Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Splitting Helium 2
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

In regard to, "splitting the Helium atom", would it be possible by fission to split the helium atom into two hydrogen isotopes, specifically tritium and/or deuterium; then fuse the two isotopes into helium thus ma process. Could this be used, if possible, as a new power source for space propulsion (channeling the new formed energy as thrust)?

Neat idea. Unfortunately, what you break apart can only regain for you the original energy upon fusing. There would be no energy source except for the source you used to break helium apart. The fission reaction would be one of many possible if your initial probe had enough energy to break apart the helium. This would take quite a bit since Helium is tightly bound.

samuel p bowen

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory