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(Some Guy)   We know chemical rockets are a dead end technology for space flight, will Santa bring us something better?   (zidbits.com) divider line 72
    More: Interesting, chemical rockets, solar sail, ion engines, spaceflights, Proxima Centauri, interstellar travel, speed of light, nearest stars  
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4164 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Dec 2012 at 6:13 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-23 03:08:42 PM  
No. Scientists and engineers might, though.
 
2012-12-23 03:27:27 PM  
Most of these seem to require chemical rockets to escape the gravity well. As for using nukes near earth, some people might object.
 
2012-12-23 03:44:48 PM  
If it's some of whatever he gives those frikkin reindeer, we'll be sending home cheesy tourist pictures from Alpha Centauri inside of a year
 
2012-12-23 04:14:09 PM  
hai guize whats going on in this thread?

beforeitsnews.com

/stocking stuffer
 
2012-12-23 05:30:19 PM  
I am shocked that this idea might not be exactly environmentally friendly...

Though, in fairness, it was good enough for Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle...
 
2012-12-23 06:19:14 PM  
All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!
 
2012-12-23 06:22:23 PM  
simplicimus: ALLMost of these seem to require chemical rockets to escape the gravity well.

Yeah, these are all for deep space, pretty worthless even for going to the moon. Plus this bit of ignorance: This fuel is also extremely expensive. The average cost to put the space shuttle into orbit and come back is 450 million USD per mission.

wut? About 1% of that cost was the fuel. The rest is ALL of the personnel and equipment involved, tracking stations, etc. Plus how will any alternative to "chemical rockets" change the cost of reentry?

They also mentioned nothing about approaches like white knight which significantly reduce cost to orbit, because it's all "chemical".
 
2012-12-23 06:24:59 PM  
img441.imageshack.us
/Hotter than a Dilithium crystal converter assembly
 
2012-12-23 06:28:10 PM  

hubiestubert: I am shocked that this idea might not be exactly environmentally friendly...

Though, in fairness, it was good enough for Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle...


Loved that book

/and always the first thing I think of when the subject is nuclear spacecraft
 
2012-12-23 06:39:21 PM  

Bacontastesgood: About 1% of that cost was the fuel


The nice thing about liquid oxygen and hydrogen, they're dirt cheap and unlike other rocket fuel you can produce it on site and do so with a minimum of fuss. Hell you don't need even need to bring in hydrogen and oxygen gas if you don't want to, can produce them on site as well.
 
2012-12-23 06:49:56 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!


FTL travel may or may not be possible. However, our solar system is full of resources that we can use. A near endless supply of helium-3 may be as close as the moon. Imagine a world that has advanced beyond hydrocarbon energy. The only way to continue to live on this mud ball short of reverting back to pre-industrial technology may be exploiting resources off planet. I'd say that's a pretty good reason to keep working on these technologies.
 
2012-12-23 06:58:37 PM  
FTA:

Solar sail spacecrafts became a reality when, back in May 2010, the Japanese launched the Ikaros probe. It successfully deployed its solar sails and is currently in a wide orbit around the sun. It's expected to reach Jupiter in a few years.

And dammit, the Planetary Society would have done it 5 years earlier with purely private funds if the cheapass ICBM they bought off the Russians hadn't failed.

Yeah, I know. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

On the plus side, I'm less worried about nuclear annihilation now.
 
2012-12-23 07:02:41 PM  
Hmm.. Scramjets + boost to reach orbit, then nukes to take genetically engineered post-humans* elsewhere ...?

* immortal, able to survive freeze-drying, etc
 
2012-12-23 07:10:29 PM  
Bacontastesgood:

simplicimus: ALLMost of these seem to require chemical rockets to escape the gravity well.

Yeah, these are all for deep space, pretty worthless even for going to the moon. Plus this bit of ignorance: This fuel is also extremely expensive. The average cost to put the space shuttle into orbit and come back is 450 million USD per mission.


Actually, solar sail *is* very useful for LEO-moon or LEO-Mars... As is ion-electric. The expensive part is lofting stuff out of Baikaunaur, Titusville or French Guiana. The less weight you have to get from there to 90 miles up, the cheaper it gets. You *still* need a big chunk of delta-V to get from LEO to the moon (or anywhere else, although interestingly one you're in LEO you're pretty much halfway to anywhere in the universe energywise.) If you don't need any reaction mass (jn the case of solar sails) or much less (in the case of ion engines) you've saved quite a bit that you'd otherwise have to lug up from sea level.
They're not going to give you significant acceleration, you wouldn't use it for carrying meat, but as far as cargo? They're ideal. Who cares how long it takes inert crap to get where it's going?
 
2012-12-23 07:15:59 PM  

BigBooper: Quantum Apostrophe: All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!

