Creating a Multi-Stage Ionic Thruster

Originally published at: Creating a Multi-Stage Ionic Thruster | Boing Boing

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Watching this, I couldn’t help but wonder if this were on Jackass, what fleshy body parts would those guys stick in there. The stills are amazing.


Before anyone gets too excited, all-new thrust paradigms always have deal killers (which is why we aren’t already flying in planes powered by these). His little demo gadget requires a four kilowatt power supply. Power supply weight has the unfortunate habit of scaling by the inverse cube of the power output, so to make this big enough to move anything, you’d need a good sized nuclear reactor on board. An even larger one than when they did try build nuclear powered planes using much more efficient electric turbojets back in the 1950s.

This project is super neat and I’m glad he’s demonstrating these principles to a wide audience, but people get really caught up in science-fiction-y things like this and also the idea that a YouTuber is somehow going to develop some new revolutionary thing that changes the world. Both of those things undermine public faith in science by creating unrealistic expectations and trivializing the large teams of people and decades of effort it takes to discover new things.


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