The Michigan Engineer News Center

Podcast: The X3 Thruster

Hear Dean Gallimore and recent PhD graduate Scott Hall discuss the X3 “Mars engine” on the new podcast “The High Five.”| Short Read
EnlargeMan adjusts settings on equipment
IMAGE:  Alec Gallimore adjusts equipment settings in the Plasmadynamics and Electric Propulsion Laboratory. Photo: Laura Rudich, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing
EnlargeStudent checks on X3 thruster
IMAGE:  Scott Hall, AERO PhD Student, checks on the X3 thruster after a test run in the Plasmadynamics & Electric Propulsion Laboratory.

Freelance journalist Scot Woods interviews Alec Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, and Scott Hall, a research engineer at NASA Glenn in Cleveland, OH, about how they came to work on plasma-based engines for space missions, how the X3 thruster works, and the possibilities it offers for NASA and human space exploration.

The new podcast, called “The High Five,” celebrates Michigan success stories.

Listen to The High Five Episode 2: The X3 Thruster on Soundcloud.

Dean Gallimore is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering.

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Man adjusts settings on equipment
Student checks on X3 thruster
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  • Alec D. Gallimore

    Alec D. Gallimore

    Robert J Vlasic Dean of Engineering and Professor of Aerospace Engineering

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read