Known as the Neumann Drive, the radical ion engine could one day go to Mars and back on a single tank of fuel.

World-leading research from the University of Sydney and a former student, now set to test his invention in space.

Above, ion thruster.  Credit NASA

The announcement comes weeks after research reporting a world record specific impulse – a measure of thrust efficiency, like miles per gallon – was published by a graduate and two professors at the University of Sydney.

Meet Dr Paddy Neumann as he walks us through his lab setup, and how he got his data for the Neumann drive:


Dr Neumann said:

“Our modelling suggests that our pricing would be competitive with other ion drives currently on the market, as our system can be built from current, commercially available components and does not require expensive alloys or finely constructed fuel tanks.

We also believe that our system can solve many issues in space propulsion, allowing small space vehicles to do more with less.

I’ve known for years that what exists in space can be used to help humanity extend its reach to the stars, while helping people on Earth with weather prediction, communications, mapping, agricultural observations, tracking wildfires and other problems.”