Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Next Big Future (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

NASA NIAC Solar Electric Space Sail that would be nine times faster than Voyager One

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

NASA NIAC has funded another solar electric space sail project called Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS).

Nextbigfuture has had dozens of articles on the electric space sail technology and projects to develop that technology for using the solar wind to propel spacecraft.

The motivation for this technology comes from the Heliophysics Decadal Survey. The Heliophysics Decadal Survey, Section states in part; “… recent in situ measurements by the Voyagers, combined with all-sky heliospheric images from IBEX and Cassini, have made outer-heliospheric science one of the most exciting and fastest-developing fields of heliophysics… The proposed Interstellar Probe Mission would make comprehensive, state-of-the-art, in situ measurements…required for understanding the nature of the outer heliosphere and exploring our local galactic environment.” It goes on to say, “The main technical hurdle is propulsion. Advanced propulsion options should aim to reach the Heliopause considerably faster than Voyager 1 (3.6 AU/year)… It has high priority for the Solar and Heliospheric Physics (SHP) Panel that NASA develops the necessary propulsion technology for visionary missions like The Solar Polar Imager (SPI) and Interstellar Probe to enable the vision in the coming decades.” The concept proposed herein has been named the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) by the MSFC proposing team. The HERTS is a revolutionary propellant-less propulsion concept that is ideal for deep space missions to the outer planets, Heliopause, and beyond. It is unique in that it uses momentum exchange from naturally occurring solar wind protons to propel a spacecraft within the heliosphere. The propulsion system consists of an array of electrically biased wires that extend outward 10 to 30 km from a rotating spacecraft This idea has been explored and recently published in the open literature—primarily by Pekka Janhunen of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). This past year, MSFC’s Advanced Concepts Office (ACO) performed a top level feasibility study of this concept and determined that the HERTS system can accelerate a spacecraft to velocities as much as three to four times that possible by any realistic extrapolation of current state-of-the-art propulsion technologies—including solar electric and solar sail propulsion systems. Moreover, it can be reasonably expected that this system could be developed within a decade and provide meaningful Heliophysics Science in the 2025-2030 timeframe. Physical Principles: The basic principle on which the HERTS operates is the exchange of momentum between an array of long electrically biased wires and the solar wind protons, which flow radially away from the sun at speeds ranging from 300 to 700 km per second. A high-voltage, positive bias on the wires, which are oriented normal to the solar wind flow, deflects the streaming protons, resulting in a reaction force on the wires—also directed radially away from the sun. Over periods of months, this small force can accelerate the spacecraft to enormous speeds—on the order of 100-150 km per second (~ 20 to 30 AU per year). The proposed HERTS can provide the unique ability to explore the Heliopause and the extreme outer solar system on timescales of less than a decade. It is significantly more effective than any other near-to-mid-term propulsion system for deep space missions, meshes well with heliospheric science payloads, and could be implemented in the 2025-2030 timeframe. The Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS) fully supports NASA’s vision to “lead advances in space” by providing a revolutionary, in-space propulsion system that can open the frontier of Heliophysics to new discovery. With the performance and benefits of a HERTS mission, the Heliospheric physics community will have at its disposal the ability to carry out Heliophysics missions with one-way Earth to Heliopause trip times of less than 10 years. This study is a necessary step between a scientific dream and engineering development.

Read more »


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.