‘ve been reading articles at Atomic Rockets and the Rocket Punk Manifesto and have come to the conclusion that the Solar System is just too large to get around in using anything other then robust brachistochrone rocket engines.
For example. Using Hohmann transfer orbits to get to Venus and Mars takes months and you have to wait over a year or longer for the planets to be in the aligned in right position to make the attempt. Other planets take even longer. Explorations and travel with this time frame is compilable to travel during the Age of Sail, but sailors didn’t have to carry air to breath. If needed they could also go ashore to find food and water.
In space, that is not a option.
So any intrepid space captain that needs to dash off to Mars in a hurry to rescue his beloved scantily clad princess had better plan his flight a couple of years in advance.
What if the solar system was smaller?
There are a couple of ways to make a smaller solar system.
One is to replace the sun with a red or brown dwarf. However these type of stars would have a very narrow habitable zone about them. Having multiple habitable planets in this region might be possible but they would effectively be sharing the same orbit about the star. This isn’t impossible. Several moons around Jupiter and Saturn basically share the same orbit.
Another way is to have a gas giant or brown dwarf with several Mars to Earth size moons orbiting about it. Jupiter and its moons have often been described as a miniature solar system. Yes I know it is too cold and the moons are lacking a atmosphere, but the transfer times between moons can take only hours or days. Tidal effects would be significant but the moons could be in resonance with each other and be in relatively stable orbits. They would also be close enough for relatively quick interplanetary, or rather, inter-lunar travel.
Given the above, I am trying to design a solar system that could be practical for pulp space opera adventures.
I hope to add details later.