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How has Earth's core stayed as hot as the sun's surface for billions of years? - Space.com

How has Earth's core stayed as hot as the sun's surface for billions of years? - Space.com

How has Earth's core stayed as hot as the sun's surface for billions of years? - Space.com
Jan 24, 2023 1 min, 0 secs

It has been believed that Hall thrusters, an efficient kind of electric propulsion widely used in orbit, must be large to produce a lot of thrust.

Now, a new study from the University of Michigan suggests that smaller Hall thrusters can generate much more thrust—potentially making them candidates for interplanetary missions.

"People had previously thought that you could only push a certain amount of current through a thruster area, which in turn translates directly into how much force or thrust you can generate per unit area," said Benjamin Jorns, U-M associate professor of aerospace engineering who led the new Hall thruster study to be presented at the AIAA SciTech Forum in National Harbor, Maryland, today.

However, calculations suggested that if a Hall thruster tried to drive more propellant through the engine, the electrons whizzing in a ring would get knocked out of the formation, breaking down that "buzz saw" function.

So it's very cool and an interesting path forward to see that we can actually improve krypton's performance relative to xenon by increasing the thruster current density," Su said.

More information: Leanne L. Su et al, Operation and Performance of a Magnetically Shielded Hall Thruster at Ultrahigh Current Densities, AIAA SCITECH 2023 Forum(2023).

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