A new, unique means to travel between planets quickly, as well as a way to launch without using chemical rockets is the subject of AA’s new science video.
Meet the Photon Thermal Drive that would take starships from Earth to Mars in 45 days.
A Photon Thermal Drive (PTD) is a theoretical propulsion system that uses concentrated light or laser beams to heat up a fuel source, creating a powerful thrust that propels a spacecraft forward. The idea behind PTD is that it could potentially be much more efficient than chemical rockets, as it would require less fuel to reach the same speeds.
According to some theoretical studies, a PTD-powered starship would be able to travel from Earth to Mars in just 45 days. This is much faster than the current propulsion systems that can take between 150 to 300 days.
One of the main advantages of a PTD is its high specific impulse, which is a measure of the efficiency of a propulsion system. PTD’s high specific impulse would allow for a spacecraft to travel faster and farther than current propulsion systems. A PTD would work by heating up a fuel source, such as hydrogen, to extremely high temperatures, creating a powerful thrust that propels the starship forward.
PTD’s high performance would be made possible due to the high intensity of the laser beam that provides a relatively low specific power (laser power per unit mass). This high power-to-mass ratio is critical for interstellar missions that would require a long time in space.
Another advantage of PTD is its low reaction mass. Chemical rockets require a large amount of fuel and oxidizer, which add weight and make it difficult to achieve high speeds. A PTD, however, would require very little fuel and reaction mass, which would allow for a more efficient propulsion system and would require less mass to be launched.
It is important to note that PTD is still a theoretical propulsion system, and there are still many technical challenges that would need to be overcome before it could be used in a real-world scenario. For example, there’s the problem of developing a laser powerful enough to heat the fuel to the necessary temperatures. Additionally, the spacecraft would need to be able to withstand the intense heat generated by the laser, which might be difficult to achieve.