To Mars in 30 days: a new stage in space rocket development

Pulsar Fusion, a company specializing in propulsion and clean space services, has partnered with Princeton Satellite Systems of America. The joint work will focus on using artificial intelligence (AI) to develop an ultra-fast space rocket capable of reaching Mars in just 30 days.

The research aims to figure out how nuclear fusion plasma will behave when it exits a rocket engine, emitting exhaust particles at hundreds of kilometers per second. To do this, the companies will use AI machine learning to examine data from the world record-breaking Princeton Reverse Field Configuration Reactor (PFRC-2), which was developed in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and the most advanced machine learning techniques to analyze the behavior of super-hot fusion plasma in a rocket engine configuration.

Oxfordshire-based Pulsar Fusion is developing models based on gas release data from PFRC-2 to try to create predictive models of the behavior of ions and electrons in FRC plasma. Such modeling is needed for feedback control systems, a key component of the future PFRC reactor.

The partners aim to create a rocket engine for deep space with a potential of up to 500,000 miles per hour. This would reduce the flight time to Mars to just 30 days and make Saturn’s satellite Titan accessible within two years.

“This is an extremely important step for Pulsar,” said founder and CEO Richard Dinan. “By combining our own research and resources with the research and resources of Princeton Satellite Systems, Pulsar has gained access to behavioral data from the fusion reactor of record (PRFC-2) combined with the latest advances in machine learning. fusion rocket systems.”

He added: “The heavy-duty engine is free of many of the extensive infrastructure requirements of developing ground-based fusion power for power plants on Earth. Space is an ideal place for fusion in terms of vacuum and extremely low temperatures. Unlike a fusion power plant, a fusion engine does not require a giant steam turbine, and the fuel can be obtained from outside rather than created on site.

“Humanity has a tremendous need for faster propulsion in our growing space economy, and fusion offers 1,000 times the power of conventional ion engines currently in use in orbit. In short, if humans can achieve energy fusion, a fusion engine in space is inevitable.

“We believe that the fusion engine will be demonstrated in space decades before we can use fusion for energy on Earth.”

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