New space probe could propel itself using steam

This new spacecraft could extract water from asteroids or water and convert it into steam to refuel itself.


NSFW    ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Scientists are building a space probe that could extract water from asteroids and travel indefinitely in space.

Researchers from the University of Central Florida have developed a spacecraft that could generate steam for propulsion by extracting water from asteroids or other planets.

The project is a collaboration between NASA, the University of Central Florida and Honey Bee Robotics, according to the University of Central Florida's news release.

The spacecraft is called the World Is Not Enough, or WINE, and would be the size of a microwave oven.

The probe would extract water from other terrestrial planets and use deployable solar panels to create enough energy to generate steam.

The space probe would then be able to visit places with low gravity and water such as the Moon, Pluto and Europa to refuel and mine.

Theoretically speaking, the space probe could go on to explore space "forever," the press release states, as long as it doesn't run out of fuel.

In the university's news release, Phil Metzger, UCF's planetary research scientist said: "WINE was designed to never run out of propellant so [that] exploration will be less expensive."

The team is currently seeking partners to continue creating the space probe.

SOURCES: University of Central Florida News release, New Atlas
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