It’s not fiction! Electric vehicle fashion has reached space!

To travel great distances in space, it is more important to have a head than strength. In fact, there are no inexhaustible reserves of energy available and you have to play with everything you have at hand. Now the space probe Psyche will have to rely on electric propulsion to reach the asteroid cluster between Mars and Jupiter. The goal of this quest is a metal-rich asteroid, also known as the psyche. It’s basically the debut of electric vehicles in space!

It’s not fiction! Electric vehicle fashion has reached space!

electrical room
Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech

The photo shared by the Scitechdaily website shows, on the left, an electric thruster identical to the one that will power NASA’s new spacecraft, which will be launched in August 2022. However, the photo on the right shows the same engine but not in operation. The photo on the left is from NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory, while the photo on the right is from the space giant’s Glenn Research Center.

These engines will first be used in lunar orbit. Because the idea is that everything is well tested and the real advantages of this system are understandable.

electrical room

Launched next year, the spacecraft is not only characterized by its super-efficient propulsion mode, but also by its many solar panels that capture sunlight and then convert it into electricity to bring these thrusters to life.

But is it all purely electric?

No. The engines convert xenon, a neutral gas found in car lights and some televisions, into xenon ions. When they are accelerated out of the engine, they create a kind of jet that displaces the spacecraft.

electrical room
Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Despite the use of gas, it can be considered an electric vehicle because the energy for the motor comes from solar panels rather than chemical reactions that are present in large rockets. In fact, this particular engine is nine times more efficient than previous ones used on planetary missions. That is the great advantage of electrification. It is possible to achieve more with a certain number of masses.

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