Can you imagine that using a laser beam to take you to mars, i know it sounds insane but might soon become a reality in coming Days.
It takes six to nine months to reach mars from earth even with revolutionary techniques like nuclear thermal propulsion or nuclear electric propulsion.
It will still take 100 days to reach mars but now researchers have found the fastest way to travel to the red planet with the aid of lasers.
They call this method laser propulsion and it is believed that it can take us to our neighboring world in just 45 days but what exactly is laser propulsion .
Directed propulsion also known as beam-powered propulsion has been a hot research topic for the past few years.
In these methods a beam of energy typically microwaves or laser is used to propel a spacecraft remotely a laser is nothing but a focused and coherent beam of powerful photons.
So when a stream of photons falls onto the reflectors of a spacecraft they impart the spacecraft enough energy to travel through space thereby creating a light sail.
This situation might be hard to accept but in this manner the laser beam eliminates the need for the spacecraft to carry any propellant with them.
Thereby lowering their mass in a significant manner and increasing their speed in famous starlight program which aims for interstellar travel in the future a trip to our neighboring star system
Alpha Centauri is also based on this propulsion method not only this but projects like starshot and dragonfly also aim to employ a gigawatt power laser array to accelerate a light sail
A small spacecraft to reach nearby star systems undoubtedly the ideas of interstellar missions based on laser propulsion have existed for years
But it's the first time that similar technology has been thought to be used for interplanetary travel.
Precisely speaking researchers working in this regimen have proposed to use intense laser flux on the spacecraft to directly heat the fuel
Hydrogen would eventually allow the spacecraft to accelerate rapidly while it is still near earth due to this even the laser won't be needed to go far into space after the initial stage completion.
the spacecraft has accelerated the main vehicle is set on its journey to mars the same laser-powered rocket engine can be used to bring the booster back into earth orbit hence saving the resources
Although this concept sounds extremely exciting realizing it in reality is not a piece of cake several factors and requirements need to be taken care of
First of all we need a raise of fiber optic lasers to focus the laser beam when it arrives at the spacecraft into the heating chamber.
Then high temperature materials are required to allow the spacecraft to break against the martian atmosphere .
This should include a gateway-like space station in orbit of mars as well as a laser array to decelerate incoming spacecraft if everything goes well laser technology can be a game changer in future.