In airports and shopping malls multiple, parallel moving "slidewalks" allow people to increase their velocity from a low speed to a high speed.
Consider the following image:
The image shows a multi-stage acceleration trajectory. The idea is similar to people stepping onto ever-faster-moving parallel slidewalks. Instead of slidewalks, we use orbiting vessels. Instead of people, we use a transport shuttle (that carries people).
In the image, the orange concentric circles (1-4) represent the orbital stages of spacecraft traveling at different speeds, with an increase of speed proportional to its distance from Earth. The X's mark transfer points for the human-toting transport shuttle.
Each spacecraft in an orange orbit gains its velocity by swapping time for speed, such as an ion drive.
When the transport shuttle reaches stage 4 (or higher, if need be), it is at a sufficient velocity that a trip to Mars would only take a few weeks.
I am wondering:
- Is this a viable acceleration technique to minimise human exposure to space?
- What is this graduated acceleration technique called?
- What are the disadvantages (cost, fuel, time, etc.) compared with current Mars visitation endeavours?