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NASA

WATCH: The Rocket Booster That Will Take Humans to Mars in Action

FIONA MACDONALD
12 MAR 2015

In case you missed it, NASA has grand plans to send humans to Mars by mid-2030s. And by the looks of it, they’ll be powered there by a fire demon that’ll light up the sky.

 

All poetic imagery aside, this is the most powerful rocket booster ever built, and you can see it in action in the video above, taken at the first test of the system earlier this week.

The booster, which will propel NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft deep into space, including to Mars and an asteroid, fired for a total of two minutes - the same amount of time it would take to blast off the launch pad. In that time, it is capable of producing around 1.6 MILLION kilograms of thrust (3.6 million pounds).

This was one of two necessary tests before the booster is qualified for flight, and was conducted in the middle of the Utah desert, where it would have left some serious scorch marks.

In this trial, the booster was heated to 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) to test it at the top range of its temperature limit. The next test, which is scheduled for early 2016, will make sure it works just as well at the bottom end of the temperature scale, at 4 degrees Celsius (40 Fahrenheit).

"The work being done around the country today to build SLS is laying a solid foundation for future exploration missions, and these missions will enable us to pioneer far into the solar system," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, in a press release. 

"The teams are doing tremendous work to develop what will be a national asset for human exploration and potential science missions." 

We can’t wait to see this bad boy unleash all its fire and brimstone on a launch pad in the coming years. If nothing else is certain about a mission to Mars, at least it looks like we’ve got enough fire power.