The feat, which involved firing powerful laser pulses at thunderclouds over several months last year, paves the way for laser-based lightning protection systems at airports, launchpads and tall buildings.
“The laser, a 10-meter wide array on Earth, would heat hydrogen plasma in a chamber behind the spacecraft, producing thrust from hydrogen gas and sending it to Mars in only 45 days. There, it would aerobrake in Mars’ atmosphere, shuttling supplies to human colonists or, someday perhaps, even humans themselves.”
The only problem is that there’s no way to slow the thing down right now…”aerobraking” using current technology would cause gees of 8 or above for several minutes and temperatures hot enough to cook whatever’s in the ship to a nice toasty crisp.
But what if robots could design a receiving station with lasers to “catch” the ship and slow it down…?
Hmmm. Sounds like a science fiction work in progress…
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