Lunar Run

Ride along on an unmanned lunar cargo trip with the VASIMR plasma rocket developed by Ad Astra, a company founded by former astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz. The silent video starts with an animation of the VX-200 experimental rocket in the company‘s vacuum chamber, and compares the VASIMR with a chemical rocket. A future operational VASIMR is then shown launched into low Earth orbit on a traditional, chemically powered rocket. A second launcher delivers another, heaver load consisting of fuel, cargo, and a lunar lander. These link up in orbit with VASIMR, which then switches on and burns argon for four months. The spacecraft slowly accelerates, spiraling out of Earth’s gravitational field and off to the moon. The plasma rocket delivers 75 tons of cargo, whereas a traditional chemical rocket, though faster, arrives at the moon with just 35 tons. Video: Ad Astra (10:53)

Latest Videos

Preview thumbnail for video'Experts assess why this plane fell off a cliff
Experts assess why this plane fell off a cliff (2:24)
Preview thumbnail for video'A routine landing turns into every pilot's nightmare
A routine landing turns into every pilot's nightmare (2:34)
Preview thumbnail for video'This ex-trapeze artist made parachutes safer
This ex-trapeze artist made parachutes safer (3:02)
Preview thumbnail for video'Were lithium batteries the cause of this plane crash?
Were lithium batteries the cause of this plane crash? (3:11)
Preview thumbnail for video'Survivor shares terrifying moments before plane crash
Survivor shares terrifying moments before plane crash (3:15)
Preview thumbnail for video'How to tell if you're in for a bumpy plane landing
How to tell if you're in for a bumpy plane landing (4:00)
Preview thumbnail for video'1996 Brazilian flight crashes seconds after takeoff
1996 Brazilian flight crashes seconds after takeoff (3:24)
Preview thumbnail for video'This pressure suit helped pilots survive new heights
This pressure suit helped pilots survive new heights (3:59)
Preview thumbnail for video'What forensics tell us about this odd plane crash
What forensics tell us about this odd plane crash (3:25)