A team of researchers from Cornell University are looking to create a system that will let them use water as a fuel source for space exploration.
This new type of propulsion system will then be used to power a CubeSat that will orbit the Moon, as a demonstration of the efficiency of the system.
To understand how it all works, it is important to note that water is being used as a fuel here, not as the actual source of propulsion.
Instead, the researchers plan to break down the water directly in space, in order to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen and then burn them together.
The system will use solar energy to generate the electricity required to power the Electrolysis Process, which is what breaks down the water in the first place.
Systems like this have already been tested in Hydrogen Cars, but those systems don’t really generate hydrogen in real time, rather rely completely on stored hydrogen reserves.
By conducting electrolysis in real time, they will also save a lot of space that would otherwise have to be dedicated towards storing the hydrogen produced.
Not to mention the fact that since the only thing that will be stored for an extended period of time is water, the researchers also reduce the risks generally associated with having fuel aboard a spacecraft.
In fact, between the water available on earth, as well as that found on asteroids and other planets, we can expect this new fuel system to be highly self sustaining, as long as it’s supplemented by other Water Production Systems.
We just hope that this system becomes a reality soon, so that we could see the adoption of a safer, healthier and more environment friendly way of Space Exploration within our lifetime.