The “Solar Express” Train Could Get Humans To Mars In Two Days
The Solar Express is a spacecraft concept that would be able to take humans and cargo from Earth to Mars in the fraction of the time. A probe will travel the distance between the two planets in three to six months. The hypothetical Solar Express will be able to do it in less than two days. A trip to the moon will be made in just seven hours.
The idea of the Solar Express came to Charles Bombardier, the founder of Imaginactive, who aims at achieving 1 percent of the speed of light in order to travel between Earth and Mars so fast. That’s about 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) per second.
In theory, the Solar Express in completely doable. To come up with the idea, Charles Bombardier first looked at what makes space travel si expensive and inefficient.
“In space, the most expensive portions of travel are the acceleration and deceleration phases. The energy required for those portions is tremendous, especially for something as heavy as a space train. In addition, if you were to start hauling cargo, it would become very expensive,” he said on their website.
So, the whole point behind the Solar Express will be to never accelerate or decelerate. Yes, you read that right. Instead of ever stopping, the train will make use of the two planets’ gravity to be slingshot back and forth, keeping a constant speed of 1 percent of the speed of light. When the train reaches this phase, the resources and maintenance required to run it will be minimal.
And every time the Solar Express comes close to its destination, smaller pods with both people and cargo can attach themselves mid-transit, while the train is going around the planet. The space train will also be able to harness solar energy via solar panels and even pick up water from the celestial bodies it encounters.
Bombardier says: “once the train reached its cruising speed, its energy consumption would be minimal. That’s the idea behind the Solar Express concept. It would never stop; instead, space wagons/capsules would rendezvous with it.”
Now, we have to keep in mind that this is only a concept, a theoretically doable project, but still a project nonetheless. There are a lot of details and technologies needed to be thoroughly analysed before this space train could become a reality. But if space and interplanetary travel will become a reality, you can be sure that far more thought and interest will be put into this idea. Who wouldn’t want to get to Mars in just two days, and do it cheaply, no less?