On the heels of our last blog, “A hypersonic engine is leaving supersonic in history”, comes amazing news about the technologies being made for the mission to Mars. As we have been finding new inventions, it seems, coincidentally, NASA has been following the same threads, only to create a new idea that will not only revolutionize space travel, and, yet again, push the mission to Mars that much closer to reality.
What are the threads that are putting NASA’s idea into motion?
It seems that NASA is combining some of the newest technological advances to create one big idea. The technological advances are:
- The understanding of turbine engines we just discussed from the latest blog in that they have many moving parts and those parts can break down, thereby needing to be replaced.
- The use of 3D printers as described in the blog “Metal 3d printing moves onward, upward, and over the water”, where nearly anything, including objects that must be made of metal, can be created on 3D printers.
- The effect of temperature with use of fuel in space flight. In our case, we explained how a rubber-based fuel did not require a storage temperature but required nearly 1000 degrees Fahrenheit to burn it, and how it’s availability was difficult in the blog ”New Source Corp looks out for a Dream Chaser”.
- The effects of using regular rocket fuel in landing current prototypes of the Mars lander in the blog “Update on the Space X program”.
Each of these blogs can be sighted for further information about the significance of NASA’s new idea, how remarkable it is in solving many of the problems listed in these blogs, and how it has pushed the Mars mission even closer to the looming deadline next year.
What is NASA’s new idea?
Here it is in a nut shell, but remember, if you get confused, use the previous blogs to help you. Use a turbine engine to push a pump that will compress a different material for fuel that will allow the material to be used as fuel. Now let’s break it down
- NASA wants to use a turbine engine to push a pump. We know that turbine engines are great for creating a great deal of thrust or pressure but are also notorious for having so many parts that one is highly likely to fail.
- NASA wants to put at least 1, if not more than 1, 3D printer on the space craft to create any parts for the turbine engine for when it breaks down. This will eliminate the “if” factor and create the need to carry raw materials instead of previously fabricated parts, thereby saving room on the space craft.
- NASA does not want to use jet fuel for obvious reasons, but using hydrogen has the obvious highly flammable concern, and the slightly difficult procedure of separating it from other elements while on Mars; never mind the storage temperature of almost -400 degree Fahrenheit, which will be hard to maintain at best.
- NASA wants to use methane instead which is not as flammable, is easy to create using the mass quantities of carbon dioxide on Mars, and has a storage temperature of almost half that of hydrogen.
NASA presented this idea to anyone who wanted to try to make it and it became a competition of who could create the best one which caused the idea to become a reality very quickly. The “winner” designed a pump with nearly half of the parts of a standard turbine engine, which makes it more fuel efficient and cheaper to make. Now they are in final testing before they combine the pump with the space craft and oh what a story that will make.