30 Sep '15, 7pm

Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu

Warp Speed, Mr. Sulu

Here are 12 types of space propulsion that are currently on the drawing board. Some day, one of these technologies may power the spacecraft that takes humans to Mars. Illustrations by MCKIBILLO Yes, We Can! Propulsion Options Within Reach Chemical Rocket Fuel and oxidizer ignite in a contained explosion. + Proven technology, ample performance data. – Inefficient; spacecraft must carry lots of propellant. Nuclear Thermal Rocket Heat from a nuclear reactor accelerates a propellant. + More efficient than chemical rockets; reactor design is familiar. – Exhaust is radioactive, making it hard to test on Earth. Plasma Thruster Electromagnetic waves convert a gas propellant into plasma + Speeds can be finely tuned; very efficient. – Need a nuclear reactor to travel interplanetary distances. Ion Thruster Electric fields ionize and accelerate xenon gas + Commercially available; sate...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/space-flight/warp-spee...

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