Scientists develop fusion rocket technology in lab – and aim for Mars

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 07, 2013 8:00 PM GMT
    Cool beans.

    http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/05/17606782-scientists-develop-fusion-rocket-technology-in-lab-and-aim-for-mars?lite
  • Rhi_Bran

    Posts: 904

    Apr 08, 2013 1:26 AM GMT
    tumblr_inline_mkngl5OJl01qz4rgp.gif
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    Apr 08, 2013 5:59 AM GMT
    Ha! I just finished Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy today...fingers crossed.
  • PandaDragon

    Posts: 39

    Apr 08, 2013 8:53 AM GMT
    Um... Last time I checked we were still trying to harness Fusion power in the most basic sense? It is still waaaaay too unstable for general use (apart from engines) I think this article hasn't done its research properly... I may be wrong, but the article is not actually using Fusion as an energy source but rather making a typical plasma propelled rocket. The confusing thing with this article is that they start with fusion power but then start going on about plasma propulsion. I think the Journalist was slightly confused with the two concepts. This is yet again why the world needs more scientific journalists so that we don't have another "Aluminium Chloride cures cancer" catastrophe again.....
  • PandaDragon

    Posts: 39

    Apr 08, 2013 8:56 AM GMT
    (actually I cannot remember the compound that was said to cure cancer, but I remember it was a very common lab reagent... whatev's icon_razz.gif )
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    Apr 08, 2013 10:03 AM GMT
    Reading the article looks like they have a way of heating deuterium to fusion temperatures AND a magnetic method of using metal to initiate the fusion...the hope to produce pulses of hot plasma.

    However, they have two parts of the drive and haven't used them together - bit like having a piston and a spark plug then saying you have an internal combustion engine.
  • PandaDragon

    Posts: 39

    Apr 08, 2013 10:54 AM GMT
    True, I understand that. The problem is that plasma propulsion has been around for quite awhile now, however it is not as powerful as conventional rocketry. If you add fusion power to this, it would be the equivalent of blowing a nuke behind a space craft per "pulse". One of the major draw backs of fusion energy (compared to fission) is that we have very limited means of controlling the release of energy as it tends to (annoyingly so) catalyse itself and cause a wonderful chain-reaction like event. I would like to read the actual report from the scientists and engineers first as there are a few dubious elements in this article.