As you may have gathered from my persuasive essay, space has always been a fascination of mine. As with many space enthusiasts, the prospect of one day establishing a colony on the Red Planet has always captivated my dreams. Many planned missions have been proposed, including a promise from President Obama to send a massed mission to Mars by the 2030s. Another promising mission is envisioned by a private corporation, known as Mars One, which is planning on establishing a permanent colony on Mars. It hopes to send four humans to live permanently on Mars in 2023, sending four more every two years. Unfortunately, many problems still remain to be surpassed in order to successfully land humans on Mars, most prominently the health threats from cosmic rays that astronauts face in space. This threat prohibits humans for surviving for extended periods of time in space, making a trip to Mars, which would take twelve months, possibly lethal. Fortunately, researchers funded by NASA have developed a new fusion engine that could cut down the trip to Mars from twelve months to just thirty days. The researchers involved in developing this engine, located at the University of Washington, believe that our current methods of space travel are inadequate, and that their new technology will allow for interplanetary travel. The technology is complicated, but essentially the engine induces a fusion reaction, which forces the propellant out of the engine at thirty kilometers per second, creating an intense pulse every minute. Remarkably, the new engine could rely solely on solar energy, minimizing the complexity and size of rockets exponentially, as storage for fuel comprises a large majority of modern rockets. Another bonus of this new technology is that it is vastly cheaper than our current method of escaping the earth’s atmosphere, as the amount of fuel required is greatly reduced. Perhaps the most commendable aspect of this engine is its practicality; the research team has already successfully built and tested each component of the engine, and will now begin compiling each element into a working machine. The team predicts that the spacecraft will be complete as soon as 2020. I hope to hear much more about this project in the years to come!