I have seen an interesting claim raised on my CotI Hard Space thread
I have had an idea that could make plasma rockets much more efficient - I call it the coronal engine.
One of the great mysteries of the sun is why its corona is way hotter than its surface - the smart money is there being a magnetic induction mechanism being involved.
So what if we use really powerful electromagnets to heat our plasma - we still need to learn the mechanism from studying the sun - and then chuck it out of the back of our rocket. We would need to use electromagnetic and electrostatic forces to contain and direct the plasma.
Outcome - much higher exhaust velocities, more efficient use of fuel, higher achievable thrust without the need for ship sized fusion reactors.
A fusion rocket may be possible using magnetic constriction and magnetic fields to direct the fusing plasma, but you will need a fission power plant to provide the energy to power the magnets and initiate the partial fusion. I'm not even convinced you will need to achieve fusion, there is definitely a mechanism whereby hydrogen plasma can be heated to millions of degrees involving magnetism - the Sun's corona is proof of that.
What is your opinion on this?
_________________We are but a tiny candle flickering against the darkness of our times.
Stellagama Publishing - Visit our Blog, Den of the Lizard King