Advanced Space Propulsion
The current method being
developed at the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory is a Monte-Carlo
particle dynamics simulation. The efficient computer code developed
in the lab is capable to calculate millions of particle trajectories
within hours. It allows computers to get accurate self-consistent
data on plasma density, temperature and velocity. The use of the
particle code together with ion cyclotron radio frequency simulation
code developed in Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrates efficient
heating of the plasma by radio frequency waves.
the magnetostatic case, the simulations demonstrate plasma detachment
from the magnetic field lines, the capability of the simplest magnetic
nozzle to reduce axial plasma momentum loss and the capability for
magnetic shielding from a solar flare.
Extensive studies of plasma
flows on the plasma rocket are being conducted by several collaborators.
Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology centers on a kinetic
approach. The collaborators from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory
utilize fluid approach by using a code for calculation of Radio
Frequency Electromagnetic Field.
The University of Texas at Austin team explores the fundamental
physics of the plasma in order to optimize a parameter space.
The University of Maryland investigators possess experience, specialized
algorithms and software for plasma simulation based on Fluid Dynamic
and Kinetic methods. Periodically plasma rocket researchers meet
to discuss theoretical and simulation
aspects of the research.