Space News: Fusion rocket will allow humans to LEAVE the solar system and ‘claim their own planets’ | Science | News
Richard Dinan is the visionary entrepreneur who wants to help humans leave Earth and inhabit other planets in the Milky Way. And he wants to do it quickly. His company, Pulsar Fusion, is betting on harnessing nuclear power in space to halve the time it takes to get to Mars and unlock the secrets beyond our solar system.
Speaking exclusively to Science Digest, the former Made In Chelsea star, 35, said: “In the Milky Way there are believed to be billions of habitable planets orbiting G-type stars. like ours.
“It doesn’t mean they have people on them, but it does mean they could handle life.
“We now live in a world where perhaps the entrepreneurs of the future can own their own planets.
“To do that, they will need very, very fast rockets.
“It may seem like a ridiculous thing to say, but we’re almost there – there’s a lot of interest in Mars.
“I think part of being human is leaving our planet – we’ve always followed the stars since prehistoric times and now we have to emulate that.”
To make this possible, Dinan wants to replicate the fusion process used by stars like our Sun.
Considered the energy source of the “Holy Grail”, nuclear fusion has been studied for more than a century.
Unlike nuclear fission – the powerful reaction that led to the creation of nuclear weapons – fusion requires two light atomic nuclei to combine to form a single heavier one while releasing massive amounts of energy.
WATCH RICHARD DINAN’S FULL INTERVIEW HERE
“Pulsar knows we can build a fusion rocket engine long before anyone builds a fusion power plant.”
Currently, rocket engines used by companies like NASA use propellants stored as reaction mass to form a high-velocity propellant jet of fluid, typically a high-temperature gas.
They produce thrust by ejecting mass rearward using the combustion of reactive chemicals like liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.
Instead, Mr Dinan hopes to harness “the strongest force we have ever seen to dramatically increase fuel density and temperature.
He added: “This will give us the ability to produce a thousand times the exhaust velocities of a plasma engine.
“That means a mission to Mars could be cut in half – we think we can hit 350km/second.
“The other thing is to go beyond our solar system – the further you go, the more you enjoy.
“Mars might be your first place, but there is a star system called Alpha Centauri that is 4.2 million light years from Earth.
“You can never, ever get there by setting things on fire – but a fusion engine can do it in 11 years.”
Pulsar Fusion has already tested its plasma engines which will be used to propel their rocket into space.
They plan to test its nuclear reactor on Earth next year.
Mr Dinan explained: “You don’t want to lift really heavy things in space, it’s much more efficient to put them all together in space.
“Our plan is to build a fusion rocket on Earth and test it here, then use plasma rockets to launch it into space in three pieces.
“Once they’re in space, they can navigate using fusion thrusters so they can gather and assemble in orbit.
“Then we can ignite our rocket engine – and we want to do that by 2027.”