Tech from Singularity’s Children: Magneto-Plasma Propulsion



In my Singularity’s Children books, huge Sky Whales and floating party dirigibles use electrohydrodynamic (EHD) thrusters to generate lift and thrust. I imagine these a silent and ethereal, a near-future alternative to anti-gravity.

The tech is not pure ScFi, there are already ion-drives operating in space, but their use for atmospheric propulsion is still a way off.

A bit of background: Jet engines create thrust by burning vaporized fuel in compressed air. The combustion creates a controlled explosion which drives air out the back generating thrust to push the aircraft forward, while also turning the intake compressor to grab up more air.

Magneto-Plasma thrusters, on the other hand, use electricity to produce an ionized gas (plasma) and accelerate it with electric or magnetic fields up to extreme velocities. They frugally create thrust from a small amount of propellant traveling very fast.

These super-efficient engines are currently confined to vacuum, e.g. station keeping satellites or propelling interplanetary probes, but I was super interested to read that the first atmospheric, air-breathing, magneto-plasma jet engine has been successfully prototyped.

The European Space Agency has just demoed similar technology for operating at the edges of the atmosphere, sucking in and ionizing air rather than carrying propellant.

As I have mentioned before, writing near-future SciFi is a real race against reality!!

 

 

Elon Musk at SXSW


I love listening to Elon. I know why people hate him too; its because he says a lot of crazy things which they find scary. It makes them feel better to say he’s all talk… but this guy is the real deal!

“Right now the biggest thing that would be helpful is support and encouragement, goodwill,” Musk said.
Well, you’ve got mine buddy!! 🙂

 Video Link: http://engt.co/2DjMQ8G
Elon at SXSW – well worth a watch.

Banning N!



Those of you who have read my Singularity’s Children books will know I have a dissident group called Nebulous, often abbreviated to N—an Anonymous inspired techno/eco/hacker collective, allied with Niato’s New Atlantis. They play a major role in Book Three.

Seems like China has been reading the series and has found it a little too close for comfort…

China just banned the letter N from the internet!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/28/china-bans-the-letter-n