NASA's new Rocket Broke Physics?

NASA's new rocket should be impossible but apparently is functional at small scale. I'm no rocket scientist, mostly because too much math is involved, but I know the basics.

Most of the mass for anything we want to hurl into space is fuel. Fuel adds weight. The more a thing weighs the more thrust we need. Get it where we want it to go. This usually also means more fuel to make the thrust happen, which adds more weight.

Take the Saturn V rocket. It was... Huge. Massive. One of if not the biggest rocket we put up. A building sized rocket to launch a couple things no bigger than a biggish livingroom to the moon.

If they can scale this thing up any it would be a game changer for getting stuff into orbit. Granted there has to be a catch since you can't get something from nothing, but still. Fuel doesn't just add weight, it adds _cost_ to launches. A big reason we've never been back to the moon is NASA's budget is miniscule. They simply can't afford it anymore.

I don't mean 'we should go to the moon'. I'm thinking grander scale stuff if this is significantly cheaper than current methods to get into orbit. It's all very pie in the sky stuff that's been spouted since the 70's, but robotics is finally catching up to the things we want to do.

Hell if we find an asteroid on it's way and this proves viable we can afford to launch a thing that can nudge it out of the way. Sure it'll take a year of it constantly running, but if we don't need to launch engine and a stadium of fuel with it. It's something we can do if this stuff scales up.

*What if it can't though?*
It still has applications. Satilites generally need fuel for corrections, moving around known debris, and repositioning for whatever reason. If we don't have to refuel these things they can stay up longer without anyone having to do housekeeping on them.

*So what does it use as a reaction medium?*
To be blunt? At this time 'we' don't know. Unless it violates newton's 'for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction' it has to come from somewhere. This is where the whole 'I am not a rocket scientist' thing reaches around to bite me. There's speculation that this uses the soup of particles and antiparticles that pop in and out of existence everywhere in the universe, but to the best I can tell we simply don't know.

Now if this thing uses the atmosphere as its reaction medium it's still valuable. Jets need fuel. Fuel adds weight and cost. If we can lop fuel out of the expenses, or at least plane weight, that can be either used for more passengers, or simply to make lighter aircraft.

The point is right now we know it works. We do not know why it works or if it will scale up. It needs further study, but so long as there isn't some kind of huge downside there are plenty of theoretical uses.
posted from Bloggeroid
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