Researcher develops fusion rocket: Journey to Mars could be within reach

Sandra Loyd
The new fusion rocket works on the principle of solar flare. (Image: Paul Fleet / Shutterstock)

The physicist Dr. Fatima Ebrahimi has developed the concept of a fusion rocket that dwarfs everything previously. It ejects plasma particles that travel between 20 and 500 kilometers per second.

Mars – a distance that by today’s standards is too far for manned space flight – could not by any means be the end of the achievable space if the concept of the researcher at the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) can assert itself as a prototype. The simulation promises maximum speeds of at least 20 kilometers per second.

Dr. Ebrahimi on a modern plasma drive. This type of drive is not new. The principle is based on the fact that plasma particles are shot into the vacuum of space, which gives the rocket enormous propulsion.

Rocket propulsion based on the principle of solar flares

Conventional plasma drives already work with electrical fields to drive the particles. The new design goes one step further and introduces the principle of magnetic reconnection.

This increases the power – simplified expressed – magnetic fields by reconnecting and repelling at the pole ends, which leads to massive energy release. One also speaks of the “magnetic slingshot” and it is assumed that the solar flares are the most prominent example of the effect of magnetic reconnection.

Astray quickly, Endless energy

The spiral magnetic field arcs required for the reconnection effect should be used in fusion reactors of the tokamak type be generated. The speed of the fusion drive should exceed conventional boosters by at least a factor of 10.

The concept would be for long-distance flights into space especially suitable under two aspects. For one thing, a fusion rocket would reach cruising speed much faster than has been the case so far. On the other hand, the vehicle would have an unlimited amount of energy.

Dr. Fatima Ebrahimi featured in the Journal of Plasma Physics. The construction of a prototype should now follow.

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