The Marshall Space Flight Centre of NASA has come with an alternative to the traditional fuel for sending rockets to space. We are talking about a massive engine that’s powered by a particle accelerator. Dr. Burns talks about this experimental device as a “helical engine.” They proposed the idea in a series of slides that were published to the Technical Reports server of the space agency. Dr. Burns said that this engine could be used for satellite station-keeping without actually refueling. It is also able to propel spacecraft to interstellar distances, almost reaching the speed of light.
The design started from a simple experiment, which was used to describe Isaac Newton’s third law of motion – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Let us take a clear example: a certain weight that’s moving along a straight bar will cause the box to move back and forth in a frictionless surface. This means that there’s no forward acceleration.
Dr. Burns proposed to use a particle accelerator, and not weight. If it moves back and forth, the mass increased as it moves in the forward direction, and it decreases when it bounces back.
NASA researchers suggest that, if the helical engine has enough power and time, it could read extraordinary speeds, especially if it’s helped with a particle accelerator.
This idea is very controversial, and many people don’t believe in it. Dr. Burns said that he was comfortable with making his idea public. he also stated that he would be the one to say that it was worth the shot, even if it doesn’t work. We need to keep in mind that the design would only be able to work enough energy in space, in a completely frictionless environment.