Wednesday, December 14, 2005

ESA Designing New Spaceship Engine: Helicon Double Layer Thruster

The European Space Agency hasn't expressed much interest in NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle, perhaps because it's building something much, much better.
Today they announced the principle of the plasma double layer has been confirmed, meaning they can excite plasma, make it move faster, for about the same amount of energy as they need to excite gas molecules in an ion engine. It's called the Helicon Double Layer Thruster and it will revolutionize Space travel. Basically, they can now build Spacecraft that go much faster, but use about the same amount of fuel.
Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is a highly charged, superheated gas, with unusual properties. It occurs in abundance around the universe, but not so much here on Earth.
Although that may change now that we have a good use for it...

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