NASA reveals a steam powered spacecraft that extracts its own fuel and could explore the distant worlds "forever"
- The NASA-funded prototype extracts water from planetary bodies
- Use this to generate steam that drives its thrusters
- Experts say it could repeat this process indefinitely
Mark Prigg for Dailymail.com
A steam powered spacecraft that could roam the sky "forever" was developed by Florida researchers.
Called "the world is not enough", the prototype funded by NASA draws water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam.
So use this to drive a rocket engine and push himself.
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Called "The world is not enough", the NASA-funded prototype draws water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam. The spacecraft was raised about one meter inside a vacuum chamber at Honeybee's Pasadena plant in its most recent test
HOW IT WORKS
The spacecraft uses solar panels that can be deployed to obtain sufficient energy to extract and produce steam, or it could use small radio-ion decay units to extend the potential flow of these planetary hoppers to Pluto and other places away from the sun.
Once landed, it extracts water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam.
So he uses it to drive a rocket engine and push himself.
Researchers say it could be used to "jump" through asteroids and planets.
"We could potentially use this technology to jump on the Moon, Ceres, Europe, Titan, Pluto, the poles of Mercury, asteroids – wherever there is water and gravity sufficiently low," said Phil Philip, planetary researcher at the University of Central Florida Metzger.
The scientist worked with Honeybee Robotics of Pasadena, Calif., Who developed the World Is Not Enough spacecraft prototype.
The spacecraft rose about a meter inside a vacuum chamber in the Honeybee Pasadena plant.
"It's fantastic," says Metzger of the event.
& # 39; WINE successfully extracted the ground, rocket propellant, and launched a jet of steam extracted from the simulant.
The process works in a variety of scenarios depending on the severity of each object, says Metzger.
The spacecraft uses solar panels that can be deployed to obtain sufficient energy to extract and produce steam, or it could use small radio-ion decay units to extend the potential flow of these planetary hoppers to Pluto and other locations away from the sun.
A mockup of Honeybee Robotics about how it could be a & # 39; final spaceship
Currently, interplanetary missions stop exploring once the spacecraft runs out of propellant.
"Every time we lose our huge investment in time and money we spent building and shipping the spacecraft to its goal," says Metzger.
never stay without propellant, so the exploration will be less expensive.
& # 39; It also allows us to explore in a shorter time, since we do not have to wait years because every time a new spaceship travels from the Earth. & # 39;
The project is the result of NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer Program, which encourages universities to collaborate with technology companies.
& # 39; WINE-like spacecraft have the potential to change the way we explore the universe. Says Kris Zacny, vice president of Honeybee Robotics.
The team is now looking for partners to continue developing small spacecraft.