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Thread: Lightweight Iodine Thruster Could Help Solve Space Junk Problem

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Lightweight Iodine Thruster Could Help Solve Space Junk Problem

    Rocket fuel is one of the most important components of any maneuverable spacecraft.* That is also true for ion thrusters – while they donít use traditional chemical fuel, they do still need a feed source for their ion engines.* Now, a team from ThrustMe, a spinoff of the …cole Polytechnique and CNRS, has designed a …
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    The beautiful north coast (Ohio)
    I have to disagree with one of the statements in the article.

    Iodine is also less expensive, non-toxic, and much easier to handle that the noble gas it aims to replace.
    I would not classify iodine as "non-toxic" (nor would I classify xenon as toxic).

    Here is a Safety Data Sheet for iodine.
    Danger! Causes burns by all exposure routes. Harmful if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. May cause allergic skin reaction. At ordinary temperatures, iodine sublimes to a violet gas with a characteristic, irritating odor.
    Target Organs: Respiratory system, eyes, thyroid, skin.
    Of course, this is really only a problem when assembling the spacecraft, and iodine is routinely handled in many industries, but again, I would not call it "non-toxic".

    And while xenon isn't toxic, in large enough concentrations it can be a suffocation hazard (if it displaces enough oxygen in an enclosed space). Again, probably only a hazard during spacecraft assembly.
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