FTL travel may or may not be possible. However, our solar system is full of resources that we can use. A near endless supply of helium-3 may be as close as the moon. Imagine a world that has advanced beyond hydrocarbon energy. The only way to continue to live on this mud ball short of reverting back to pre-industrial technology may be exploiting resources off planet. I'd say that's a pretty good reason to keep working on these technologies.


What harvesting it might look like:
3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-12-23 07:22:56 PM  
Maybe if we took some designs from Kerbal Space Program, we could find a cheaper lifting platform to get the ultra-efficient but low thrust hardware where it can finish the job.

Heck, light enough rockets might be able to use slightly-more-efficient-than-rocket jet engines to boost them through the densest part of the atmosphere, then let the non-airbreathing rockets take over.
 
2012-12-23 07:27:30 PM  
Quantum Apostrophe:

Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!

I think we can all agree on one thing.

YOU will never live long enough to leave this place.

Other than that, not everyone is clutching their own life so tightly and thinking it's the only thing that matters.


Happy holidays! :)
 
2012-12-23 07:37:37 PM  
Well, get rid of that pesky non-proliferation-in-space treaty nonsense, and we could be sending people to the outer system already....

ut-images.s3.amazonaws.com
 
2012-12-23 07:45:10 PM  
Silly article. They make a point of it requiring a massive amount of fuel as if they would need to run the rocket constantly to make it. Then follow that with explaining how a solar sail can work because there's not really any friction.

The idea would be the same as in burn the rocket for long enough to reach a certain speed then coast. Even with a solar sail you'll need a way to slow back down which would likely be a rocket.

No matter what unless they figure out some sort of warp drive the biggest challenge is how to keep people alive and going for long enough to make it there.
 
2012-12-23 07:49:38 PM  
Guild Navigators? Yes please!
 
2012-12-23 07:50:37 PM  

Shrugging Atlas: Guild Navigators? Yes please!


The Spice must flow.
 
2012-12-23 07:54:52 PM  
Everybody fixates on the warp studies at Eagleworks, and nobody'spaying attention to the fact they are building Q-thrusters that will be tested at the ISS in the next year or two. The Q thruster is like an ion thruster that requires zero reaction mass, and though the thrust is weak, you gang a bunch of them together and let them run continuously, (as long as you have solar cells or a reactor powering them), you can build up a HELL of a delta-vee in time, and get to Mars in a Month. Jupiter in 100 days. That is AWESOME, if we can do it.
 
2012-12-23 08:13:50 PM  

Uncle Tractor: Hmm.. Scramjets + boost to reach orbit, then nukes to take genetically engineered post-humans* elsewhere ...?

* immortal, able to survive freeze-drying, etc


They sucked down my heart
to a little black hole
You cannot stab me.

They wrote down my brain
on a hard knot of space,
You cannot turn me.

Icicle spike
from the eye of a star
I've come to kill you.
 
2012-12-23 08:15:12 PM  
uh u still need chemical rockets to get into space to test the solar sails, ions, nuclear, etc... u can't solar sail off Cape Canaveral, buddy. why do people even try to write science, anymore?
 
2012-12-23 08:29:45 PM  

Any Pie Left: Everybody fixates on the warp studies at Eagleworks, and nobody'spaying attention to the fact they are building Q-thrusters that will be tested at the ISS in the next year or two. The Q thruster is like an ion thruster that requires zero reaction mass, and though the thrust is weak, you gang a bunch of them together and let them run continuously, (as long as you have solar cells or a reactor powering them), you can build up a HELL of a delta-vee in time, and get to Mars in a Month. Jupiter in 100 days. That is AWESOME, if we can do it.


I am not calling bs, but you got a link?

I would like to read up on it.
 
2012-12-23 08:41:39 PM  
I say we get Travis Taylor and friends drunk, and let's see what happens
 
2012-12-23 08:42:32 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: and always the first thing I think of when the subject is nuclear spacecraft


Were you disappointed when the big arse boosters that were just canceled were called orion?
 
2012-12-23 08:43:10 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!


if only you were half as smart as some damn rednecks
 
2012-12-23 09:01:17 PM  
BigBooper:

FTL travel may or may not be possible. However, our solar system is full of resources that we can use. A near endless supply of helium-3 may be as close as the moon.

Please stop with the HE3.

The reason I say this is because it's the easiest way for nitwits like QA to complain. I feel bad, because he probably figured it out from a comment I made a while back.

We have lots of HE3 here. It's a waste product of nuclear weapons production. The people who could do the most with it (US-DOE) have more than they can deal with. I won't say they have tons of the stuff, but they certainly have *kilograms* of the stuff, and more than enough for an experimental reactor.

