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Monday, November 13, 2006

Steam-Powered Spaceship Via NEO Asteroids?

Water, water everywhere but any to fuel my steam-powered spaceship?

Planetary scientist John S. Lewis indicates that there may be several C-type asteroids in the Near Earth Objects (NEOs) population that may harbor water. Many of these asteroids may be easier for human visitation and exploration than the Moon using current space transport technologies. Water as an extraterrestrial resource would have potential for construction of a steam-powered spaceship.

An alternative to a chemical rocket is to heat a volatile material and expel the resulting superheated gas from the rocket chamber. The natural choice for this expendable material is water. Possible sources of heat are nuclear or solar power.

IF humans are to operate commercial ventures in cislunar and translunar space the costs of transport must be avoided. Ideas to cut space transport costs have included using solar-thermal propulsion or nuclear-thermal propulsion using water from NEOs as the primary propellant in the years ahead.

If humans are to explore the Moon and Mars in the 21st Century, the asteroids appear to be potential fueling stations for a new generation of spacecraft yet to be flight-tested. As Dr. Lewis has stated, a shortage of space resources is "an illusion born of ignorance."

1 comment:

tom said...

I try to follow all the suggestion on the work done with space propulsion.
Stream thrusters have advantages over current technologies;simpler materials & design,non-exotic propellant. High thrust factors are ideal for manned spaceflight,especial for yaw,pitch & roll maneuvers.
Though i imagine steam would be better for a service support vehicle.