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Saturday Morning Physics
Into the Future with Plasma Rocketry: The Intriguing World of Electric Propulsion
Plasma propulsion includes those rocket engine systems that accelerate charged particles for the purpose of thrust production. Plasma thrusters are mission enabling, making it possible to realize deep space science missions that would otherwise be impossible from a practical implementation standpoint using conventional chemical rockets. We will explore the inner workings of these clever devices, delving into the basic physics of operation and commenting upon the current state of the art. The role that these engines have played aboard communications satellites and on key space science missions to date as well as the role that these engines are expected to play in the robotic exploration of the solar system and beyond will also be discussed. Finally, the evolution of these engines from their present state to their “sci fi” cousins for applications supporting human spaceflight will also be highlighted.
All talks are free and refreshments will be served. Visitor parking for the seminars (Central Campus) is across the street from the Dennison Building in the U-M Church Street structure. There is a $2.00 parking charge implemented by U-M Parking Services.
For more information regarding the Saturday Morning Physics series, see the Physics Department website, or call 734.764.4437