PDA

View Full Version : Discussion: Ion Drive Powered Spacecraft



Fraser
2003-Jul-30, 05:56 PM
SUMMARY: The European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission will use a revolutionary ion engine to help it search for evidence that the Moon was formed after a violent collision of a smaller planet with the Earth. An ion engine works by accelerating ionized particles of gas in a constant stream for months or even years. Although the thrust is very low, it's very efficient and requires a fraction of fuel that traditional rockets use.


Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Bjarne
2003-Jul-30, 05:58 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong Fraser, but didn't NASA send a craft out wiht that kind of drive?? And if so, whatever happened to it?

Fraser
2003-Jul-30, 06:50 PM
NASA sent out a spacecraft called Deep Space 1. Its purpose was to test out various space technologies, including an ion drive. The spacecraft was retired in December 2001.

Here's a link to the mission:
http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/

Josh
2003-Jul-30, 11:48 PM
So what then makes this euro ion drive more revolutionary than the NASA one? And how successful was this ion drive? were they testing for its potential for future use or what? I'd imagine (and yes I know this is just sci-fi) that if Warp 1 had just been reached on a spacecraft the news of it wouldn't have disappeared into oblivion.

Josh
2003-Jul-30, 11:53 PM
And then I read about the ion drive tests that have been ongoing since 1998. NASA really should write and tell me these things.

Ray Bauernhuber
2003-Jul-31, 01:17 AM
Ahem, and are we still looking to use kerosene as a primary fuel source?

Fraser
2003-Jul-31, 03:42 AM
The DS1 ion drive was the first one to head into space, I believe, but it was just a prototype platform to test all kinds of different space technologies.

But now spacecraft are actually being built to use an ion drive as their main form of propulsion. It's becoming the new space engine.

Very cool.

phil
2003-Aug-19, 05:19 PM
Just a little sniglet here;
I&#39;ve heard that there is a workable theory concerning WARP drive in that because there isnt any type of metal container that can hold the subsequent blast from driving matter/anti matter particles together, how ever there is a theory on using an electro magnetic energy field to contain the reaction and there by direct the stream.The byproduct being of course Warp drive ....hmmmmm intertesting in theory <_<

Bobby Moulton
2003-Aug-22, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by phil@Aug 19 2003, 05:19 PM
Just a little sniglet here;
I&#39;ve heard that there is a workable theory concerning WARP drive in that because there isnt any type of metal container that can hold the subsequent blast from driving matter/anti matter particles together, how ever there is a theory on using an electro magnetic energy field to contain the reaction and there by direct the stream.The byproduct being of course Warp drive ....hmmmmm intertesting in theory <_<
I think ion drive is an exellent way to travel space quickly and effecently. It creates a form of poplusion with virtially no harmful waste product. An ingenius idea finally being put to work.And what about warp drive? I mean, any steel alloy we have wouldn&#39;t be strong enough to contain the matter/antimatter explosion like you said. But the theory on using a magnetic field to contain the explosion is ingenius.But, there is one problem... how would you contain antimatter in a matter based containment field without it causing an unwanted catasrophic explosion? They never tell you how they do it in Startrek. Although, if we do create a way to make it work it would be a giant leap in space travel. Very interesting.

rocketa
2003-Aug-22, 05:08 PM
"Warp Drive" is a super-luminal (faster than light) propulsion concept and has nothing to do with the energy source. it uses a method so far elusive to current scientific thinking. It is fictional.

No matter how much power you have (and anti-matter/matter annihilation would be pretty powerful&#33;) you can&#39;t do faster than light in the context of current physics.

However, it does not mean that there might be an astounding discovery in our future that would allow that to happen.

A real scientist doesn&#39;t say "No, Never&#33;" but "Probably not, maybe&#33;" :rolleyes: .

WendellG
2003-Aug-22, 10:51 PM
It has been my understanding that so far, ion drive propulsion isn&#39;t very powerful. That is why we haven&#39;t used it. Have there been some new technologies brought on board to make this a usable type of drive?

