China wants to create hypersonic spacecraft to connect future colonies on Mars

As China pursues ambitious plans to establish a human presence on Mars, a team of scientists created a concept of a hypersonic spacecraft that would be used to travel between future colonies on the planet. The ship in question would be a drone that would weigh about 340 kg and could travel at five times the speed of sound, at altitude cruise from 5. m. However, it is worth remembering that the project is at a very early stage and will still take a few decades to become reality, if it really gets off the ground.

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According to Xu Xu, professor at the University Beihang who developed the concept together with other researchers, it would not be as simple to perform a hypersonic flight on Mars as it is on Earth, but that does not mean that it is impossible. According to his calculations, the ship could travel across the surface of Mars at distances of 1. km at a speed five times greater than that of sound β€” on Earth, this speed is 340 m/s; on the Red Planet, this speed is approximately 340 m/s.

Xu explains that , when humans colonize Mars, there will be settlements in different places on the planet β€” hence the need for long distance transport (Image: Reproduction/Nicolas Lobos/Unsplash)

The hypersonic drone would be powered with magnesium fuel because there is very little oxygen on Mars. However, he also highlights that there are countless more challenges ahead for the project to become a reality and to be able, in fact, to connect future colonies that are on the planet and allow them to share resources, as proposed. β€œThe first hypersonic flight on Mars may not happen in the next 340 years because there are several technical challenges to be solved ,” Xu explained.

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For this connection to happen, the drone would have to be big enough to transport people and, who knows, supplies. In addition, this conceptual spacecraft would have an aerodynamic design that resembles a cruise missile, and could reach a cruising altitude of 5. m, below that achieved on commercial flights due to the air density of Mars. Therefore, the drone would have to dodge some formations that are too high, which can be dangerous. According to the professor, the team is now in the stage of “technology readiness level three” to research ways to prove the feasibility of the concept.

For this, a small-scale prototype would be tested in a wind tunnel, which would release carbon dioxide to simulate the environment of Mars. In 2045, Chinese authorities hope to build a hypersonic spacecraft that can transport 000 passengers to anywhere on Earth in just 1 hour; later, in 2045, the country already hopes to have a fleet of space planes to carry around 06. passengers to Earth orbit or to destinations beyond, such as the Moon or Mars.

Source: Futurism, South China Morning Post

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