One intriguing prospect is a propellant less propulsion concept called as plasma sail. The concept was developed by Robert Winglee, a scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. This Mini-Magnetosphere Plasma Propulsion, or M2P2 for short, takes advantage of the natural environment of space. M2P2 technology creates a huge magnetic bubble around an interplanetary craft. In deploying the mini-magnetosphere, this plasma "balloon" interacts with high-speed ionized particles shed by the Sun which, in turn, push the vehicle through space. Plasma sail technologies are faster
than ion and chemical propulsion and therefore could cut conventional trip times to the outer planets in half.
Aerocapture technology is a flight maneuver that inserts a spacecraft into orbit around a planet or moon by using the destination's atmosphere like a "brake." The dense atmosphere creates friction, which is used to slow down a craft, transferring the energy associated with the vehicle's high speed into heat. Therefore this approach requires significant thermal protection. There is no need for any on-board propulsion. The main advantage of aero capture is reduced mass and use of a smaller, less-expensive launcher. This technique gets a vehicle to a destination quickly, hastening start-up of science operations.
Aerocapture is part of a unique family of "aero assist" technologies being developed by NASA for science missions to any planetary body with an appreciable atmosphere. These destinations could include Mars, Venus and Saturn's moon Titan, along with the outer planets.
An 'antigravity' propulsion system was proposed at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) in Albuquerque on February 14 by Dr. Franklin Felber. His new exact solution to Einstein's gravitational field equation gives hope to space enthusiasts that it might be possible to accelerate space craft to speeds approaching that of light without crushing the contents of the craft
BEAM POWERED PROPULSION
1) Star wisp
Constructing a spacecraft capable of traveling interstellar distance is not easy. Even the launching of one-way, fly by probe to the nearest star system is a major undertaking. There have been many concepts published for attaining the interstellar transport. One such concept is called star wisp. Star wisp is an ultra low mass interstellar probe, which is propelled by high power microwave antennae through beam powered propulsion. The propulsion system consists of a 20 gigawatt microwave beam from the solar powered satellite in orbit around the earth. So it doesn’t carry any propulsion system onboard. It was proposed by Robert l forward, scientist and author, in 1985. Accelerating a Star wisp of 115 g’s using 10 billion watt microwave beam would take it to one-fifth of the speed of light within days which is out of anybody’s imagination.
Star wisp probe consist of a mesh whish is made up of extremely fine wires about one kilometer across. The wires are placed apart at a distance equal to the wavelength of the microwaves that will be used to push it. The wires would have nanoscale computer circuitry, sensors, microwave power collection systems and microwave radio transmitters fabricated on the wire surfaces, giving the probe data collection and transmission capability.
Since light weight is the key feature of star wisp, special techniques are used for fabrication. One proposed method would be to "paint" the probe and its circuitry onto an enormous sheet of plastic which degrades when exposed to ultraviolet light, and then wait for the sheet to evaporate away under the assault of solar UV after it has been deployed in space.
1) Warp drive
Warp drive (also known as Hyper drive) is a technology that allows space travel at faster-than-light speeds. This is accomplished by generating warp fields to form a subspace bubble that envelops the starship, distorting the local space time continuum and moving the starship at velocities that exceed the speed of light. These velocities are referred to as warp factors. Warp drive is the most common form of interstellar propulsion used in the Milky Way Galaxy, making interstellar exploration, commerce and warfare possible.
24th century Federation warp engines are fueled by the reaction of matter (deuterium) and antimatter (ant deuterium), mediated through an assembly of dilithium crystals, which are non reactive with antimatter when subjected to high-frequency electromagnetic fields. This reaction produces highly energetic plasma, called electro-plasma or warp plasma, which is channeled by plasma conduits through the electro-plasma system (EPS). The electro-plasma is funneled by plasma injectors into a series of warp field coils, usually located in remote warp nacelles. These coils are composed of verterium cortenide and generate the warp field