A prototype of an incredible interplanetary spaceship World Is Not Enough (WINE) that uses steam finished its first test. It successfully mined material from a simulated asteroid, made its fuel from it and started.
When it comes to spaceflight, one of the key problems is fuel. Any ship can maneuver only so long as it has something to keep it going. So what if such a ship mined its fuel on objects that can be found in our solar system?
Such a ship is being worked on by Phil Metzger from the University of Central Flory in combination with a private company Honeybee Robotics from Pasadena. Their collaboration recently created a spaceship prototype that is called World Is Not Enough (WINE). This spaceship is capable of mining water from asteroids (and similar objects) and use a steam engine to fly to another object.
The University of Central Flora provided the experiment with the material for the simulated asteroid and Metger was in charge of computer modeling and simulations. The prototype of the engine was provided by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida. And this New Year’s Eve the prototype was tested.
WINE successfully mined material from the simulated asteroid, transformed it into fuel and started using this fuel. Metger believes that this or similar technology could allow us to fly to the Moon, Ceres, Europa, asteroids and to many other places where you can find water and the gravity isn’t that high.
The development of self-sustaining space ships that can refuel on their own could have a huge impact on the future of exploration of the Solar system. At this moment a mission ends once the ship is out of fuel. But if you never run out of fuel, that changes the rules completely.