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Plasma Rockets

With a "small sun" for an engine, a new rocket might be able to zip us to Mars and back in under three months.
Topic: Space + FlightSpace & Flight

What if astronauts could take an express voyage to Mars—one that would last not two-and-a-half years but just a few weeks? A new rocket called VASIMR, powered by a million-degree plasma instead of traditional chemicals, could be the answer NASA is looking for—if only its designers could keep the super-hot engine from melting under its own heat.

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