Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Steam-powered space probe could work forever


Posted on Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 | Comment icon 9 comments

Could a space probe really run off steam ? Image Credit: University of Central Florida
Scientists have developed a prototype for a steam-powered spacecraft that can refuel itself with water.
One of the biggest problems that face deep space missions is the fact that, once the fuel runs out, the mission is effectively over, limiting the potential of otherwise fully operational space probes.

Now though, scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have put together the world's first steam-powered spacecraft that could, in theory at least, explore space almost indefinitely.

Unlike conventional probes which rely on chemical fuels for propulsion, this one is designed to use steam, meaning that all it needs to refuel itself is water that it can mine from asteroids and comets.

Known as WINE (World Is Not Enough), the prototype probe is about the size of a microwave and is equipped with the tools needed to extract water from bodies in space.
Its creators have envisaged a way for it to 'hop' across the surface of an asteroid, mining water as it goes, before lifting off by releasing a powerful jet of steam.

The power needed to heat the water would come from either solar panels or a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), depending on how far away from the Sun it is going.

Whether the prototype will be developed in to an actual space mission however remains to be seen.



Source: Extreme Tech | Comments (9)


Tags: Steam, Water


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by South Alabam on 22 January, 2019, 18:02
Novel idea, it just doesn't seem practical after so long of a time however. Technology would bypass the obvious slow nature of this craft.
Comment icon #2 Posted by OverSword on 22 January, 2019, 18:27
Already posted   Probably my fault for putting it in the Science and Technology section.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Gecks on 22 January, 2019, 19:49
Fantastic way to think outside the box! But yes, who knows if it will be a practical reality.
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker on 22 January, 2019, 19:58
It often seems like this type of probe is always short on room for equipment, and if it has to carry mining equipment, it will be able to do even less science. It would probably be an OK method for a "Workhorse" type probe that travels around and just take pictures, but one that is looking at material composition and chemicals in ice, and such, isn't going to work well, IMHO, with a probe that has to carry a bunch of mining/processing equipment with it.
Comment icon #5 Posted by moonman on 22 January, 2019, 20:12
I never thought I would see an actual steampunk spacecraft.
Comment icon #6 Posted by OverSword on 22 January, 2019, 20:17
And here is the required extra vehicular suit
Comment icon #7 Posted by DieChecker on 22 January, 2019, 21:01
Are the mutton chops required, or just suggested?
Comment icon #8 Posted by MyOtherAccount on 23 January, 2019, 0:39
I suggested that there be thought about the expenses of not making mission equipment available for reuse.  (See quote below)  Little did I know--apparently little did the others members know--people were planning on making improvements in that area of space missions. The only responses I got, that might be of interest to members are below.  I guess those were responses, anyway...    
Comment icon #9 Posted by Jon the frog on 23 January, 2019, 1:51
It make me think of doc Brown... with is steam time machine.  


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

6732646
280504
185436

 
The snow on the Italian Alps is turning pink
7-6-2020
Scientists have been investigating why large swathes of glacial ice have turned a peculiar pink color.
'Unsolved Mysteries' receives '20 credible tips'
7-6-2020
The recent revival of the classic TV series has prompted several tips that could help to solve some of the cases.
Yowie researcher recalls his first encounter
7-5-2020
David Taylor has been investigating Australia's answer to the legendary Sasquatch for the better part of 12 years.
Fireball produces sonic boom over Japan
7-5-2020
A space rock created quite the spectacle when it lit up the night sky above Japan's Kanto region recently.
Stories & Experiences
 
 
Grim reaper-like visitation
6-16-2020 | Canada
 
My monster catfish story
6-15-2020 | Dallas texas
 
Orb of light in room
5-9-2020 | USA/Texas/Waco
 
Not sleeping alone
5-9-2020 | Los Angeles
 
Glowing red eyes
5-9-2020 | Fields, Louisiana
 
Two creature sightings
5-1-2020 | Augusta and Louisana
 
 
My haunted home
5-1-2020 | Rainham, Essex, UK
 

         More stories | Send us your story
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
NASA studies underwater 'white smoker' vents
Posted 4-17-2020 | 3 comments
Hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor can teach us about possible habitats on other worlds.
 
10 strange things about our solar system
Posted 3-17-2020 | 0 comments
A look at some of the most mysterious things about our solar system.
 
Lizzie - Scotland's other loch monster
Posted 3-8-2020 | 0 comments
Amelia Dimoldenberg investigates the Loch Ness Monster's neighbor.
 
 View: More videos
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 Unexplained-Mysteries.com (c) 2001-2020
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