mass driver
Outer Space / Technology

A linear motor-driven catapult used for transporting materials. Located on the Moon, its acceleration system allows its payloads to reach escape velocity and break free from the Moon's gravity, making it an economical way to transport Lunar minerals and other materials out into space.

There are 2 components to the mass driver – the guideway and the buckets. The guideway contains a series of wire propulsion coils positioned along its surface, and the buckets, or the capsules that carry the payloads until they reach the end of the guideway, contain levitation coils underneath them. The bottom of the buckets are also outfitted with superconductive magnets, with an alternating current sent through both them and the guideway. The strong repellant force of the electromagnetic field created is used to accelerate the buckets along the guideway; as the bucket nears the center of a propulsion coil, the coil is switched off and the next one switched on, until the bucket reaches the end of the guideway, at which point it releases its payload out into space at a speed of just over 1.5 miles per second. Since the mass driver does not require any type of fuel, such as liquid hydrogen or liquid oxygen, its operating costs are much lower than a rocket-based system.