Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Biggest Breakthrough In Propulsion Since The Jet Engine!

From Space Daily:

The Biggest Breakthrough In Propulsion Since The Jet Engine
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Nov 30, 2012

The SABRE engine has the potential to revolutionise lives in the 21st century in the way the jet engine did in the 20th Century.
Reaction Engines has announced the biggest breakthrough in aerospace propulsion technology since the invention of the jet engine. Critical tests have been successfully completed on the key technology for SABRE, an engine which will enable aircraft to reach the opposite side of the world in under 4 hours, or to fly directly into orbit and return in a single stage, taking off and landing on a runway.

SABRE, an air-breathing rocket engine, utilizes both jet turbine and rocket technology. Its innovative pre-cooler technology is designed to cool the incoming airstream from over 1,000C to minus 150C in less than 1/100th of a second (six times faster than the blink of an eye) without blocking with frost. The recent tests have proven the cooling technology to be frost-free at the crucial low temperature of -150C.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has evaluated the SABRE engine's pre-cooler heat exchanger on behalf of the UK Space Agency, and has given official validation to the test results: "The pre-cooler test objectives have all been successfully met and ESA are satisfied that the tests demonstrate the technology required for the SABRE engine development."

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: "This is a remarkable achievement for a remarkable company. Building on years of unique engineering know-how, Reaction Engines has shown the world that Britain remains at the forefront of technological innovation and can get ahead in the global race. This technology could revolutionise the future of air and space travel."

Well over 100 test runs, undertaken at Reaction Engines Ltd's facility in Oxfordshire, integrated the ground-breaking flight-weight cooling technology and frost control system with a jet engine and a novel helium cooling loop, demonstrating the new technologies in the SABRE engine that drive its highly innovative and efficient thermodynamic cycle.
This success adds to a series of other SABRE technology demonstrations undertaken by the company including contra-rotating turbines, combustion chambers, rocket nozzles, and air intakes and marks a major advance towards the creation of vehicles like SKYLON - a new type of reusable space vehicle that will be powered by SABRE engines, designed primarily to transport satellites and cargo into space.

Alan Bond, who founded Reaction Engines to re-build the UK's rocket propulsion industry and has led the research from the start, said: "These successful tests represent a fundamental breakthrough in propulsion technology. Reaction Engines' lightweight heat exchangers are going to force a radical re-think of the design of the underlying thermodynamic cycles of aerospace engines.

These new cycles will open up completely different operational characteristics such as high Mach cruise and low cost, re-usable space access, as the European Space Agency's validation of Reaction Engines' SABRE engine has confirmed.
The REL team has been trying to solve this problem for over 30 years and we've finally done it. Innovation doesn't happen overnight. Independent experts have confirmed that the full engine can now be demonstrated.

The SABRE engine has the potential to revolutionise our lives in the 21st century in the way the jet engine did in the 20th Century. This is the proudest moment of my life."
Dr Mark Ford, ESA's Head of Propulsion Engineering, said: "One of the major obstacles to developing air-breathing engines for launch vehicles is the development of lightweight high-performance heat exchangers. With this now successfully demonstrated by Reaction Engines Ltd, there are currently no technical reasons why the SABRE engine programme cannot move forward into the next stage of development."

Organic Materials On Mars

For Immediate Release

Curiosity's Discovery of Carbon, Chlorine on Mars a Critical First Step To Determining Origin of "Organic" Material

December, 3, 2012: Beverly, Massachusetts: Earlier today, NASA announced the first results from the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) on the Curiosity rover on Mars. While organic compounds were found in this soil sample, the NASA investigators are not yet sure whether these organics were formed on Mars. According to SAM Principal Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., "We have no definitive detection of Martian organics at this point, but we will keep looking in the diverse environments of Gale Crater."

"Those of us who have conducted missions in extreme environments - looking for evidence of living organisms where life is very scant - can totally appreciate the challenges that the MSL scientists are presented with in interpreting the SAM data that point to detection of organic compounds," said Dr. Steve McDaniel, biochemist and board member of Explore Mars. "Having said that, even where it is very difficult to detect life, with the evidence we already have about Mars, including the Viking data, ALH84001, seasonal methane plumes, ample water and other facts, it might be more scientifically prudent at this point to modify our working hypothesis from a negative slant to a positive slant and continue our experiments accordingly."
Curiosity will continue its progress toward Mount Sharp in Gale Crater over the upcoming months where it will be able to observe geological features on Mars that have never been observed before. The Curiosity team considers the base of Mount Sharp to be an extremely good location to investigate possible evidence of past or present Martian life.

Artemis Westenberg, President of Explore Mars stated, "The organic compounds that SAM measured could be something we took with us from Earth, they could be something that rained down from Outer Space onto Mars (Panspermia), or they could have formed on Mars itself. I am hopeful that the latter will turn out to have been the case, but we have to be patient to hear what the Curiosity mission will bring us next."

Explore Mars will be monitoring this mission closely and will be conducting a series of articles and programs discussing Curiosity and other Mars related topics leading up to the Humans to Mars Summit in May 2013 in Washington, DC (

Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula.

Explore Mars, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Donations to Explore Mars are tax-deductible. You can Contact us using our website or at the email .

Chris Carberry
Executive Director
Explore Mars, Inc