Exotic Propulsion

PI Darrel Smith

Exotic propulsion has captured the interest of many Embry-Riddle students. As NASA plans its manned mission to Mars, we come face-to-face with a fundamental dilemma -- a round trip to Mars will take almost three years with traditional chemical rockets!

Such a journey would be impossible, as it would require the astronauts to live on Mars for almost a year. Furthermore, the long travel time would expose astronauts to lethal doses of radiation and debilitating periods of weightlessness. For the past thirty years, physicists and engineers have been developing exotic propulsion systems with the expectation of reducing the travel time from years down to months. Exotic propulsion systems under current investigation include plasma engines, matter-antimatter engines, and nuclear powered engines.

Research Dates

12/08/2015 to 05/31/2021


  • Darrel Smith
    Physics and Astronomy Department
    Ph.D., M.A., University of California-Irvine

Tags: college of arts and sciences physics prescott campus

Categories: Faculty-Staff