Biggest Ion Drive Ever Will Push SpaceX to MarsExhibit A:
SpaceX is hiring Ion Propulsion engineers.
They are going to make tiny satlets that burn up in less than a year. They will have no built in propulsion. So what's the Ion Drive for?Exhibit B:
Gwynne Shotwell Says So:
Q: "To power something for eight months and presumably to turn around at some point and get these people back home you must be looking at some sort of renewable fuel?"
A: "We are looking at solar electric propulsion. I think we are going to look at some other interesting in-space propulsion technologies. But our lift off both from the surface of mars as well as earth with be lox and methane"Exhibit C:
Elon to Mars in 3 months:
"The verdict is in in terms of long term existence in space. Really mostly about zero G. ... (Define long term please)... Mars is, if you have a low energy trajectory, like a minimum entry trajectory, its about 6 months. And I think that can be compressed down to about three months. It gets exponentially harder as you go lower than that. Three to four. Its important for it to be at that level because then you can send your spaceship to mars and bring it back on the same orbital synchronization. Earth and Mars sync up every two years. And then they are only kind of in sync for about six months. So you've got to be able to go there and back in one go. That's important to making the cost to go to mars an affordable amount."Conclusion:
With a Mars Colonization Vehicle sized to fit a rocket with a ten meter core or larger, SpaceX will need the most energy dense Ion Drive every made to reduce its travel time from 8 months to 3 on a Mars trip. Imagine the MCT with thrusters ablaze all the way to Mars, just like The Enterprise.Ion Drive Engineer Job:https://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/74751603?trk=jserp_job_details_text&utm_content=18729893&utm_medium=social&utm_source=googleplusShotwell on Ion Drive:https://youtu.be/EoCDLUHb0y4?t=4m15sElon to Mars in 3 months:https://youtu.be/diFftgLbsDI?t=3m33s