Aerojet Rocketdyne 'Ion Drive' To Reach The Asteroids? (Update!)

An ion drive created by Aerojet Rocketdyne might be the power system needed to take a NASA robot to an asteroid and bring a piece of it back.


(Aerojet Rocketdyne 'Ion Drive' To Reach The Asteroids)

Engineers at the Ohio center have been working on electric propulsion technology since the 1950s, and low-power ion thrusters have been used on probes such as the Dawn spacecraft, which is currently orbiting Ceres. Such thrusters use solar-generated electrical power to accelerate xenon ions to incredibly high speed.

The thrust amounts to just a whisper – roughly equivalent to the weight of a piece of paper pressing down on your hand. But over time, the acceleration can build up to more than 200,000 mph.

Today’s ion thrusters reach a power level of 4.5 kilowatts in space operations, and around 12.5 kilowatts in the lab. Aerojet is tasked with developing a 50- to 100-kilowatt system that puts thrusters together to provide the oomph required to get to an asteroid or Mars.

The first science fiction writer to talk about this propulsion system - and who coined the phrase "ion drive" was Golden Age great Jack Williamson.

Update: An even better science fictional precursor to this idea can be found in the 1961 novel The Planet Strappers, by Raymond Z. Gallun.

They had won twenty-five hundred dollars during the summer for building a working model of a sun-powered ionic drive motor—the kind useful for deep-space propulsion, but far too weak in thrust to be any good, starting from the ground...
(Read more about the sun-powered ionic motor)

Thanks to Fred Kiesche of Bernal Alpha for pointing out The Planet Strappers (and for helping to get it on Gutenberg!). End update.

Via GeekWire.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/22/2016)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.' - E. C. Tubb, 1958.

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.' - Nelson S. Bond, 1941.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..' - Robert Forward, 1992.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.