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RedBox
2004-May-09, 04:36 PM
Hi

I saw this NASA patent
http://technology.nasa.gov/tops_detail.cfm?pkey=2200095&category=TOPS

Anyone know if this is "only" a more advanced form of ion-engine. To me it looks a bit like propellantles propulsion.

Best Regards

lek
2004-May-09, 07:59 PM
It appears to be a type of ion engine, which ionizes the medium it operates in instead of carrying its own "supply of ions". It accelerates the ionized gas/liquid around it to one direction to cause movement, very much the same way as a helicopter, but does that without moving parts.

Theres some information about it in the webby, but majority of it it is pseudoscientific woowoo, So "some" degree of criticism is recommended ;)

Apologies if im jumping the gun here, but... Does this relate to your thread regarding newtons 3rd law in "against the mainstream" forum?

RedBox
2004-May-09, 08:18 PM
Hi Lek

Tanks for the explanation!
I guess propellantless propulsion sounded to good to be true.
If NASA ever invents a new concept of propellantless propulsion they would probably tell more about it. Like they have with Ion engines, solar sails, space tethers and Space elevators (but there's is very few news about space tether's)

About my other thread about newtons 3:rd law no they are not related.
I did read about a case where newtons 3:rd law could be circumvented some time ago in newscientist (But then again maybe I didn't understand the article #-o )

lek
2004-May-09, 08:42 PM
The elevator would be very cool (and cheap way) to get stuff up there, but the material required as the cable is a bit annoying :( (if i remember right it would take several klometers wide kevlar thread just to sustain its own weight)

Squink
2004-May-10, 02:19 AM
Here's the actual patent (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=6,317,310 .WKU.&OS=PN/6,317,310&RS=PN/6,317,310) as referenced in the article.

tlbs101
2004-May-10, 06:12 PM
This type of thing has been demonstrated on a small scale by NASA and others on the woo woo fringe.

The main thing that separates this type of new engine/ phenomenon between the woo woos and the real science demonstrated is:

The woo woos will claim this thing can be operated completely self-contained (i.e. UFO engine), yet not one of them has produced a system that is independant of any ground-based power supply. (Video of some demonstrated systems may appear to be flying on their own, but there are always wire(s) providing the high-voltage that may not be visible because they are so thin/ poor lighting conditions/ etc.)

NASA and real scientists studying this know that the high voltage power supplies must be connected to the thruster, externally, in order for it to work.


NASA might get this thing to scale up -- I hope they figure out a way to do it. The bottom line (if it can be scaled up) is; it will save on fuel-weight for boosters, because some of the initial thrust will be provided by the massive electrical power supplies on the ground. The amount of energy to lift the payload into orbit will remain the same, it's just that some of that energy can be derived from sources that are on the ground and remain on the ground.

lek
2004-May-10, 07:26 PM
NASA might get this thing to scale up -- I hope they figure out a way to do it. The bottom line (if it can be scaled up) is; it will save on fuel-weight for boosters, because some of the initial thrust will be provided by the massive electrical power supplies on the ground. The amount of energy to lift the payload into orbit will remain the same, it's just that some of that energy can be derived from sources that are on the ground and remain on the ground.

Given the thrust/size of the thruster so far, thats "quite" a bit optimistic...

It may never be a good means of propulsion, but it may serve well for things where small adjustments to low orbit etc are wanted...