It took Voyager 1 over 30 years to reach interstellar space, but scientists at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are testing a new technology that could cut that time by two thirds. The Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) or E-sail concept is a novel form of propellant-less propulsion that relies on a series of wires to catch the solar winds. The technology promises to reduce the travel time from Earth to the heliopause – about 123 AU (18 billion km, 11 billion mi) from the Sun – to under 10 years.
Deep space travel is very slow, with the outer regions of the Solar System taking decades to reach using chemical rockets and complicated slingshot orbits. One solution is to do away with rockets altogether and replace them with solar sails – giant mylar sails spread on gossamer threads to catch the solar winds, which are the constant stream of protons and other charged particles that stream from the Sun at 400 to 750 km/s (900,000 to 1.7 million mph).
+Info and Source: http://goo.gl/s8khYw