Impulse engines use nuclear-powered propulsion technology, and though the speed is not faster than light, it is faster than what we have today. All this is still in the fictional realm, though the theory is sound and we can have such engines in the future.
Impulse drives have a theoretical problem of time dilation, in which ‘near-light’ speeds cause anomalies in time. They also can behave unpredictably in different atmospheres, as they are designed to work in a vacuum.
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Rocket scientists are working on plasma drives, which use electricity instead of the old ‘chemical’ technology in most rocket engines.
They are supposed to be much more powerful and fast in terms of propulsion and can get a spacecraft to Mars in about 30 days, as compared to the six months it takes now.
Star Trek, a science fiction mainstay, has millions of fans, fondly called Trekkies. They are very interested in the many innovative, but fictional technologies featured in the long-running franchise, many of which have become a reality(like the Communicator or the Floppy Disc).
The fictional Star Trek universe, called the Trekiverse, has spaceships flying at ‘warp’ speeds, many times faster than the speed of light. The sub-light speed cruise modes of spaceships are called Impulse Drive.
Ion drives are real life engine propulsion technologies similar to impulse drives used in the fictional Star Trek universe. They operate continuously due to low-power consumption, like the Dawn spacecraft sent to dwarf planet Ceres in 2007. It lacks the quick acceleration ability of the fictional Impulse drives, but is promising nonetheless.
Newton’s Third Law Of Motion, which states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction is the heart of rocket science.
The basics of rocket science are not that complicated, only involving getting the moving force that overcomes the pull of gravity, in a calculated and controlled manner.
NASA scientists have reported that they've successfully tested an engine called the electromagnetic propulsion drive, or the EM Drive, in a vacuum that replicates space. The EM Drive experimental system could take humans to Mars in just 70 days without the need for rocket fuel, and it's no exaggeration to say that this could change everything.
So what does all this mean? If the results can be replicated and verified in a vacuum (something that Eaglework engineers plan to do in the coming months), it would change the way we travel in space.
The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.25 light-years away or about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km). The fastest-ever spacecraft, the now- in-space Parker Solar Probe will reach a top speed of 450,000 mph. It would take just 20 seconds to go from Los Angeles to New York City at that speed, but it would take the solar probe about 6,633 years to reach Earth’s nearest neighbouring solar system.
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