When most people think about visiting Costa Rica, their daydreams include wildlife conservation, national parks, luxury ecotourism, zip-line canopy tours, pristine beaches, epic surfing, and perhaps the nation’s long-standing commitment to peace. They may not even realize that Costa Rica is also on the cutting edge of space exploration.
The Ad Astra Rocket Company, located just outside Liberia, Guanacaste, is currently developing a plasma engine set to revolutionize interplanetary travel. Current technologies from the US and Russia can get human beings to Mars, theoretically, but the voyage would take at least nine months, exposing astronauts to potentially deadly doses of radiation, not to mention years of their lives. Costa Rica’s Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) will be able to take us to the Red Planet in just 39 days.