(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.
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