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Is there a way to harness solar power or some other energy source for rockets? Answered

There are ways using a limited supply of a substance, but is there a way to get an unlimited supply?



10 years ago

hydrogen and oxygen is usually the ideal fuel source for a rocket with a very high eficiency. they are usually seperated from water and like to be together with a resulting releate of energy. for a machine to be 100% percent eficient, the amount of thrust has to be equal to the amount of energy put in thus making a "perfect machine". the problem is that there is a need for a huge source of energy to be able to recolect the steam and seperate the water. solar energy can be used to power an ion engine. the engine rips an elecron off a gas atom while the gas is then attracted to a charged plate that gives the elecron back. the challage is to collect enough gas with free electrons as fuel during flight.

yes and no. water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen and if you pass and electric current through it, you sepperate them. you can then send thouse to rocket because liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen is one sort of rocket fuel combo. the trick is to collect the water back up agene after the fuel has combusted. (it is still there, thats why when NASA tests rocket motors it rains afterwords). it you can collect it up agane you can send it back for spilting giving you infinite rocket fuel.

"giving you infinite rocket fuel" is more a matter of the energy it takes to split the thousands of tons of water into hydrogen and oxygen. I think the earth has enough water on hand that we don't need to collect the exhaust from the engine.

yes, but if you are light years away from earth on an exploration mission if would be useful if you could make your own fuel so you didn`t have to stop off to re-fuel. also, by recycling the water you wouldn`t need huge fuel tanks.

Except that the system you would have to build to collect the steam from the engine would be so heavy that it would require more fuel in the first place. Then you might as well have just added enough additional fuel to go just as far as the amount of reclaimed fuel could have taken you.

OK. so what about collecting fuel from space and using that to run the craft. you still don`t need huge fuel tanks, and you don`t need a steam collector, just a large scoop of some sort. I think the consept is called a "ram scoop" engine.