Mars is what all the cool kids are talking about these days. Whether it is the recent discovery of running water on the red planet, people signing up for a one-way ticket to it, or Matt Damon being saved from it by solar panels, everyone is talking about Mars.
One of the biggest challenges that interplanetary travel poses is the energy and fuel needed to not only escape Earth’s atmosphere, but then travel the great distance to Mars. Innovative new ideas are constantly being developed, such as solar sails, in an effort to overcoming this challenge.
At the core lies an inefficiency issue as the more fuel that a space ships carries, the heavier it is and the more fuel it requires to then free itself from Earth’s Gravity. This challenge further compounds when you consider all the equipment necessary to establish residents on the Martian planet.
The minds over at MIT have been considering this challenge and have offered up an efficient solution. Their idea is to create a refueling station on the Earth’s moon.
Utilizing some of the soil and minerals found on the lunar surface, it has been determined that fuel can be created for spacecraft. Initial projections indicate that if a craft is only fueled enough to get to the moon and then fuels up entirely to get to Mars, there is a 68% savings on fuel.
This pit stop approach would greatly decrease the usage of fuel needed to explore the solar system! Efficiency at its best broadens the horizons that we can explore!