Re: Not really equivalent
>All of which leads me to the only sane conclusion: in order to get to mars safely, we need to use the moon as a spaceship.
There is also the Mars Cycler concept promoted by Buzz Aldrin:
As I understand it, you get a bloody great rock into a cyclic path back an forth between Earth and Mars, and then human craft hop on at one end and hop off at the other. The mass of your rock isn't an issue, so more shielding can be used.
As regards going faster, do you remember those tests of an Electromagnetic Drive the Reg reported on? Last year thrust was observed without the expulsion of any propellant. Last month, it was tested in a vacuum and thrust was still observed.
Please note, despite the linkied article jumping enthusiastically to potential spaceflight applications, this isn't yet a prototype engine; engineers still may have overlooked some alternate cause of the observed 'thrsust', or physicists have some retrhinking to do.