Vimanas Used Quicksilver

Mercury Vapor Propulsion

Apparently, a person doesn't need to be a rocket scientist to receive insights into the realities of rocket science:   just a little imagination and logic and an internet connection.   Such is the case with this humble author.
    When I read the passage from the Ramayana that referred to flying machines (Vimanas) that navigated at great heights with the aid of quicksilver, I checked first with my dictionary to be sure that quicksilver was indeed mercury.   The only way I could connect mercury with any kind of energy was the mercury vapor such as is used in those powerful lamps.   However, I had no educational background to tell me that it could be used as rocket fuel in any way.   That's where the internet comes in.   By simply linking “mercury vapor” and “propulsion” in Google, corroborating sites pop into view. Here are a few of them:


Robert H. Frisbee
“The DC Electron-bombardment (EB) ion thruster was first operated in the laboratory in 1960 at NASA LeRC.   With high efficiency (50-75%) and high specific impulse (2,500-10,000 lbf-s/lbm, the electron-bombardment ion thruster offers significant increases in payload, and reductions in trip time and initial mass, enabling lower cost, faster planetary missions.   EB ion thrusters produce thrust by accelerating a beam of positive ions through an electrostatic field to high velocity.
Mercury vapor was used as propellant in laboratory tests for over 20 years and was successfully used in two flight experiments.   Environmental concerns regarding mercury handling resulted in mercury being replaced by xenon in ion engine development programs throughout the world.”

Ion Rockets

Dr. David P. Stern
“The ion rocket is another means of providing thrust, more gradually but also more efficiently than a conventional rocket.   The material ejected here is xenon, a heavy inert gas, compressed inside strong containers (mercury vapor was also considered).   As in the nuclear rocket, the energy which propels the xenon jet comes from a different source; here it is electrical energy from solar cells.”


By Jerry E. Bayles
Thoughts About Ancient UFO Style Craft and Their Propulsion Systems

“The second thought is that there exists references to ancient craft supposedly related to the lost continent of Atlantis and India that created a charged vapor circulating over the surface of a craft, (which incidentally was made out of many types of metal that formed some strong alloy unknown to us today), and whose surface glowed brightly in the atmosphere.   The crafts primary drive supposedly used the metal Mercury in a closed system that heated the Mercury to a high heat.   This vapor was set into oscillation through a set of coils wound in caduceus fashion.   (Wrapped around each other like two snakes, the heads pointing at each other.)”

IEEE History Center

“William Le Roy Emmet was an American electrical engineer.   Emmet made significant contributions to ac power systems including the design of large rotary converters which were used widely to convert transmitted ac power to direct current needed for the manufacture of aluminum, electric railways, and other applications.   Emmet worked to equip battleships with turboelectric drives.   Emmet devoted a great deal of time and energy to the development and promotion of mercury vapor turbine, 'as a more efficient power generation system than steam turbines.'   A few mercury turbines were installed as a result of his efforts but the difficulties and risks in using the new technology led to termination of the development after retirement.   He died in Erie, Pennsylvania, on September 26, 1941, at age 82.”
This site gives additional info to the above.

Engineering of IPS

“In electron bombardment sources, ions are formed by collisions with electrons.   A thermal filament emits electrons and a magnetic field causes them to move in a helical path until they finally collide with a propellant atom.   These collisions either produce a single ion or an ion and an electron.   This electron will then take part in another collision.   A strong electric field moves the ionized propellant particles towards the exit of the engine while the neutral propellant particles remain to be ionized.   Propellants used with this method of ionization generally need to have a low ionization potential and a high atomic weight.   Mercury vapor, cesium vapor, and some noble gas are suitable for use.
Electrostatic propulsion engines require an easily ionized, relatively heavy and gaseous propellant.   Cesium vapor and mercury vapor are often used but must be prepared before using by vaporization.   In addition, some noble gases are also employed. ”

Credit: NASA Deep Space I Archives


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