*IF* helium 3 was a known, useful, over-unity source of power, the situation would take care of itself. Any corporation or government with sufficient funds would be tripping over each other to get to the moon first. We're not there yet. There are more than enough reasons to go back to the moon, but that isn't one right now. Quit it!

/ rant off.
 
2012-12-23 09:15:01 PM  
Why even bother to discuss it? The universe is 6,000 years old, Noah forgot the unicorns and Jeebus rode a dinosaur to work.
 
2012-12-23 09:30:42 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!


profile.ak.fbcdn.net
 
2012-12-23 09:30:43 PM  

maxheck: We have lots of HE3 here. It's a waste product of nuclear weapons production. The people who could do the most with it (US-DOE) have more than they can deal with. I won't say they have tons of the stuff, but they certainly have *kilograms* of the stuff, and more than enough for an experimental reactor.


They aren't making thermonukes like they used to. 3He was already getting a lot more expensive a couple of years ago when I worked in an MRI lab. It's one of the few practical polarizable gases, which makes it incredibly valuable for lung imaging -- but at thousands of dollars a GRAM, and with not too terribly many grams available, it has little future for medical applications.
 
2012-12-23 09:46:58 PM  
DORMAMU: Got a link?

Third page on this PDF:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110023492_2011 0 24705.pdf
 
2012-12-23 09:53:51 PM  
I'm just tossing this one out there: Would hydrogen or helium-3 fusion produce radioactive elements? I'm just contemplating an atmosphere full of radioactive boron from magneto-constricted fusion rockets.

I love the straightforward nature of hydrogen-oxygen rockets, but they are glorified steampunk.
 
2012-12-23 09:56:43 PM  

Any Pie Left: DORMAMU: Got a link?

Third page on this PDF:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110023492_2011 0 24705.pdf


Thnx!
 
2012-12-23 10:07:42 PM  
jfarkinB:

maxheck: We have lots of HE3 here. It's a waste product of nuclear weapons production. The people who could do the most with it (US-DOE) have more than they can deal with. I won't say they have tons of the stuff, but they certainly have *kilograms* of the stuff, and more than enough for an experimental reactor.

They aren't making thermonukes like they used to. 3He was already getting a lot more expensive a couple of years ago when I worked in an MRI lab. It's one of the few practical polarizable gases, which makes it incredibly valuable for lung imaging -- but at thousands of dollars a GRAM, and with not too terribly many grams available, it has little future for medical applications


I don't know what's meant by a polarasiable gas *yet* but I'll be looking that up, and thanks for making me look up something new... Darn you evil people who make me stretch my tiny brain!

You get the point, though... People keep saying "HE3! Hell yes!" for no reason as if it were the key to fusion, which it is not. Other people shoot it down for very *good* reasons, such as it being currently useless. There's more than enough of the stuff to feed research reactors for years, and medical uses aside (which I can't speak to,) it's nowhere near scarce enough that it'd be worth doing moon-mining. That's my complaint.
 
2012-12-23 10:25:26 PM  

Milo Minderbinder: Why even bother to discuss it? The universe is 6,000 years old, Noah forgot the unicorns and Jeebus rode a dinosaur to work.


Why is there always some dumbfark making some retarded comment like that in every science thread?
 
2012-12-23 10:28:38 PM  
I'd personally like to see what kind of logistics would be required for a rather low-tech solution to escaping Earth's gravity well: balloons. Ones filled with hydrogen to be specific, and engineered to use only that gas instead of being made for something else and using hydrogen as a last minute substitute. Anyone know some rough numbers?
 
2012-12-23 10:38:42 PM  

maxheck: I don't know what's meant by a polarasiable gas *yet* but I'll be looking that up, and thanks for making me look up something new... Darn you evil people who make me stretch my tiny brain!


Here, have some links:

Take a breath of polarized noble gas

Helium beats air for lung imaging

Potential clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging of hyperpolarized helium and xenon

The lab where I worked -- papers on hyperpolarized gas imaging are down at the lower right

You get the point, though... People keep saying "HE3! Hell yes!" for no reason as if it were the key to fusion, which it is not. Other people shoot it down for very *good* reasons, such as it being currently useless. There's more than enough of the stuff to feed research reactors for years, and medical uses aside (which I can't speak to,) it's nowhere near scarce enough that it'd be worth doing moon-mining. That's my complaint.

If it were more common, we'd be using it everywhere for lung imaging -- it's incredibly useful there. Might be using it for other imaging applications as well. Heck, if it were as common as regular 4He, we'd prefer it for balloons; it's 33% more buoyant.

For the mining idea, though, it's strictly an engineering calculation based on cost of mining vs. value of energy produced -- with an awful lot of hand-waving about how you get it to fuse, how much of that energy you can capture, how you mine it from the lunar surface, and so forth. I'll leave it to my esteemed colleague QA to point out the issues there.
 
