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what is (in your opinion) the best choice for a spacecraft propulsion system to get to mars?

what do you think will be the best propulsion system to get to different planets and explore the solar system? you could include points about:
 Energy efficiency
 How well does it do its job
 Safety
 Does it do its job well, .e.g. something that accelerates to x% of c but takes 1 year to do it does not do its job well for interplanetary travel.
 Economy (how much will it cost)

this will be used as primary research into my Extended Project work for college titled : "the feasibility of current and future spacecraft propulsion systems for interplanetary manned travel"

any help is greatly appreciated thanks!

Mars?  For now, chemical rockets are still the way to go.  I could include all the points about efficiency, safety, reliability, mature technologies...but you could look those all up on wikipedia and if I did include all those points I'm afraid I'd be answering you homework for you.  As technology matures, I can see RTG-powered plasma drive systems winning over chemical rockets, however.  You should research things like MHD satellite propulsion and such.  That's my opinion, but I don't do homework.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


Fusion, solar flares, cosmic rays, radiation in space, and stellar physics questions. Generally, nuclear-related astrophysics, but I can usually point you in the right direction if it's not nuclear-related or if it's nuclear but not astrophysics.


Just moved from being a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin into government work. Doctoral dissertation was on a reaction in CNO-cycle fusion, worked in gamma-ray astronomy in the space science division of the naval research laboratory in the high-energy space environment branch.

Government work as a physical scientist with a nuclear focus.

Ph.D. in physics, research was on nuclear fusion reactions important in stellar fusion, further work on space telescope technology.

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