The Solar Express Concept is one that involves transporting passengers, supplies and minerals between planets and space stations within the solar system in a space train. Accelerating and decelerating in space are what makes space travel so expensive, but if you were to have a train that ran non-stop it would cut down the costs tremendously. This concept is one that has been designed by the Montreal-based innovator, Charles Bombardier, and would potentially be capable of traveling to Mars, or anywhere else in the solar system, faster than another known system.
The idea that once the space train had reached its cruise speed, the amount of energy it would use is minimal, and it would run continuously 24/7. It would take form in the style of a series of six aligned cylinders that each had a length of at least 50 meters. Each of the cylinders could then be divided into cargo bays mid-flight through the help of onboard maintenance robots.
The potential speed of the Solar Express is not something that can be ignored either. With its rocket boosters to accelerate it and fuel stored that could be used to make route adjustments, the Solar Express is expected to reach speeds of up to 1% of the speed of light (around 3,000 km/s). This would reduce the time it takes to travel to Mars from Earth to less than two days and if using the same technology we could also reach the moon in less than 3 minutes from here.
Solar arrays would be laid out along the train’s path that could capture solar energy while water could be harvested from small moons or comets for humans to use onboard. Other spacecraft and Mobile Cargo Bays (MCBs) could rendezvous with the Solar Express by matching its speed and attach itself to be carried alongside the train. The idea is also that a space city would surround the spacecraft providing artificial gravity inside and allowing humans to walk around or live onboard the train.
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