Fueling in the Future
If man is to visit a planet outside the earth solar system, then he would need a non-mechanical spacecraft as we know it. An example of a mechanical spacecraft is the space shuttle. This article deals with a mechanical spacecraft, as we know it. In order for a spacecraft to move in space it needs fuel. In this article I explain how such fuel should be got in future.
Fuel for Satellite
A satellite is like in constant speed round the earth moving at the same rate that the earth rotates. The satellite does not need much fuel to move in this way. The moon moves round the earth; the moon does not need any fuel for this. For anything, like the moon or satellite, to move round the earth, it mainly needs the right initial push in the right direction. Since the satellite is artificial, it might need small fuel occasionally to keep itself in orbit.
The main fuel for the satellite is sunlight, natural and free. It is used to receive telecommunication signals (e.g. TV signals) from the earth, amplify the signals and then send them to another part of the earth. The fuel to keep it in orbit, is gas (see below).
Fuel for Moving a Spacecraft
A spacecraft sent from Earth to the Moon or from Earth to Mars, has to be changing direction in its path. An advanced spacecraft moves in different directions in space, and the resulting path does not form a straight line or in a simple circle (similar to the path of the moon). Such an advanced spacecraft needs fuel to be changing directions and to be accelerating and decelerating. It is that kind of fuel that I talk about in this article. Fuel needed to move a spacecraft about.
Gas as Fuel
In order for a spacecraft to accelerate or decelerate or change direction, it needs to send out gas in a direction corresponding to its change of movement. When a spacecraft leaves the earth today, it leaves with that gas, and as it uses the gas in space, the fuel is not replenished. In future, how would you replenish the fuel (gas) without returning to earth? That is the solution I provide in this article.
Use of Fuel in a Spacecraft
The use of fuel can be classified in two categories: fuel used to move the spacecraft about in space and fuel used to run the spacecraft. To run the spacecraft, you need fuel to light up the spacecraft in dark areas (night); you need fuel to move things about in the spacecraft; you need fuel to cook food (future) in the spacecraft. The fuel to run the spacecraft in future will come mainly from sunlight. If sunlight is not enough then it will have to be supplemented by petrochemical fuel. The fuel to move the spacecraft about is gas, not necessarily petrochemical gas; at the limit, you can use air of the earth.
Replenishing Fuel in Space
You now know the kind of fuels that a spacecraft will be using in the future. How can fuel for the spacecraft be replenished in space without getting it from earth? In space, whenever there is sunlight, sunlight fuel will be replenishing itself. That side of the problem is solved. What about gas and petrochemical or mineral fuel? Here, petrochemical and mineral fuel are in one group.
Source of Gas outside the Earth
Today, we know that certain moons and planets have gas in their atmosphere. As long as the gas is not dangerous; they can be collected and used. The problem is how efficient the gas would be. The gas can be treated. However, if the gas is not as efficient as what was carried from earth, it is still better than nothing. It is not necessary for the spacecraft to go and collect the gas from the atmosphere of the moon or planet, while on its journey; the spacecraft can send a probe.
Source of Petrochemical or Mineral Fuel
It has been discovered that some of the larger rocks (large meteors) that float in our solar system have minerals in them. Also, just as we have rain in the earth’s atmosphere, there is a planet or moon out there that has methane rain. We already know that methane is fuel. So, a spacecraft can go close to a moon, rock or planet, then send a probe to go and get fuel from the rock, moon or planet. The fuel of course will be in crude form. It can be processed in the spacecraft.
This might interest you: it is said that some of the large meteors out in space have a lot of gold.
It is possible for a spacecraft to get fuel out of the earth, in its mission (voyage). This is because fuel already exists in rocks, moons and planets in outer space (outside the earth). All the spacecraft has to do is to get the fuel and process it. You should expect this in future.