A team of researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara has proposed a new method to propel probes into deep space using a beam of pellets. The technique involves firing a beam of small pellets, each about the size of a grain of sand, at a probe to create a burst of energy that would propel it forward.
According to the team, the method could potentially solve one of the biggest challenges in deep space exploration: how to efficiently and cost-effectively send probes beyond our solar system.
“We wanted to find a way to get a spacecraft up to a very high speed using a method that doesn’t require a lot of propellant,” said Philip Lubin, a professor of physics at UCSB and one of the authors of the study. “And that’s what led us to the idea of using a beam of pellets.”Continue reading… “How a Beam of Pellets Could Blast a Probe Into Deep Space”