Apparently, this news is all over the net. NASA has given a Texas-based company called Ad Astra Rocket a 10 million dollar grant (the money will be given over a 3 year period) to help develop a functional VASIMR rocket (Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket), which will supposedly take you to Mars in just 39 days. I've attached a photo of the engine design. Here is a link to the company's website - http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/VASIMR The VASIMR engine will use radio waves generated by two radio wave couplers to ionize noble gases. The first coupler will generate a "cold" plasma using a helicon RF antenna, and the resulting plasma will be narrowed down into a stream using a strong electromagnetic field (generated by a superconductor), and an ion cyclotron heating coupler will then raise the temperature of the ionized mixture to an incredible degree (about 10 million Kelvin, or the same temperature as the Sun's core), and a massive thrust will be produced as the high pressure plasma will be ejected ( although, as the website says, a magnetic "nozzle" will be required to allow linear propulsion) . By precisely controlling ionization levels and electromagnetic field strengths, it is believed that the thrust can be controlled and changed very well (and very quickly too). The engine also boasts an "electrodeless" system and improved fuel efficiency compared to other electric thrusters. The biggest challenge with this technology is power supply. The entire mechanism requires huge amounts of electricity, and solar and nuclear power are considered to be the only viable sources of energy to run this engine through space at present. The VASIMR engine technology has come under some criticism as well. NASA however, appears to have taken a liking to the design. Personally, I think this "wonder" engine seems too good to be true (I'm not an expert in this by any means though). What do you have to say about it?