In one big step on the way to Mars, NASA has teamed up with Aerojet Rocketdyne to work on a groundbreaking new ion propulsion engine that could help people one day travel to Mars.
The engine will use a Hall engine and use both magnetic and electric fields to ionize gases such as xenon. After these ions have been completely expelled, this will produce thrust, according to the Daily Mail .
While the levels of acceleration and thrust on this engine may be lower than on chemical rockets, the bonus of this new design is that it makes the rocket more fuel efficient in the long run and also cleaner.
To build this new ion propulsion system that could carry humans to Mars, NASA's awards have received $ 67 million in Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS).
It is hoped that this new design will help NASA achieve optimal fuel efficiency, making it ten times more efficient than traditional chemical propulsion technology. It should be noted that the Hall engine has already performed well and is currently being used to place satellites in the proper locations around the Earth in orbit.
With the strongest Hall engine in orbit at 4.5 kilowatts, Aerojet Rocketdyne is currently working on a 1
"By being at the cutting edge of propulsion technology, we have positioned ourselves for a big enterprise not only in returning to the moon, but also in any future initiative to send people to Mars." AEPS is the avant-garde for the next generation of space exploration and we're thrilled to be at the mast. "
The engine that could take humans to Mars: NASA shows the latest radionuclide drive tests | Daily Mail Online https://t.co/R2F01rWIhd
– Jonathan Knight (@jondknight) September 1, 2018
Engineers are now working on completing their design and then conducting a critical design review (CDR) after which the project will hopefully get the green light for production. Once manufactured, the AEPS engines can then be deployed to the NASA outpost, known as the Gateway.
Once Aerojet Rocketdyne has received approval from NASA to produce its special new ion propulsion system, this could be a good sign of NASA's future in space exploration and, of course, the race to come to Mars.