, this thing will need radiators size of siberia to cool off, the weight of reactor and radiators and cost and fuel to propell all that - its vapourware!
or maybe not?
A radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG, RITEG) is an electrical generator that uses an array of thermocouples to convert the heat released by the decay of a suitable radioactive material into electricity by the Seebeck effect. This generator has no moving parts.
RTGs have been used as power sources in satellites, space probes, and unmanned remote facilities such as a series of lighthouses built by the former Soviet Union inside the Arctic Circle.
"Results presented to NASA and academia in January 2011 have confirmed that the design point for optimal efficiency on the VX-200 is 50 km/s exhaust velocity, or an Isp of 5000 s. Based on these data, thruster efficiency of 72% has been achieved by Ad Astra, yielding an overall system efficiency (DC electricity to thruster power) of 60% (since the DC to RF power conversion efficiency exceeds 95%) with argon as the propellant.
Mars in 39 days
Acap.svg This section may require copy editing for an extremely long sentence. (January 2016)
In order to conduct a manned trip to "Mars in just 39 days", the VASIMR will need the kind of electrical power that can only be delivered by nuclear propulsion (specifically the nuclear electric type) by way of nuclear power in space. This kind of nuclear fission reactor might use a traditional Rankine/Brayton/Stirling conversion engine such as that used by the SAFE-400 reactor (Brayton cycle) or the DUFF Kilopower reactor (Stirling cycle) to convert heat to electricity. However, the vehicle might be better served with non-moving parts and non-steam based power conversion using a thermocell technology of the thermoelectric (including graphene-based thermal power conversion), pyroelectric, thermophotovoltaic, thermionic, magnetohydrodynamic type, or some as yet undiscovered technology. Thermoelectric materials are also an option for converting heat energy (being both black-body radiation and the kinetic thermal vibration of molecules and other particles) to electric current energy (being electrons flowing through a circuit). In order to avoid the need for "football-field sized radiators" (Zubrin quote) for a "200,000 kilowatt (200 megawatt) reactor with a power to mass density of 1,000 watts per kilogram" (Díaz quote) this reactor will also need efficient waste heat capturing technology. For comparison, a Seawolf-class nuclear-powered fast attack submarine uses a 34 megawatt reactor, and the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station uses a 690 megawatt reactor.
this 45 days trajectory is 16 km/s delta/v and you need to slow down so its much worse...
its obvious some space directors are counting on dumb public to swallow this crap. but now chief of rosatom is on the act omg its getting worse.
NASA as well