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An Ex-NASA Astronaut’s Plan to Speed Up the Journey to Mars

Franklin Chang Díaz is a pioneer. As a child, he dreamed of going into space. As an adult, he made his wish come true. Diaz was the first naturalized U.S. citizen from Latin America to become an astronaut. After making seven trips into space, the MIT-educated Díaz retired from NASA and set his sights on speeding up the journey to Mars. A trip using chemical-powered rockets takes nine months—Díaz has developed a plasma-propelled engine that he says will cut the journey down to just over one month. We visit Ad Astra Rocket Company in Webster, Texas, to see the project Díaz has been working on for 40 years.

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Webster, Texas

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