Female scientist develops new fusion rocket that can ‘take humans to Mars 10 times faster’
New fusion rocket operates on the principle of solar flare.
The Physicist, Dr. Fatima Ebrahimi, has invented a new fusion rocket thruster concept that could one day take humans to Mars and beyond.
According to details, Ebrahimi, who works for the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, designed the rocket, which will use magnetic fields to ignite plasma particles into the vacuum of space.
While current plasma thrust engines use electric fields to move the particles, the new rocket device would accelerate them with magnetic reconnection.
This process is observed throughout the universe but is most visible to humanity on the surface of the sun. When magnetic field lines converge there, they produce an immense amount of energy before separating and reconnecting again.
Similar energy is generated inside torus-shaped machines known as tokamaks, a magnetic confinement device.
Dr. Fatima said, ” I have been working on this project for a while. During its operation, the tokamak machine produces magnetic bubbles called plasmoids that travel at around 20 kilometers per second, which appeared to me a lot like momentum.”
Dr. Ebrahimi’s new concept works much better than existing plasma thrusters in computer simulations. It generates velocities of hundreds of kilometers per sec, ten times faster than those of other thrusters.
That faster velocity at the start of a spacecraft’s journey could bring the outer planets within the reach of cosmonauts, the physicist said.
Dr. Ebrahimi added, “Long-distance travel takes years at the moment because the specific impulse of chemical rocket engines is very low. This makes the spacecraft need more time to get up to speed.”
“But if we make thrusters based on magnetic reconnection, then we could complete long-distance missions in a shorter period.”
She added, this is the first time that plasmoids and reconnection have been suggested for space propulsion. “The next step is developing a prototype”
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