Outer Planets in a Hurry(ish)

In a 2005 paper Craig Williams and crew, from the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, improved on their 1998 fusion propelled Outer Planets vehicle – and dubbed it the “Discovery II”, inspired by the fictional “Discovery” from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The improved version massed 1,690 tonnes fully loaded with propellant, some 861 tonnes of slush hydrogen propelled to several hundred kilometres per second by fusing 11 tonnes of D-He3. Full throttle and the “Discovery II” promised a trip-time of 118 days to Jupiter and 212 days to Saturn, which is faster than the fictional version.

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