Power And Energy

Space Power

Now that Biosphere II is testing the ability of a completely enclosed human/plant ecosystem to support itself, with the landing on Mars in mind, we need to think seriously about real space power. The limitations of our present energy and propulsion technology become apparent when one examines the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle attached to its fully fueled booster weighs 4.5 million pounds at liftoff. However, its payload capacity is 65,000 pounds, which is only 1.5% of its weight. Even more astonishing than this is the fact that the 3 million pounds of weight is lost in the attempt to deliver that 65,000 pound payload [13]. In other words, about 70% of its total weight is left behind! Although the attempt is made to recover the booster cylinders, even with their leaky seals, we still must examine the cost to the taxpayer for such a wasteful propulsion system. Moreover, NASA experts agree, we will never get to Mars or to the rest of the solar system, with such a primitive technology.

Solar, chemical and thermal energy sources power a spacecraft during its mission. All of the energy conversions that are needed in a modern spacecraft create energy losses that must be dissipated. The chief danger of any electrical energy system in space, especially in low earth orbit, is the space plasma of ionized gases that causes arcing and voltage breakdown at a threshold of only 800 volts. This is a serious limitation on the space station voltage as well as an interplanetary spacecraft. Skylab was designed around a 100 volt DC system while the Space Shuttle is entirely designed around a 24 volt DC environment [13]. Some NCET inventions are compatible with space power requirements.

Energy Conversion

The various methods of energy conversion are summarized in the Energy Input and Output Technologies chart from the textbook, Space

Power (a copy of the chart is available from the Institute). We see no conversion method for chemical to mechanical and vice versa. We also do not see gravitational, tachyon or magnetic field energy listed. Are there reasons for giving such non-conventional energy any consideration? A brief tutorial will help illustrate the possibilities:

In most generators and motors the armature magnets are electromagnets. An electromagnet requires electricity and therefore energy to produce its magnetic field. It normally has some electrical resistance which requires a dissipation of energy per time. This energy per time or power (i.e. "watts") is then maintained for a period of time which gives us the product of power and time or work (i.e. "kilowatt-hours"). This last definition of work, however, is equal to energy). In other words, we conclude that Energy = Work. Whether it is mechanical, thermal, fluidic, nuclear, electromagnetic, or gravitational energy, once the source and sink are connected through our transducer (i.e., generator), energy is harnessed for useful work.


Now, to produce a continuous, nondissipative, macroscopic flow of electrons, and therefore a perpetual magnetic field, we can simply cryogenically cool an electrical circuit, made of the appropriate metals, until it is superconductive. Today, the temperature for that transition is getting closer to room temperature each day with new breakthroughs in superconductive materials. Below the point of transition, the voltage supply can be disconnected and the perpetual motion of the electrons is established as the current continues to flow. Magnetic fields created in such a manner have been maintained for several years with no further input of energy. In Buffalo, New York, Roswell Park Memorial Institute has a few superconducting magnets that were energized in the late 1970's and have not required re- energizing since then. Varian As sociates, who manufactures the superconducting magnets, expected to sell a lot of electrical energizers with their magnets but the magnets have been behaving much better than anticipated. The basic circuit diagram that achieves perpetual motion, thanks to superconductivity, is a single loop where is the battery starting the current in the loop is switched out of the circuit once energized.

Spinning Electrons Create Ferromagnetism

Why does this superconducting circuit work so well? It simply reproduces nature's perpetual motion existing in every atom. The proof of this is the permanent magnet which maintains its constant magnetic field without an external input of energy. Suspend one ring magnet above another on a pencil (opposite polarities). Ask yourself, "What is providing the source of energy to continuously defy gravity and produce levitation?" It is the perpetual motion of the electrons from quantum mechanics and Pauli's exclusion principle, which has been called a force of nature by many physicists. Specifically, it is the spinning motion of the electron which is the major contributor to normal magnetism (over 95% of it), also called ferromagnetism. The orbiting motion of an electron, around the nucleus, contributes only to diamag-netism, opposing an external magnetic field [14].

High Temperature Superconductivity

In regards to a non-conventional approach to this subject, Ronald Bour-goin's patented process for drawing bismuth filaments that exhibit properties approaching superconductivity was the subject of his presen-

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