October 15th, 2014

UW fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal University of Washington

The UW’s reactor, called the dynomak, started as a class project taught by Thomas Jarboe two years ago. After the class ended, Jarboe and doctoral student Derek Sutherland – who previously worked on a reactor design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – continued to develop and refine the concept.
The design builds on existing technology and creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur, allowing the hot plasma to react and burn. The reactor itself would be largely self-sustaining, meaning it would continuously heat the plasma to maintain thermonuclear conditions. Heat generated from the reactor would heat up a coolant that is used to spin a turbine and generate electricity, similar to how a typical power reactor works.
“This is a much more elegant solution because the medium in which you generate fusion is the medium in which you’re also driving all the current required to confine it,” Sutherland said.

April 8th, 2013

Rocket powered by nuclear fusion could send humans to Mars University of Washington

Human travel to Mars has long been the unachievable dangling carrot for space programs. Now, astronauts could be a step closer to our nearest planetary neighbor through a unique manipulation of nuclear fusion, the same energy that powers the sun and stars.
University of Washington researchers and scientists at a Redmond-based space-propulsion company are building components of a fusion-powered rocket aimed to clear many of the hurdles that block deep space travel, including long times in transit, exorbitant costs and health risks.

October 15th, 2004

New propulsion concept could make 90-day Mars round trip possible University of Washington

A new means of propelling spacecraft being developed at the University of Washington could dramatically cut the time needed for astronauts to travel to and from Mars and could make humans a permanent fixture in space.
In fact, with magnetized-beam plasma propulsion, or mag-beam, quick trips to distant parts of the solar system could become routine, said Robert Winglee, a UW Earth and space sciences professor who is leading the project.

April 18th, 2002

UW students to send mice to space University of Washington

Students from the University of Washington have won a place on a team that plans to launch mice into space, seeking answers to the little-explored question of how Martian gravity affects mammals. The UW aeronautics and astronautics students will work with fellow students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Queensland in Australia to build the Translife Mars Gravity Biosatellite, a spacecraft capable of carrying the mice in orbit for nearly two months under simulated Martian gravity, then landing them safely back on Earth. The mission will feature several firsts, including the first birth of mammals in space. The Mars Society, a private organization that promotes the exploration and settlement of Mars, officially announced the team today, after having hosted a competition to determine the best concept for a spacecraft to undertake the endeavor.

June 8th, 2001

Astrobiology Conference University of Washington

The University of Washington’s Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution is hosting an exciting conference at the dawn of the new field of Astrobiology. The purpose of this conference is to bring together experts to discuss Astrobiology’s fundamental principles, past accomplishments, latest scientific results, and future research and technological directions. Rather than the usual proceedings, the conference will produce a graduate student level textbook invaluable to the overall development of the field: Astrobiology: The University of Washington Lectures. The book will be a high-level, interdisciplinary introduction to the origin and evolution of life on Earth, the geological, physical and chemical conditions that have spawned and sustained life, and the detection of extant and extinct life on other planets and moons.

August 16th, 1999

New spacecraft propulsion method could be out of this solar system University of Washington

It sounds like a “droid” straight out of Star Wars. That’s not a coincidence because a new propulsion system dubbed M2P2 can greatly boost spacecraft speeds, perhaps to 10 times the velocity of the space shuttle, University of Washington scientists believe.

April 21st, 1999

Sundial will mark passage of days, seasons on Mars University of Washington

You could call it Martian Standard Time. The new “time zone” takes effect in January 2002 when a sundial designed and assembled at the University of Washington lands on the red planet aboard NASA’s 2001 Mars Surveyor.