The Sun-inspired rocket engine: Its technology will reduce space travel by a quarter

The Sun-inspired rocket engine: Its technology will reduce space travel by a quarter

The world’s largest nuclear fusion rocket engine is being built.

Nuclear fusion technology has the potential to revolutionize space travel in terms of both speed and fuel usage.

This power source, which powers the Sun, could halve travel times to Mars or reduce a journey to Saturn and its moons from eight years to two.

Pulsar Fusion, a UK-based rocket engine company, has started producing the largest fusion rocket engine to date.

Nuclear fusion technology is incredibly exciting, but not everyone is convinced that it will work. It requires ultra-high temperatures and pressures to function. The approximately 8-meter-long engine is scheduled to be fired up in 2027. As expected, replicating the Sun within a rocket is not an easy task.

At the core of nuclear fusion propulsion is an extremely hot plasma confined within an electromagnetic field, and scientists continue to research how to achieve this in a stable and safe manner.

James Lambert, the CFO of Pulsar Fusion, says that the challenge is to learn how to hold and confine the superheated plasma within an electromagnetic field.

Machine learning can help facilitate the mapping of this challenging “box of air.” Pulsar Fusion has partnered with Princeton Satellite Systems in the United States to use supercomputer algorithms to better predict how plasma will behave and learn how to control it more precisely.

If scientists can make everything work as intended, the chamber will reach several hundred million degrees, making it hotter than the Sun. The excess energy released could potentially provide a rocket speed of 804,672 kilometers per hour.

The specific type of engine mentioned here is Direct Fusion Drive (DFD), where charged particles directly create thrust instead of converting to electricity. It is more efficient than other options and does not require a significant fuel load as it operates with atomic isotopes. In addition to significantly shortening round-trip journeys to other planets, nuclear fusion also promises nearly unlimited, clean energy for life on Earth.

Source: TRT Haber

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