Oct 31, 2017
Engineers from NASA and the University of Michigan have revealed record breaking tests of a radical ion engine designed to get man to Mars.
Known as a Hall Thruster, it is one of three Mars engine prototypes currently in development, and uses electric and magnetic fields to ionize gases like xenon and expels the ions to produce thrust.
The technique is much cleaner, safer and more fuel efficient than traditional chemical rockets, but the trade off is relatively low thrust and acceleration.
‘Mars missions are just on the horizon, and we already know that Hall thrusters work well in space,’ says Alec Gallimore, lead engineer on the X3’s development.
‘They can be optimized either for carrying equipment with minimal energy and propellant over the course of a year or so, or for speed — carrying the crew to Mars much more quickly.’
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 8:04 am