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Electric pulsed plasma jet thrusters could lead to interplanetary travel

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11-14-2012, 12:31 AM
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LadyStanley
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Electric pulsed plasma jet thrusters could lead to interplanetary travel

http://www2.electronicproducts.com/E...2012-html.aspx

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There are two sections to the groupís electric pulsed plasma jet thrusters. The first part is the formation section, which consists of an insulating channel with an electrode at the back. Neutral gas is injected into the channel and a current is driven through the channel to form plasma.

The plasma is next injected into the back of the second section of the thruster called the acceleration section. This part consists of a pair of flat parallel plate electrodes. A much larger current is driven through the plate electrode, down through the plasma, and back out through the other electrode. This creates a current loop that, in turn, creates a magnetic field.

The result of a current going down and a magnetic field going in creates Lorentz force. This drives the plasma down the accelerator and out the device.

Performance of the groupís single-shot plasma accelerator has already been proven. But why would it make a good jet thruster for space missions? The researchers believe that if they can successfully convert the already-existing technology into a repetitively functioning thruster engine, there are a ton of benefits to enjoy. For one, it is extremely fuel efficient. Itíll also reduce the size and weight of current engine / thruster technology. These two benefits alone will significantly reduce modern-day costs of space missions. Also, the technology is scalable for a variety of functions, from a few kilowatts to megawatts, making it applicable to several different space-based technologies.

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11-14-2012, 05:06 AM
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Give NASA more funding and we could hear Obama making a "We choose to go to Mars" speech a la Kennedy

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11-14-2012, 10:45 AM
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Anything that convinces people that Space Exploration isn't as expensive and idealistic as they currently believe it to be is good in my eyes.

I get the first bit of this but how do they go from injecting the current to forming a continuous loop? Especially one sustainable for rocket propulsion


Last edited by LadyStanley: 11-14-2012 at 11:00 AM. Reason: ftfy
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11-14-2012, 07:53 PM
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Lol. This sounds like a fluorescent lamp


Afaik ion thrusters (similar to this) are primarily useful for creating mini spacebots. Something about engine efficacy

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11-14-2012, 08:02 PM
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Ok, so here's why I can see based on some very basic research on my phone:

- this is not a brand new idea
- portable energy generation remains a huge problem, as I said in a different thread (wait for portable fusion)
- it seems thrust/watt decreases with increasing power. As expected, similar to ion engines
- apparently cathode degradation is an issue. Lol, my fluorescent lamp analogy is even better!

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11-16-2012, 06:24 AM
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This is still a far cry from interplanetary space travel. The distances are just unfathomable even within parts of our own solar system.

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11-16-2012, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
This is still a far cry from interplanetary space travel. The distances are just unfathomable even within parts of our own solar system.
I seem to remember they had done math on plasma jets a while ago and showed they could reduce 2 years to Mars to 2 months. Of course no spaceship exists and IDK if the plasma jets would work but it wasn't a crackpot article/news piece. There was some truth to it.

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11-16-2012, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by peon View Post
I seem to remember they had done math on plasma jets a while ago and showed they could reduce 2 years to Mars to 2 months. Of course no spaceship exists and IDK if the plasma jets would work but it wasn't a crackpot article/news piece. There was some truth to it.
Link, please.

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11-16-2012, 04:36 PM
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Btw guys, plasma engines and ion thrusters are way less sexy than their names sound.


All they're really doing is taking some electrically charged substance (plasma or ions, both of which are charged by definition) and "shooting" them out the back of the spacecraft with strong EM fields.

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11-16-2012, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
This is still a far cry from interplanetary space travel. The distances are just unfathomable even within parts of our own solar system.
"Interplanetary space travel" doesn't imply manned travel.

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11-17-2012, 07:23 PM
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So kind of off topic but i was thinking about space travel last night and got really depressed about our lack of progress. I remember being in 1st grade (95) and the teachers telling us we would be on Mars by 2013. It kept getting pushed back every year as i was growing up and now no one is even talking about it.

I wonder what it was like during the heyday of space exploration?

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11-17-2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSUCapsFan View Post
So kind of off topic but i was thinking about space travel last night and got really depressed about our lack of progress. I remember being in 1st grade (95) and the teachers telling us we would be on Mars by 2013. It kept getting pushed back every year as i was growing up and now no one is even talking about it.

I wonder what it was like during the heyday of space exploration?
A couple of movies:

The Right Stuff
Apollo 13

PBS has aired a couple of documentaries that were pretty good. The Discovery and History Channels have done some some good work in this area.

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11-18-2012, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
A couple of movies:

The Right Stuff
Apollo 13

PBS has aired a couple of documentaries that were pretty good. The Discovery and History Channels have done some some good work in this area.

When We Left Earth is a 4 part miniseries that chronicles NASAs history up through the Discovery disaster, iirc. Really good, really interesting stuff. Think its up on Netflix.

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11-21-2012, 08:46 PM
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LickTheEnvelope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peon View Post
I seem to remember they had done math on plasma jets a while ago and showed they could reduce 2 years to Mars to 2 months. Of course no spaceship exists and IDK if the plasma jets would work but it wasn't a crackpot article/news piece. There was some truth to it.
You mean 8 months to 2 months? If you time it right it only takes about 2.6 years to get to Jupiter with current tech.

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11-30-2012, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
This is still a far cry from interplanetary space travel. The distances are just unfathomable even within parts of our own solar system.

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