer to Him.

In conclusion: Keep smiling and have a nice day!

Allan Clement