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Thread: Steampunk spacecraft propelled by water vapor

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Steampunk spacecraft propelled by water vapor

    The steampunk spacecraft redux.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1902.03523

    Propelling Interplanetary Spacecraft Utilizing Water-Steam

    Jorge Martinez, Jekan Thangavelautham (Submitted on 10 Feb 2019)

    Water has been identified as a critical resource both to sustain human-life but also for use in propulsion, attitude-control, power, thermal and radiation protection systems. Water may be obtained off-world through In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) in the course of human or robotic space exploration that replace materials that would otherwise be shipped from Earth. Water has been highlighted by many in the space community as a credible solution for affordable/sustainable exploration. Water can be extracted from the Moon, C-class Near Earth Objects (NEOs), surface of Mars and Martian Moons Phobos and Deimos and from the surface of icy, rugged terrains of Ocean Worlds. However, use of water for propulsion faces some important techno-logical barriers. A technique to use water as a propellant is to electrolyze it into hydrogen and oxygen that is then pulse-detonated. High-efficiency electrolysis requires use of platinum-catalyst based fuel cells. Even trace elements of sulfur and carbon monoxide found on planetary bodies can poison these cells making them unusable. In this work, we develop steam-based propulsion that avoids the technological barriers of electrolyzing impure water as propellant. Using a solar concentrator, heat is used to extract the water which is then condensed as a liquid and stored. Steam is then formed using the solar thermal reflectors to concentrate the light into a nanoparticle-water mix. This solar thermal heating (STH) process converts 80 to 99% of the in-coming light into heat.

  2. #2
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    Earlier article on same topic. Steampunk spacecraft in the asteroid belt.

    https://phys.org/news/2019-01-steam-...y-explore.html

    Steam-propelled spacecraft prototype can theoretically explore celestial objects "forever"
    January 11, 2019 by Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala, University of Central Florida

    Using steam to propel a spacecraft from asteroid to asteroid is now possible, thanks to a collaboration between a private space company and the University of Central Florida. UCF planetary research scientist Phil Metzger worked with Honeybee Robotics of Pasadena, California, which developed the World Is Not Enough spacecraft prototype that extracts water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam and propel itself to its next mining target.

    UCF provided the simulated asteroid material and Metzger did the computer modeling and simulation necessary before Honeybee created the prototype and tried out the idea in its facility Dec. 31. The team also partnered with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, to develop initial prototypes of steam-based rocket thrusters. "It's awesome," Metzger says of the demonstration. "WINE successfully mined the soil, made rocket propellant, and launched itself on a jet of steam extracted from the simulant. We could potentially use this technology to hop on the Moon, Ceres, Europa, Titan, Pluto, the poles of Mercury, asteroids—anywhere there is water and sufficiently low gravity."

  3. #3
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    Everything old is new again: water-powered spacecraft

    https://www.universetoday.com/143133...raft-in-orbit/

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    Now to have them eat comets.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Now to have them eat comets.
    Isn't that what Marie Antoinette said?

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