Wendell

Bobby Moulton
2003-Aug-22, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by rocketa@Aug 22 2003, 05:08 PM
"Warp Drive" is a super-luminal (faster than light) propulsion concept and has nothing to do with the energy source. it uses a method so far elusive to current scientific thinking. It is fictional.

No matter how much power you have (and anti-matter/matter annihilation would be pretty powerful&#33;) you can&#39;t do faster than light in the context of current physics.

However, it does not mean that there might be an astounding discovery in our future that would allow that to happen.

A real scientist doesn&#39;t say "No, Never&#33;" but "Probably not, maybe&#33;" :rolleyes: .
I know that now &#39;Warp Drive&#39; is most surely unacheiveable but some day in the far future we might create a way to make it happen.It&#39;s just out of our perspective of technology.At this moment &#39;Ion Drive&#39; is obviously the fastest and most effecent way of space travel and it will be for quite a while. B)

imported_Voyager
2003-Aug-23, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by Bobby Moulton@Aug 22 2003, 11:02 PM

I know that now &#39;Warp Drive&#39; is most surely unacheiveable but some day in the far future we might create a way to make it happen.It&#39;s just out of our perspective of technology.At this moment &#39;Ion Drive&#39; is obviously the fastest and most effecent way of space travel and it will be for quite a while. B)
How could you break the light barrier with matter (you and the starship)if the barrier is matter? That would be like trying to break the sound barrier with sound waves&#33; The second we reach light speed we would fly apart because we would be going faster than our atoms are traveling. It might be possible, just beyond our under standing. B)

Duane
2003-Aug-28, 11:48 PM
It has been my understanding that so far, ion drive propulsion isn&#39;t very powerful. That is why we haven&#39;t used it. Have there been some new technologies brought on board to make this a usable type of drive?


You are correct that ion drive is not very powerful. If fact, at maximum thrust, an ion drive engine would only have enough force to maybe lift a single piece of paper.

The trick behind ion drive is not power, it&#39;s endurance. Although the actual force of thrust is low, the thrust is continuous. Given that there is no friction in space, that means that the thrust builds constantly.

With enough time, the ion drive can push a craft to incredible speeds.

With the success of DS1, ion drive is now an accepted technology, such that some new craft will use it as their primary propulsion. Note that the craft will still need to be boosted into earth orbit, and will also require chemical propellant for use in it&#39;s manuvering jets.

Fraser
2003-Aug-29, 03:06 AM
The ion drive is also efficient. When you&#39;re in space, all that really matters is how much mass you can throw off your spacecraft at what velocity. Chemical rockets force material out the exhaust nozzle, but it needs to carry everything with it into space. In the case of the ion drive, it uses an electromagnetic field to fire single ions at tremendous velocities; and it creates the energy to do this from solar power, so it doesn&#39;t need to carry any fuel other than the ions that are going to be accelerated.

Very clever technology and I&#39;m sure it will become a mainstay on pretty much every deep space mission from now on.

phil
2003-Sep-04, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Duane@Aug 28 2003, 11:48 PM

It has been my understanding that so far, ion drive propulsion isn&#39;t very powerful. That is why we haven&#39;t used it. Have there been some new technologies brought on board to make this a usable type of drive?


You are correct that ion drive is not very powerful. If fact, at maximum thrust, an ion drive engine would only have enough force to maybe lift a single piece of paper.

The trick behind ion drive is not power, it&#39;s endurance. Although the actual force of thrust is low, the thrust is continuous. Given that there is no friction in space, that means that the thrust builds constantly.

With enough time, the ion drive can push a craft to incredible speeds.

