AUG 15, 2018 8:57 PM PDT

Are Ion-Powered Rockets the Way of the Future for Space Exploration?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

While chemical burn rockets are the industry standard for launching spacecraft beyond Earth’s atmosphere, the bigger question concerns how we should tackle thrust after the spacecraft reaches outer space. This is especially important considering how interest in long-term space missions continues to grow.

Ion-powered rockets potentially offer a tangible solution. This form of thrust accelerates charged atoms through a magnetic field and then out the back of the spacecraft. It produces less thrust than a chemical burn rocket, but it uses little fuel in the process and lasts much longer than a chemical burn.

Because this propulsion method doesn’t require as much fuel, it can theoretically go much farther than a chemical burn rocket. Furthermore, the lack of friction in space would result in thrust multiplication over time.

The ion-powered rocket concept has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that engineers worked out some of the quirks that made them infeasible. With additional research and development, perhaps engineers will devise the perfect setup that could one day take humans to Mars.

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 09, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Telescope on Plane to Study Evolution of Molecules in the Milky Way
JUN 09, 2022
Telescope on Plane to Study Evolution of Molecules in the Milky Way
Hydrides in the Galaxy (HyGAL) is a project whose goal is to characterize the interstellar medium in the Milky Way in or ...
AUG 07, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Geologic activity of dwarf planet Ceres divulged through computers models
AUG 07, 2022
Geologic activity of dwarf planet Ceres divulged through computers models
In a recent study published in American Geophysical Union Advances, computer models divulge how the geologic activity on ...
AUG 15, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Astronomers Witnessed the Merging of Two Black Holes That Were Born Far Apart in Space
AUG 15, 2022
Astronomers Witnessed the Merging of Two Black Holes That Were Born Far Apart in Space
Think of our spacetime as fabric. When we place something in it, the fabric curves. This is what happens every ...
SEP 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
How Impacts Affect Planetary Bodies
SEP 02, 2022
How Impacts Affect Planetary Bodies
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers discuss how impacts that plan ...
SEP 17, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Perseverance's MOXIE Experiment Creates Oxygen on The Red Planet
SEP 17, 2022
Perseverance's MOXIE Experiment Creates Oxygen on The Red Planet
In a recent study published in Science Advances, a team of researchers led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ...
SEP 24, 2022
Space & Astronomy
The James Webb Space Telescope Observes Neptune and its Rings
SEP 24, 2022
The James Webb Space Telescope Observes Neptune and its Rings
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has captured its first image of Neptune, and it is the clearest view of the planet ...
Loading Comments...