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The plasma engine of the new design will be able to deliver people to Mars and other planets

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The plasma engine of the new design will be able to deliver people to Mars and other planets

Scientists from the Princeton Laboratory of Plasma Physics have proposed a new engine design for space travel. In it, the flow of charged particles is accelerated by magnetic reconnection.

So far, only chemical-fueled engines can deliver a person to the nearest planets. Physicists have proposed a plasma engine of a new design, based on the phenomenon of magnetic reconnection, the estimated thrust of which will allow you to quickly get to the nearest planets to us

Plasma engine

In modern space plasma engines, the Hall effect uses electric fields that disperse charged particles and throw them in the direction opposite to the direction of movement of the ship. As a result, there is a thrust, which moves the ship forward. Such engines are more efficient than ion engines but still provide quite a low thrust. Because of this, they are used today only on small artificial satellites.

Physicists from the Princeton Laboratory of Plasma Physics have found a way to increase the thrust of such installations by 10 times. To do this, the scientists decided to apply the effect of reconnecting the magnetic field lines — a phenomenon that is observed in the Sun's atmosphere. In the course of the reconnection of magnetic field lines from different sources come together and rebuild. In this case, a large amount of energy is released and the particles are accelerated to very high speeds.

Computer simulations conducted by the authors of the study showed that the new concept plasma engine will be able to generate a stream of particles at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per second — 10 times more than other engines. According to the calculations of scientists, such an increase in speed will allow you to travel from Earth to the nearest planets in less time than is possible with current chemical rocket engines.

The previous development of the new engine is characterized by three features. The first is that a change in the strength of the magnetic fields can increase or decrease the amount of thrust. This allows you to fine-tune the speed of the ship. The second feature is that the new engine emits not only plasma particles but also plasmoids — clumps of plasma limited by magnetic fields. Such particles add power to the engine. Also, the concept of the new engine allows you to use both heavy and light particles as fuel for it. By adjusting their mass, you can adjust the thrust of the device for a specific space mission.

Plasma engine


Related tags:

plasma engine  Mars  deliver  space


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