Yesterday we brought you news of the breakthrough that could help see the futuristic new Skylon space plane and its LapCat airliner relative become a reality instead of just a dream.
But that dream doesn’t just end with flights into low-Earth orbit and hypersonic travel around the world.
The engineers at Reaction Engines Ltd (REL) have allowed their imaginations free range by showing how their new hybrid air-breathing/rocket engine Sabre could even help develop a mission to Mars.
The first of these interplanetary missions would send three spacecraft to the Red Planet with living modules, rovers, power units and other essential equipment.
Once these were safely established, a follow-up mission would send three spacecraft, each carrying a crew of six, to land at the sites with their ready-prepared lodgings. They would spend more than a year of exploration before making a return.
The exciting video, above, shows how such a concept, dubbed Project Troy, would be constructed. Firstly a number of Skylons would deliver components into orbit for the construction of two fleets of spacecraft to fly to Mars.
Earlier this month, SpaceX founder and commercial spaceflight pioneer Elon Musk proposed his own missions to set up a colony on Mars. Early flights to establish domes and prepare for up to 80,000 settlers on the new frontier.
REL’s Project Troy might be fantasy but it shows a flavour of what will become possible when the amazing Skylon space plane is flying routine trips from a runway near you.