While we still have to understand how to travel with the curvature, we have found other ways in which spacecraft can travel at staggering speeds across vast distances of space.
Ionic units, for example, have allowed spacecraft such as Deep Space 1 and NASA's Dawn to travel years at a time at record speed.
And now, a European-Japanese mission is ready to launch the most powerful ion propulsors yet on its long journey to Mercury after successfully completing its first maneuver in space.
The BepiColombo mission, launched by the Earth on October 19, wants to send Mercury a spaceship, and two orbiting shoulders, a journey of 5.6 billion miles (9 billion kilometers) that will include nine Earth overflights, Venus and Mercury and 18 revolves around the Sun to gain momentum.
The spaceship will take seven long years to get there, despite the pair of powerful Ionic thrusters, the most powerful ever built.
Ionic thrusters use positively charged ions – from particles of an on-board fuel source such as xenon gas – to create a boost. The particles are charged with electricity, usually supplied by solar panels, and then hit the back like a cannon.
To put in perspective the strength of the ionic propeller of the spacecraft, a statement by ESA compared the full acceleration of one of its two engines to the strength of "keeping a AAA battery at sea level".
Yes, it seems weak. But it will burn its ionic thrusters for long stretches at a time – a series of 22 long burns, each lasting up to two months. The first consumption should start in mid-December.
Because after all, the race is slow and constant.
This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.