Space engines may soon become way more resourceful: An Australian PhD student has said to have surpass NASA’s fuel effectiveness record and created a new kind of ion space drive that can use a range of metals, even those which can be found in space junk, as a fuel. PhD student of University of Sydney in Physics, Paddy Neumann, has developed a “new type of ion space drive” that outdoes NASA’s in fuel efficiency, according to student newspaper Honi Soit. Even though Neumann’s technology is not that effective in acceleration, it could potentially be used for the moving of cargo over quite long distances in space. The study, which is yet to be issued in a peer-reviewed magazine, so far has been presented as a record breaking development.
Neumann’s variation of the engine nonetheless uses metal as fuel, which is hit by electric arcs to yield ions that are absorbed by a magnetic nozzle. While magnesium apparently displayed the best results, Neumann’s drive can use a number of various metals, giving the drive a reasonable advantage over similar machineries in terms of cost savings.
Neumann is now seeking to patent the machinery he has created with Professors David McKenzie and Marcela Bilek. The group is projected to present their study at the 15th Australian Space Research Conference late this month.