24 August 2009
New NASA rocket fuel 'could be made on Moon, Mars'
Exploding toothpaste to bring astronauts home
By Lewis Page
Posted in Physics, 24th August 2009 10:46 GMT
NASA, in a joint venture with US air force boffins, has tested a new kind of rocket fuel which "has the consistency of toothpaste" and could potentially be manufactured off-planet in remote space outposts. Its inventors say it is also less environmentally damaging than some current rocket fuels when used within Earth's atmosphere, and could be more powerful too.
The new wonder-paste is composed of aluminium powder and
ordinary water ice, and is known as Al-ice or ALICE. The
clever bit is that the aluminium powder is extremely fine - "nanoscale"
fine - giving it much greater surface area and letting it
react with the water much more vigorously. The vid above,
courtesy of Purdue university, explains in more detail.