Jet propulsion is thrust produced by passing a jet of matter (typically air or water) in the opposite direction to the direction of motion. By conservation of momentum, the moving body is propelled in the opposite direction to the jet.
A number of animals, including cephalopods, sea hares, arthropods, and fish have convergently evolved jet propulsion mechanisms. This is most commonly used in the jet engine, but is also the means of propulsion utilized by NASA to power various space craft.
A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet of fluid to generate thrust by jet propulsion and in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets and pump-jets. In general, most jet engines are internal combustion engines but non-combusting forms also exist.
Jet propulsion in cephalopods is produced by water being exhaled through a siphon, which typically narrows to a small opening to produce the maximum exhalent velocity. The water passes through the gills prior to exhalation, fulfilling the dual purpose of respiration and locomotion. Sea hares (gastropod molluscs) employ a similar means of jet propulsion, but without the sophisticated neurological machinery of cephalopods they navigate somewhat more clumsily.
Scallops and cardiids, siphonophores, tunicates (such as salps), and some jellyfish also employ jet propulsion. The most efficient jet-propelled organisms are the salps, which use an order of magnitude less energy (per kilogram per metre) than squid.
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