Thursday, February 08, 2007

Video: Interplanetary Travel Via Magnetic Sails? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: Centauri Dreams)

It looks as if another (theoretical) space transportation device has emerged on the scene. Similar to its Solar Sail cousin, the magnetic sails may prove to be a more conventional way to travel between planetary systems.

(Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion) Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) is an advanced plasma propulsion system that will enable spacecraft to attain unprecedented speeds, with minimal energy and mass requirements. It will create a large scale magnetic bubble around the spacecraft to ride the solar winds, and accelerate the spacecraft to unprecedented speeds.

One advantage of a magnetic sail (verses a solar sail) would be the ability to launch from either a planet's magnetosphere or the solar wind, enabling it to actually "return" from its previous voyage.

A magnetic sail would also not have to venture towards the sun on its maiden flight, which would not only save time and energy, but may reduce the health risk via cosmic radiation.

Note: To watch video (via QuickTime) simply click on the image below.

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  1. Hello. M2P2 has been my favorite interplanetary propulsion system for years. Are there any recent updates on the progress of the M2P2 drive?

  2. Hey Robert,

    Not that I am aware of, besides this update.

    This is the first time that I've heard of a magnetic sail, and it looks a lot more promising than solar sails (which seemed great if you were heading away from the Sun, but horrible if you were heading towards it).

    Perhaps a combo of the two could be utilized in the future. If not, magnetic sails may be where its at.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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