"Within a few years we will see the first true prototype of a spaceship that will take us between worlds,” spoke NASA Ames director Simon Worden in a recent press conference in San Francisco. Apparently, NASA says that electric spacecraft propulsion, once only a reality in science fiction, will soon be science fact.
The news, reported by Australia's News.com came as a surprise to some, although NASA and other government agencies have long sought alternative fuel sources for propulsion through space. For instance, beginning in the 1960s, nuclear powered craft seemed the most likely candidate for planetary travel, and a variety of experimental projects were undertaken by companies that included McDonnel Douglas, specially tasked by US Government agencies for development of feasible methods for space travel.
In this most recent announcement, Worden did speak of propulsion methods other than electricity, but nuclear fusion no longer appears to be the item of interest it once was. "You don’t have to carry all the fuel," Worden said, noting that energy from lasers or microwave power sources could be used instead "to heat a propellant; it gets you a pretty big factor of improvement. I think that’s one way of getting off the world.”
Not surprisingly, this announcement does have a good bit to do with reports of UFO craft. After all, with regard to travel through space, one of two scenarios are likely: 1) Either UFOs are representative of otherworldly visitors, and in some instances served as likely inspiration for the proposed craft NASA is discussing, or 2) strange UFO craft witnessed over the years are, in fact, vehicles of our own design, and represent the progression of technology over time that have led to this present discussion of planetary travel in a realistic fashion.
According to Worden, partial funding for the upcoming project has been provided by DARPA, with hope of obtaining funding in the multi-billion-dollar range from wealthy private investors in the future. Once such craft are implemented, NASA has announced plans to initially visit the outer moons of Mars, with even more exciting possibilities further down the road. Who knows what mysteries will be unraveled once these projects are undertaken... will we discover dusty, lifeless planetoids drifting in the black infinite, or will there instead be clues to deeper mysteries of the cosmos that reveal themselves? More importantly, will humankind be ready for such revelations, should they occur as our presence beyond Earth broadens?