Here we go again; scientists talking in Star Trek terms, making Trek tech an impending reality. Today’s case in point is news out of Alabama that the University of Alabama (in Huntsville’s Aerophysics Research Center), NASA, Boeing and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are joining forces to produce nuclear fusion impulse rocket engines.

Say it with us: Impulse engines!

Imagine a spacecraft venturing from Earth to Mars… in just six weeks. Imagine it happening by 2030, as that’s the goal. And if you have any doubt that scientists behind the project don’t recognize the Trek connection at hand here, just read the following quote. “Star Trek fans love it, especially when we call the concept an impulse drive, which is what it is,” team member Ross Cortez, an aerospace engineering Ph.D. candidate at UAH’s Aerophysics Research Center, told Txchnologist. Cortez added, “The fusion fuel we’re focusing on is deuterium [a stable isotope of hydrogen] and Li6 [a stable isotope of the metal lithium] in a crystal structure. That’s basically dilithium crystals we’re using.”

According to Txchnologist, this engine, if actually produced, would generate barely a fraction of the velocity of the faster-than-light warp drives seen in Star Trek, but it would still produce speeds that surpass other non-sci-fi-based systems currently being explored by rocket scientists. Making it a reality, of course, will require overcoming a number of daunting hurdles, not the least of which is generating more energy from a fusion reaction than was put in.

Click HERE to read the full article at Txchnologist.
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