The NASA Marshall Space Flight Engineer has developed an alternative to conventional propellant rocket propulsion through space. This is a huge, helical motor driven by a particle accelerator. Dr. Burns describes the controversial and highly experimental device as a "helical engine".
The director of the Marshall Space Flight Center proposed the idea in a series of slides published on the Space Agency's Technical Reports server.
He wrote: "This in-space engine could be used for long-term storage of satellite stations without refueling.
"It could also carry spacecraft over interstellar distances that are close to the speed of light."
The design is based on a simple experiment used to describe the third law of motion of the genius scientist Isaac Newton, which states that every act has an equal and opposite reaction] A weight that moves along a straight bar causes only that the box in which it is located moves back and forth along a smooth surface: there is no forward acceleration.
Instead, Dr. Burns ago, pushing a particle accelerator ̵
In this way, the rotating ion ring strikes the front of the compartment. it generates a forward acceleration.
The NASA scientist suggests that his helix engine, if equipped with enough time and power, could possibly reach extraordinary speeds with the help of a particle accelerator.
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The idea is admittedly controversial, and many in the field are extremely skeptical about the idea.
Dr. Burns admitted to New Scientist: "I agree to throw them out there.
"If someone says it does not work, I'm the first to say it was worth a try."
First, the design could only generate enough momentum in the room to create a completely smooth environment.  READ MORE: NASA Leader Unveils Nuclear "Game Changer"
If it were on Earth, it would require a ton of energy – about 125 megawatts, enough power to power a small town – only Achieving a Newton energy, the same force that is needed for typing on a keyboard.
The accelerator for helical particles should also be huge.
Dr. Burns believes that it would need to be about 65 feet to produce an actual impulse (20 m) long and 13 m wide.
For reference, the International Space Station (ISS) is almost 100 meters long.
Like Dr. Burns suggests in the proposal, this would be a good option for driving large spacecraft.
There are a number of problems that complicate the use of its engine designs in space.
The biggest of these is that the engine is extremely inefficient and probably violates the laws of momentum conservation.