Nano-Particle Field Extraction Thruster

A NanoFET - a nano-particle field extraction thruster uses nanoparticles as propellant. The "engine" is etched onto wafer-thin silicon; with fuel, it is about one centimeter thick. Tens of thousands of accelerators fit onto the area of a postage stamp. NanoFETs work like miniaturized versions of particle accelerators.

NanoFET is essentially a "stick-on" thruster that could power small spacecraft or devices over large distances for long space missions.


(NanoFET)

NanoFET systems can deliver up to ten times the thrust of an ion engine; they offer high efficiency, lower thruster specific mass and longer operational lifetimes. Since the nanoparticles are charged electrostatically rather than ionized as in ion or Hall thrusters, greater reliability and efficiency can be achieved. Without the need to ionize propellant, nanoFET does not experience charge exchange (CEX) collisions between high energy charged and slow moving neutral particles.

NanoFETs offer a wide span of thrust-to-power ratios at very high efficiency in a single package. This provides mission designers with a great deal of flexibility.

Once within the planetary body’s gravity well, nanoFET could switch to a low-Isp, high thrust-to-power mode to provide greater thrust capability. This flexibility also provides a wider margin for both robotic and crewed missions to accommodate offnominal and abort scenarios, adjust the flight time, and perform dynamic retasking to take advantage of in-flight opportunities. To achieve comparable capabilities with other EP systems across the entire Isp range, multiple engine types would have to be used, which tends to increase the mass of the propulsion system while complicating spacecraft integration and design

From the conceptual standpoint, NanoFETs are miniaturized versions of sf writer Murray Leinster's pushpots, small rocket motors that could be attached to objects and push them into space. Bigger object? Attach more pushpots.

They seemed to land by hundreds, but their number was actually in dozens. It was not until the last one was down that Joe could make himself heard. The pushpots were jet motors in frames and metal skin, with built-in jato rocket tubes besides their engines. On the ground they were quite helpless. In the air they were unbelievably clumsy. They were actually balanced and steered by vanes in the blasts of their jets, and they combined the absolute maximum of sheer thrust with the irreducible minimum of flyability.

... A gigantic crane-truck came in through the wide doorway. It dangled a pushpot. It rolled over to the launching cage in which the spaceship lay and set the unwieldy metal object against that cage. There was a clank as the pushpot caught hold of the magnetic grapples. The crane went out again, passing a second crane carrying a second pushpot. The second beetle-like thing was presented to the cage. It stuck fast. The crane went out for more. (Read more about pushpots)

Read more at Next Big Future.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/10/2009)

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 ( 2 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...' - Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr., 1940.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks' - Robert Heinlein, 1948.

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

 

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

Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.

Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.

Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'

World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

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.