“Using existing rocket fuels, it’s nearly impossible for humans to explore much beyond Earth,” said John Slough, a UW research associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics.
“We are hoping to give us a much more powerful source of energy in space that could eventually lead to making interplanetary travel commonplace.”
The Fusion Drive Rocket compresses lithium or aluminium bands around a fuel pellet made of deuterium-tritium to produce propulsion.
Simulations of the engine suggest that the result force could move the spacecraft at 30 km per second.
Unfortunately current material technology wouldn’t allow spacecraft to go full beans for long before G-force would damage not just the ship but its occupants.
The practical upshot of the new engine means that it could travel to Mars, widely regarded as mankind’s next stop in the space exploration.
As the engine would work using magnetism the wear on it would be fairly minor, allowing it travel colosal distances.
It would also be much cheaper than conventional engines, as the rocket it would be fired into space on could afford to be considerably smaller.
But don’t pack your space bags just yet, while the project is one of just ten projects to receive special funding, the team have yet to prove their concept could work.