With the success of DS1, ion drive is now an accepted technology, such that some new craft will use it as their primary propulsion. Note that the craft will still need to be boosted into earth orbit, and will also require chemical propellant for use in it&#39;s manuvering jets.
<_< Now we are getting some place, lets see....Ion drive is continuous not powerful but contiuous, now given no limit to distance or destinationand since Ion drive is constant and that continues to build more speed ,and since such a craft is being propelled in the vaccum of space, could we not assume that eventually we would attain incredable speeds....say almost the of light, or better hmmm sound almost like warp drive eventually :wacko:

phil
2003-Sep-04, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by Bobby Moulton+Aug 22 2003, 02:05 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Bobby Moulton @ Aug 22 2003, 02:05 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-phil@Aug 19 2003, 05:19 PM
Just a little sniglet here;
I&#39;ve heard that there is a workable theory concerning WARP drive in that because there isnt any type of metal container that can hold the subsequent blast from driving matter/anti matter particles together, how ever there is a theory on using an electro magnetic energy field to contain the reaction and there by direct the stream.The byproduct being of course Warp drive ....hmmmmm intertesting in theory <_<
I think ion drive is an exellent way to travel space quickly and effecently. It creates a form of poplusion with virtially no harmful waste product. An ingenius idea finally being put to work.And what about warp drive? I mean, any steel alloy we have wouldn&#39;t be strong enough to contain the matter/antimatter explosion like you said. But the theory on using a magnetic field to contain the explosion is ingenius.But, there is one problem... how would you contain antimatter in a matter based containment field without it causing an unwanted catasrophic explosion? They never tell you how they do it in Startrek. Although, if we do create a way to make it work it would be a giant leap in space travel. Very interesting. [/b][/quote]
Based on my very, very ,limited knowledge of warp physics, it was my understanding that a E.M. field is nuetral in its particle make up, that is how it can contain both matter
anti matter fuels.This being said the matter is contained in one tank, and the anti matter contained in a another tank,it is then injected into shall we say a futuristic "venturi" engine which of course has a E.M.field in the venturi jet ,forcing the initial controled explosion out the back sa it were :blink:

johnny
2003-Sep-14, 06:59 PM
if you strapped several of the ion drives together, say,1000, given that technology gets smaller and there is no fuel usage problem would that increaes acceleration by 1000? :(

Fraser
2003-Sep-16, 09:17 PM
Well there&#39;s a top end, which is how fast you can accelerate the ions out of the spacecraft. I think you can get as high as 10% the speed of light using this method.

phil to bobby moulton
2003-Oct-05, 03:38 AM
to answer your question, the containment of the Matter /antimatter in a magnectic field could in theory,be acheived by enclosing the M/AM in a field with only one direction for the insuing explosion to vent.Having said this the magnetic field would of course need to be neutral in its make up being niether positive or negative,the field of course being shall we say the mediator between the two forces.
The M.F. would indeed need to surround the injection of both matters in a full unbroken sphere except where the vent would be situated.
If this simplified theory is workable, i dont think it would be advisable to carry out the first test on the ground,i would have the first experiment a generous distance from the planet, because if it went wrong i would not want to anywhere within 100.000 miles from the blast area :(
However if it is successful you have about one nanosecond to see the result, because there would be nothing to see except ....nothing. the experiment would have gone to light speed :unsure:
ps. dont be standing in the opposite direction of the vent opening :blink:

Matthew
2003-Oct-05, 09:05 AM
You can travel light years in less than a second, thats by using a wormhole.

The SMART-1 Ion Engine craft is taking the long way round, but it is using much less fuel to do so. I wonder where Ion Drive technology will take us...

Matthew
2003-Oct-05, 09:05 AM
...and when...

Phil to Mathew
2003-Oct-06, 10:35 PM
I totaly Agree Matt, however I Think we as a species are much closer to finding the solution to WARP drive than we are finding /creating a workable worm hole, keeping in mind that ION drive is great, but getting to any speed remotely close to the speed of light would take years. <_<

Having said this: Questions

USING ION DRIVE THROUGH THE YEARS APROACHING LIGHT SPEED, WOULD I GET OLDER FASTER? OR IS SPACE/TIME RELATIVE TO MY POSITION, THEREFORE DO I GET OLDER NORMALY.
ALSO DOES TIME REMAIN CONSTANT AT MY POINT OF ORIGIN? OR DOES IT SPEED UP

SORRY MATT JUST THINKING OUT LOUD :rolleyes: