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.