Could we reach Mars in a few days?
According to NASA, we have the ability to travel to Mars in only a few days using different modes of propulsion.
They say that they can reach relativistic speeds in the labs using Photonic Propulsion. The technology is scalable, meaning it can made as big or small as needed.
In 2014, NASA published a paper outlining the use a network of ground-based lasers to extend the operational lifetimes of satellites.
Currently, small satellites do not compensate for perturbation forces which cause orbital decay. This decay limits the performance of the spacecraft and are extremely noticeable in Low Earth Ortbit.
The network of lasers is a novel concept called LightForce. The system can be used for both spacecraft propulsion and debris collision avoidance. The stations will be able to support numerous spacecraft and extend the lifetime of satellites by up to 50%.
This form of propulsion may be a viable option to help aid space craft through space. Currently the stations can help aid a satellite with an orbit of 450 km which isn’t enough for interstellar travel. However, if we were able to change the ground-based lasers to satellite lasers then it could theoretically be possible.