An engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has an advanced alternative to the traditional fuel for space rocket propulsion. This is a huge, spiral-shaped motor driven by a particle accelerator. Dr Burns describes the controversial and highly experimental device as a "spiral engine."
The director of the Marshall Space Flight Center proposed the idea in a series of slides posted on the Space Agency's Technical Reports server.
He wrote: "This space engine can be used for long – term satellite station records without fuel.
"It could propel a spacecraft through interstellar distances, reaching close to the speed of light."
The design is based on a simple experiment used to describe the third law of motion genius scientist Isaac Newton that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
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Weight moving along a straight rod will cause the only box that is to move back and forth along the friction surface: no forward acceleration.
Instead, Dr. Burns proposes pressing the particle accelerator – rather than weight – back and forth along the helix, with the mass increasing as it moves forward and decreasing as it reverses.
This way, when the rotating ion ring hits the front of the compartment, it produces forward acceleration.
A NASA scientist suggests that if its helical engine is provided with enough time and power, it can reach a potentially remarkable speed, aided by the particle accelerator.
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The idea is to acknowledge the controversy, with many in the area extremely skeptical of the idea.
Dr Burns admitted to the New Scientist: "I'm comfortable with throwing in there.
"If anyone says it doesn't work, I'll be the first to say, it's worth a shot."
First, the design will be able to work enough dynamics in space, quite frictional environment only.
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If it were on Earth, it would take a ton of power – about 125 megawatts, enough power to power a small town – to achieve just one Newton of energy, the same amount of power needed to designate the keyboard.
The acceleration of the spiral particles additionally has to be huge.
Dr Burns believes that in order to create true momentum, it will have to be about 65ft (20) long and 40ft (13m) across.
For reference, the International Space Station (ISS) is almost 330ft (100) in length.
As Dr. Burns suggests in the proposal, it would make a good option for powering large spacecraft made.
There are a number of problems that make its engine design difficult to employ in space.
The biggest one being the engine is extremely inefficient and likely to violate the laws of conservation intensity.