The Martian Express


NASA rocket scientists have used the gravitational pull of one planet to “slingshot” space craft toward another planet. This method causes acceleration without additional fuel use. What if we could set up a system where craft were in (almost) perpetual motion between Earth and Mars, using each planet’s gravity to sling it toward the other? Such a trajectory is available, thanks to the work of Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The orbit is called the Aldrin Cycler. Unmanned explorers and astronauts could catch a cycler every 26 months and ride to Mars (or back) using a small fraction of the fuel that would be needed for a conventional mission. The cycler orbit simulation above can be seen in motion at Damn Interesting. Link

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Just don't use that slingshot maneuver to go around the sun. You'll go back in time to 1970's San Francisco, where you'll have to get a hold of a couple of whales.
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And TT, you're an idiot if you believe that whole moon hoax conspiracy crap. The Soviets had the technology to tell whether or not we'd actually been there and were undoubtedly tracking the Apollo missions the entire time. You'd better believe they would have called us on it if it were faked.
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This is, as advertised, damned interesting, and not just a set of standard Hohmann Transfer orbits either. I can't believe that in all my years as a professional space person I haven't encountered this before.

Unfortunately, like Space Elevators, Pinwheels, and other elegant solutions, the initial outlay is way too big and thus it won't happen in our lifetimes. Once we find a compelling financial reason to go to Mars, maybe, but even then...
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