Boffins are building a rocket engine which they reckon could crack the secret to Star Trek-style warp speed.
British aerospace company Pulsar Fusion reckons the technology that will be used in its 8-metre nuclear fusion rocket has the potential to allow humans to boldly go into space at speeds of up to 500,000 miles per hour.
Bosses said, if it works, it could cut down the travel time to Mars from around 7-9 months to just 30 days and reduce flight time to Saturn from eight years to two.
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Pulsar’s CEO Richard Dina said the rocket could eventually be used in space ships to empower humans to leave our solar system for the first time – just like they did in the classic sci-fi series featuring William Shatner as Captain Kirk.
He said: “You’ve got to ask yourself, can humanity do fusion? If we can’t, then all of this is irrelevant.
“If we can – and we can – then fusion propulsion is totally inevitable.
“It’s irresistible to the human evolution of space.”
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He added Pulsar are using artificial intelligence technology to help develop a prototype rocket engine and he hopes it gives them the potential to allow it to achieve an engine capable of interstellar space travel.
The nuclear fusion technology sees atoms forced together to create huge bursts of energy out of plasma.
Pulsar Fusion claims that when the rocket is built and tested in 2027 it will temporarily become the hottest place in the solar system by reaching several hundred-million degrees.
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It will be built and trialled in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, where the Enigma code was famously cracked in WW2.
After being discovered by British sailors on a German submarine, the Enigma coded transmission machine was then sent to Bletchley Park and a team here used it to decipher intelligence messages from the Germans, helping to turn the war in our favour.
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It is widely believed that breaking the code allowed Allies to prevent many attacks and win the war.
Now Pulsar hopes to crack another enigma, super-fast space travel, to open up the skies for future travel to distant worlds.
In Star Trek, spaceships are able to travel faster than light (671 million miles per hour) across the galaxy thanks to their fictional ‘warp drives’ – devices which can distort space.
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