An Egyptian physics student has successfully created a new propulsion device that could accelerate space probes and artificial satellites through quantum physics and chemical reactions instead of the current radioactive-based jets and ordinary rocket engines. Mustafa’s propelling device is based upon a scientific mix between quantum physics, space technology, chemical reactions and electrical sciences. Current space probes, artificial satellites, spacecrafts and space vehicles use rocket gas engines that depend on forcing a gas to the outside of the vehicle at a supersonic speed or the chemical reactions rockets which propel by solid or liquid fuels such as radionuclide or petroleum, or the electrically-propelled probes which depend on thrusting force via accelerating ions.
One of the strange quantum facts at work in Mustafa’s engine idea is that there’s no such thing as a vacuum, devoid of particles, waves, and energy. Instead the universe’s supposedly empty spaces are filled with a roiling sea of particles and anti-particles that pop into existence, then annihilate each other in such a short space of time that you can’t readily detect them.
Mustafa invented a way of tapping this quantum effect via what’s known as the dynamic Casimir effect. This uses a “moving mirror” cavity, where two very reflective very flat plates are held close together, and then moved slightly to interact with the quantum particle sea. It’s horribly technical, but the end result is that Mustafa’s use of shaped silicon plates similar to those used in solar power cells results in a net force being delivered. A force, of course, means a push or a pull and in space this equates to a drive or engine.
Mustafa’s invention powers space vehicles by benefiting from the electric energy formed by Casimir-polder force which occurs between separate surfaces and objects in a vacuum and by the zero-point energy which is considered to be the lowest state of energy. Mustafa added that she used panels for generating electricity. The invention is related to a hypothetical concept of a jet propulsion called “Differential Sail”, which was theoretically created by NASA’s retired professor Marc G. Millis who led NASA breakthrough propulsion physics project.
In terms of space propulsion, this is amazing. Most forms of spacecraft rely on the rocket principle to work: Some fuel is made energetic and then thrust out of an engine, pushing the rocket forward. It’s tricky stuff to get right, particularly on Earth, which is why we shouldn’t be surprised SpaceX’s recent launch stopped at the critical moment due to a problem with one of its chemical rocket engines. For in-space maneuvering, many different types of rocket are used, but even exotic ones like ion drives need fuel. The only space drive that doesn’t involve hauling fuel and complex systems into orbit is a solar sail. And Mustafa’s invention can, rudimentarily, be compared to a solar sail…because it doesn’t need “fuel” as such, and exerts just the tiniest push compared to the thundery flames of SpaceX’s rockets. It’s potential is enormous–because of its mechanical simplicity and reliability it could make satellite propulsion lighter, cheaper, and thus indirectly lower the cost of space missions of all sorts.
And if you want proof that the tiniest of pushes can propel a spacecraft, check this out: Two Pioneer space probes, launched in the 1970s, are the farthest manmade objects from Earth…but they’re not as far away as they should be. Over the course of a year they deviate by hundreds of kilometers from where all our science says they must be in orbit, and it’s been found that it’s down to the tiniest of pushes coming from radiators on-board that radiate heat waves out slghtly more in one direction than another.
The scientific field of space vehicles propulsion is astonishingly rocketing and it gains a wider attention worldwide, thanks to its vital importance for other sciences like engineering, astronomy, geology, industry and others. This is in addition to the vast areas of researches it covers and the high probability of brainstorming new creations, methods and creative tools.Events like the retirement of NASA’s vehicle of space shuttle programme and the need for new methods for space travel at a faster, safer, cheaper and easier means pushes forwards conducting more and more researches in the field of space vehicles propulsion.
Currently, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of ideas for innovative propulsion systems which are either presently in use or in progress, or which are still eras or even a millennium-far away from our modern technologies.One of these methods for interplanetary and interstellar travels is the “solar sail” which depends on stellar radiation pressure or laser upon ultra-thin mirrors which work like ship sails. Other accelerating methods make use of the fourth state of matter, “plasma” by thrusting and pulsing.