NASA tests a methane engine!

BGH
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NASA tests a methane engine!

More spicy space news from the Bad Astromomer, Phil Plait.

This could open whole new avenues for propulsion. Very exciting.

 

NASA tests a methane engine

I have got to get me one of these:

A NASA contractor has built a test engine that runs on methane. That image is from a movie of the test firing, and yes, you want to see it. Make sure the sound is turned up.
So so cool.
Methane is a pretty good fuel. For one thing, it […]

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I have got to get me one of these:


image of the NASA test firing of a methane engine

A NASA contractor has built a test engine that runs on methane. That image is from a movie of the test firing, and yes, you want to see it. Make sure the sound is turned up.

So so cool.

Methane is a pretty good fuel. For one thing, it doesn’t have to be kept as cold as other fuels, making it easier to make and use. You don’t need such thick tanks for it, which saves weight, and it’s a safe substance (a spill wouldn’t be all that toxic). The linked article about this is pretty informative, but one thing it doesn’t have is the comparative thrust of methane versus, say, what’s being used now on expendable rockets. If the bang isn’t worth the saving in bucks then it hardly matters. This particular engine had a 7500 pound thrust, which is nice, but compare that to the 100,000 pound thrust of the GEM-40 (used on Delta II rockets) — and bearing in mind that several GEM-40s may be strapped on to a rocket — and you can see there’s a ways to go yet. Still, it’s early in the game, and this was a test of a small version. I’m sure they’ll get bigger!

And when they do get bigger, and can be used for solar system exploration, there’s another advantage that kicks in: methane can be found all throughout the solar system (or made easily from available materials). That means you don’t have to carry all your fuel around with you! If you go to Mars, or Saturn’s moon Titan, you can bring enough fuel to get there, then make the rest from the planet you’re sitting on (and please, no astronaut diaper or related jokes!). That saving in weight is HUGE, and a very big plus.

And also, really just how frackin’ cool is that video? Wow.

 

 


Hambydammit
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Yep.  Worth watching. 

Yep.  Worth watching.  And a damn cool concept.  I have an idea for the first use for it... let's strap Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron into a spaceship, and send them to Mars.  If they learn how to use the scientific method, they'll figure out how to get more fuel and come back to earth changed for the better.  If not, well, we'll have empirical evidence that they're full of shit.

(At the least, they'll be off the planet for a year or so, and that just can't be a bad thing.)

 

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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BGH
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Well, Ray and Kirk couldn't

Well, Ray and Kirk couldn't go... god did not intelligently design them to leave this planet. Besides when they got there they would be sinning because they would be "coveting" earth, wishing they were back here with the designed bananas. LOL.

It is a very cool idea because like the article says, methane can be found throughout the solar system. 


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Hey, how many will fit on

Hey, how many will fit on the Cameron/Comfort flight?  I'd like to add a few more to the group.  Possibly Ted Haggard, Tom Cruise, Pat Robertson...?  No way would they come back because they would all be too busy arguing about who has the greatest god concept.

 This is really great news!! Thanks for sharing, BGH!


Tilberian
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Wow, the ultimate Blue

Wow, the ultimate Blue Angel!

coolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcoolcool

Those guys have the best jobs on the planet.

Lazy is a word we use when someone isn't doing what we want them to do.
- Dr. Joy Brown


BGH
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The movie of that engine

The movie of that engine firing is outrageous. So, frigging cooooool!


Ophios
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It looks like a laser.

It looks like a laser.


American Atheist
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Thanks for posting this,

Thanks for posting this, BGH.Smile


edb3742
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 That was the coolest

 That was the coolest thing I have ever seen in my short life span!  Cool

Thanks for showing this to us.  I hope this is the fuel of the future! 


BGH
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edb3742 wrote: That was

edb3742 wrote:

That was the coolest thing I have ever seen in my short life span! Cool

Thanks for showing this to us. I hope this is the fuel of the future!

You are welcome. I am glad you find this fascinating.