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Subject Researchers working on Star Trek-style fusion impulse engines
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Original Message The University of Alabama's Aerophysics Research Center, NASA, Boeing, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are all getting together to develop an "impulse engine" that's powered in part by "dilithium crystals."

Here's how the scientists describe their own research:

"Star Trek fans love it, especially when we call the concept an impulse drive, which is what it is. The fusion fuel we're focusing on is deuterium [a stable isotope of hydrogen] and Li6 [a stable isotope of the metal lithium] in a crystal structure. That's basically dilithium crystals we're using."

In reality (that is, in Star Trek), dilithium is not quite the same as lithium-6 (which would be, uh, hexalithium?), and also, dilithium regulates the matter/antimatter reaction in the warp drive, not the impulse drive

And as for speed, the impulse engine may be able to propel a spacecraft at up to 62,600 miles per hour. This is quite fast, although not up to Star Trek's definition of full impulse, which (depending on who you ask) is probably somewhere between 16 and 17 million miles per hour.

Read article here: [link to dvice.com]
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