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Boeing Secures Patent For Futuristic Laser-Powered Jet Engine

Boeing has protected a concept for a new kind of jet propulsion system that draws more from science fiction than proven science.

A Xenon laser-powered jet engine sounds more like Star Trek than reality, but a new patent obtained by Boeing gives a glimpse of a future that might look a lot like Star Trek. Patent number US 9068562B1 promises a new sort of jet engine that future generations may use for both interplanetary and earthbound travel.

The laser-powered propulsion system won’t be coming to a space station or an airport near you anytime soon. ARS Technica describes the working engine system as “Lasers fuse hydrogen, causing uranium to fission, which generates electricity.” Sounds simple enough, but the science behind the high-concept jet propulsion system is well beyond the capabilities that exist today.

Experts and patent attorneys insist the futuristic Boeing engine could revolutionize the aerospace industry — in theory. In practice, however, the complicated engine system relies on reactions that are extraordinarily difficult to produce with consistent results. Technica refers to the recently patented propulsion system as “outlandish” and “truly impossible” but allows that the design might someday become a reality if scientific knowledge catches up with science fiction.

Someday, passengers may be visiting distant planets or traveling the globe in a craft powered by fusion, fission and Xenon lasers, but there are more than a few complications that need to be sorted first, namely figuring out how to create consistent and predicable fission and fusion reactions with a Xenon laser and perhaps more importantly, ensuring the safety of a nuclear reaction onboard a flying vehicle.

[Photo: Patent Yogi]

Comments are Closed.
MaxVO July 16, 2015

US Patent office now does side gigs for Boeing's publicity department? Sad day for the once venerable government agency.

nitbix July 16, 2015

How are they allowed to patent something that is based on "science that doesn't exist"? I might as well file a patent for a plasma gun that captures ghosts then...

bricksoft July 15, 2015

"new sort of jet engine that future generations may use for both interplanetary and earthbound travel." If its used for interplanetary then its not a jet. Jets only work in an atmosphere.