They say water is a universal solvent and has a capacity to mix with just anything. But it also has immense energy in the form of steam to move or push things. The water-driven and water-centric space coach concept vehicle will use this property of water to change the way one travels in space. It comes attached with electro-thermal engines that get powered by solar energy and further heat up water. Such engines are not only very resourceful but also are a great way to initiate low-thrust travel.
Water, when superheated, converts into steam which generates the required thrust after it finds way out of a nozzle that pushes the space coach from the Earth’s orbit up till Mars. Great radiation shielding will be possible because of the use of water. The whole space coach will come with flexible living spaces that will primarily be interconnected habitat modules crafted out of fabric. When the coach travels through exceptionally cold regions in space, water can be pumped into the walls of the fabric and frozen, which will act as a shelter against cold. Apart from all this, if, at any point, a rapid change in velocity is experienced, smaller chemical rockets could be brought into play when required.
Technology knows no expenditure. One can come up with great ideas by using really cheap sources of energy as well. Similarly, this space coach has been crafted without any major spending as there is hardly any new expertise involved. But to bring the whole concept to life, still a few hurdles need to be cleared. A few necessary tests need to done to ensure it is super safe. Electro-thermal engines and propulsion system needs to pass necessary tests as of now. To get the best ideas, Brian McConnell, a software engineer and technology entrepreneur, envisions:
” … holding a design competition for the engines, as well as one for the overall ship design — cash-reward contests that would be like smaller versions of the Google Lunar X Prize, which is a $30 million private race to the moon.”
How it’s to change the way we go?
Everything comes with a price-tag and a trip till Mars and back to earth will also make one shed a few million. Though the total expenditure will any day be much lower than what a space shuttle launch consumes, but still we can’t call it very less. These water-fueled space coaches will rise in the relative value graph as an idea to keep them in orbit in-between expeditions is being initiated. Such a step will trim down 30 times the cost as expenses will be saved on the launch part. It is also anticipated that a lot of water will be made available on the ship which maybe further used by astronauts to take shower regularly and also grow crops possibly.
The whole working uses water as the main propellant, hence cutting down on fuel costs plus pollution caused by them. This further makes a major chunk of the ship fall under the recyclable category. Water can be easily shoved off to the engines after being used for radiation shielding. So, this will save non-renewable sources of energy and become a green way to travel in space.
Will it really be green?
The whole concept makes apt use of water which will be converted into steam with the help of solar-powered electro-thermal engines. This high pressure steam will escape through a nozzle which will create the amount of low-thrust required. This available energy will further shove the coach from our very own earth’s orbit and make it travel till Mars. So, usage of water will save a lot of resources and hence avoid pollution.
When & how much?
Well, as of now, the exact price and availability date is beyond the realms of imagination and it is merely a concept. Since the electro-thermal engines have not been tested properly and propulsion system also needs to be worked on, it is a little difficult to say when it will be made public. Till the, all we can do is keep looking for more updates.
It is every man’s dream to travel in space and feel what astronauts go through. Bringing this reverie closer to reality is this green aircraft that will be cost effective as well. Even after the cost effective tag, one will have to shell a lot of money.
Source: Auto Motto