Fusion is the holy grail of power generation, as it is capable of creating almost infinite amounts of clean energy. Although it has long remained elusive, scientists believe fusion could one day unlock mankind’s dream of scouring the Universe in the search alien life, with craft powered by space drives. However, the persistent obstacle is how it requires considerably more energy to create the fusion reactions than it produces.
Yet undeterred by fusion energy’s current unavailability, such a concept drive is already in development at Princeton’s Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).
Engineers are currently working on the second iteration of what they have dubbed the Direct Fusion Drive (DFD), known as the Princeton field reversed configuration-2 (PFRC-2).
Developers hope to one day launch their drive into space for testing, and they are increasingly confident a descendent of this cutting-edge system will one day power exploration throughout the Solar System.
Although still highly theoretical, a fully-operational engine boasts numerous advantages of aneutronic fusion, primarily an impressively high power-to-weight ratio.