2012-12-23 11:02:50 PM  

machoprogrammer: Milo Minderbinder: Why even bother to discuss it? The universe is 6,000 years old, Noah forgot the unicorns and Jeebus rode a dinosaur to work.

Why is there always some dumbfark making some retarded comment like that in every science thread?


it's trolls all the way down
 
2012-12-23 11:37:18 PM  
If you come up with a better way...

Link

http://imgs.xkcd.com/clickdrag/2n22w.png  imgs.xkcd.com
 
2012-12-23 11:38:44 PM  
One more thing to concider.
Even if they could solve the problem with FTL travel and radiation, how are they going to know what is in their path a few seconds ahead of them?
One chunk of rock floating in their path the size of a baseball....
Or the size of an elephant.....
 
2012-12-23 11:53:18 PM  

simplicimus: Most of these seem to require chemical rockets to escape the gravity well. As for using nukes near earth, some people might object.


Define "near".

If you detonate a bomb, the effects are barely felt a hundred kilometers down the road.

Even if you detonate a bomb midway to the Moon, that's 150,000 kilometers away, it's not going to affects us. Not to mention the bombs will likely start going off after they're past the Moon orbit, not right after they get out of the atmosphere.

Bombs detonated after that distance aren't even probably going to be seen from here.

Of course, the simpletons will think we'll nuke the entire sky and it'll be Armageddon. farking religion putting ideas in people's head.
 
2012-12-23 11:54:45 PM  

maxheck: Actually, solar sail *is* very useful for LEO-moon or LEO-Mars... As is ion-electric. The expensive part is lofting stuff out of Baikaunaur, Titusville or French Guiana. .....
They're not going to give you significant acceleration, you wouldn't use it for carrying meat, but as far as cargo? They're ideal. Who cares how long it takes inert crap to get where it's going?


I guess we have different definitions for "useful" and "ideal". Here's one recent report: The sailcraft will be composed of a 10,000 m2 sail area with a total system mass of 100 kg. .... The anticipated transfer times from the Earth to the Moon and return are on the order of months

Ion engines could eventually become useful, I'll give you that, will take a lot of development though. And to Mars either solar sails or ion engines could be fine, my complaint with the article is these things are generally worthless from ground to orbit to moon. Again, we differ on "worthless" and "ideal" apparently.

Also, just a tip, "Titusville" sounds silly to most anyone who lives near KSC, since there are a dozen other towns just as close and it's not even on the same piece of land. You could say "Merrit Island" if you wanted to for some reason and it would at least sound reasonable. At least the Baikanaur Cosmodrome is actually called that.
 
2012-12-23 11:56:39 PM  

wildcardjack: I'm just tossing this one out there: Would hydrogen or helium-3 fusion produce radioactive elements? I'm just contemplating an atmosphere full of radioactive boron from magneto-constricted fusion rockets.


Actually, only a tiny bit, and only from one candidate reaction. And with a half-life of ~60 days, not bad at all for nuclear waste products. You just wouldn't want to use that reaction on a rocket.

Most of the problematic radiation comes out in the form of neutrons, which are only a major problem in the vicinity of the reactor. Some of them might produce a few radioactive nuclei here and there outside the reactor vicinity, but not much to speak of.
 
2012-12-24 12:09:48 AM  

Argonreality: I'd personally like to see what kind of logistics would be required for a rather low-tech solution to escaping Earth's gravity well: balloons. Ones filled with hydrogen to be specific, and engineered to use only that gas instead of being made for something else and using hydrogen as a last minute substitute. Anyone know some rough numbers?


Here's the only project I know of involving balloons. I wish they would get a bunch of funding to speed up their research and testing. If you have heard of PongSats, this is them.

JP Aerospace
 
2012-12-24 12:10:42 AM  
img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk

I'll just leave this here.
 
2012-12-24 12:38:49 AM  
Article left out the flat-earth method of reaching orbit.
img6.imageshack.us
 
2012-12-24 12:42:25 AM  
Wow. 47 posts in and no one suggest a space elevator yet? I'm surprised.

\And pleased
\\What a terrible unrealistic idea
 
2012-12-24 12:52:52 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All you need is a new Periodic Table of the Elements, some new forces and particles, some new magical materials, sure, why not. Other than that, you realize that we are collectively on our last gasp of easy-to-get hydrocarbon fuels? What energy source, pray tell, a real, practical one that can actually be built, will power these magical carpets to the stars?
And once you're in space, is it any less empty and deadly for all that?
Anyways, Happy Mud Ball Holidays right here on Earth, you'll never leave this place might as well enjoy it!


Hey, Mr. Wizard, what are your sources of info for all this? I mean, you seem so certain. You must have some really good citations that practical space travel will always be impossible. Please share.
 
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