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 companys 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 Earths 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'The B-17 Bomber Changed the Face of Aerial Warfare
The B-17 Bomber Changed the Face of Aerial Warfare (1:59)
Preview thumbnail for video'Did a Volcano Eruption Slow the Development of Life?
Did a Volcano Eruption Slow the Development of Life? (3:00)
Preview thumbnail for video'Was Flight 821 Brought Down by a 737 Design Flaw?
Was Flight 821 Brought Down by a 737 Design Flaw? (2:47)
Preview thumbnail for video'This Pilot Was the Unsung Hero of the Battle Of Midway
This Pilot Was the Unsung Hero of the Battle Of Midway (2:30)
Preview thumbnail for video'The Loss of the Titanic Led to
The Loss of the Titanic Led to "Iceberg Patrols" in the Atlantic (2:34)
Preview thumbnail for video'U.S. Pilot Scores a Direct Hit on the Carrier Hiryu
U.S. Pilot Scores a Direct Hit on the Carrier Hiryu (2:56)
Preview thumbnail for video'The Terrifying Physics of World War II Dive Bombing
The Terrifying Physics of World War II Dive Bombing (3:43)
Preview thumbnail for video'The HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares for the first landing of a Royal Navy helicopter on deck
The HMS Queen Elizabeth prepares for the first landing of a Royal Navy helicopter on deck (3:29)
Preview thumbnail for video'Eyewitnesses report a fire in one of Flight 101's engines
Eyewitnesses report a fire in one of Flight 101's engines (2:06)