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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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4160 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.
 
2012-12-24 12:52:55 AM

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...


Not to mention Jules Verne Durand.
 
2012-12-24 01:28:36 AM

taurusowner: Wow. 47 posts in and no one suggest a space elevator yet? I'm surprised.

\And pleased
\\What a terrible unrealistic idea


I agree for an Earth based elevator. It might be possible on the Moon or Mars with their lower gravity and atmospheric stress. With some materials advances of course...
 
2012-12-24 02:08:10 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?


For a rigid balloon:

Buoyancy = density of air - density of buoyant gas
At, say, 30,000 ft, the density of air is .35 kg/m^3.
The projected mass of the Orion interplanetary craft is about 2,000,000 kg.
For fun, let's say you have a balloon filled with vacuum.

So, 2,000,000 / (0.35) = 5.7 x 10^6 cubic meters of hydrogen, or a spherical balloon with a radius of over 110m. That's just for neutral buoyancy at a low altitude. At 100,000 feet, which is around where Kittinger jumped from, air density is around .01 kg.m^2. Now you're looking at a balloon with a radius of over 360m, made of a material that is light enough to add negligible mass, but strong enough to hold itself up, plus a 2 million kg load.

You can reach much higher altitude with an elastic balloon because the volume of the balloon will expand as the air pressure decreases, but the problem of strength is compounded by the necessity for elasticity. At 100,000ft, which is less than 1/2 the distance to "space", you're looking at an expansion ratio of about 100:1.
 
2012-12-24 02:14:49 AM
Argonreality:

By the way, all of that is ignoring the problem of considerable factors like wind, air turbulence, etc.
 
2012-12-24 02:38:14 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?


Excellent question!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_altitude_record#Hot_air_balloons
"On November 26, 2005, Vijaypat Singhania set the world altitude record for highest hot air balloon flight, reaching 21,290 m (69,850 ft). He took off from downtown Bombay, India and landed 240 km (150 mi) south in Panchale. The previous record of 19,811 m (64,997 ft) had been set by Per Lindstrand on June 6, 1988 in Plano, Texas."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_Earth_orbit
"Low Earth orbit (LEO) is generally defined as an orbit below an altitude of approximately 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi). Given the rapid orbital decay of objects below approximately 200 kilometers (120 mi), the commonly accepted definition for LEO is between 160 kilometers (99 mi) and 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) above the Earth's surface."

So a balloon can get you up to about 20km, but Low Earth Orbit requires at a minimum 160km -- and that's only vertical distance. If you have no lateral velocity, you'll just plunge back down toward the Earth.

So yes, a balloon could get you really far off the ground, but you still need a lot more "up" to escape Earth's gravity well. Sadly, Earth's atmosphere runs out too quickly!
 
2012-12-24 03:12:33 AM

rocky_howard: 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.


The people dealing with fallout from the Fukushima accident might not agree that (1) the wise engineers will take care of everything and there will be no problems with the nukes during the flight, or (2) concerns about nukes are ideas put there by "farking religion." Fool me once ...
 
2012-12-24 04:25:16 AM

Charles_Nelson_Reilly: The people dealing with fallout from the Fukushima accident might not agree that (1) the wise engineers will take care of everything and there will be no problems with the nukes during the flight, or (2) concerns about nukes are ideas put there by "farking religion." Fool me once ...


Yeah because what? 1 nuclear related tragedy in more than 50 years of nuclear power somehow makes the energy insecure. Get real...

And no, a) Chernoby doesn't count because the Soviets farked up and didn't follow procedures then tried to save face. b) 3 Mile Island was proof of the system actually working, not the opposite.

And again, a nuke going off at more than 350,000 kilometers from Earth is not going to affect us in the slightest. There's no "wind pushing the radiation to California" scenario.

You can take the largest nuke we have and it means jacksquat.
 
2012-12-24 05:35:20 AM
jolisfukyu.tokai-sc.jaea.go.jp

www.technovelgy.com

67.23.226.3

beam-based propulsion. All your energy stays on the ground, and the vehicle only has to carry reaction mass for fuel. Not only could it get you to space with less than a thousands bucks of electricity, but it could also be used for interstellar travel.

Link
 
2012-12-24 05:42:39 AM
Space fountan: uses transfer of momentum to build a space-elevator type tower, except w/o the need for exotic materials, and does not need to be build on the equator.

www.orionsarm.com

www.baenebooks.com
 
2012-12-24 05:45:17 AM
Launch loop: similar to a space fountain, but sideways. Uses transfer of momentum to place a loop of track that "hovers" at near orbit height, and launches payload even higher.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2012-12-24 06:35:36 AM
I like the beam based propulsion. Need quiet an array of gyroklystrons but doable. I say gyroklystrons because you'd do well to be up at mm wave frequencies to keep your beam width down. As for the others, too much of a liability if the power went out.

On He3 it doesn't burn as well d-t assuming Maxwellian velocity distributions, so not much reason to worry about it until you either
A. Get d-t to reliably burn
Or
B. Get a stable plasma with a fat tail v dist.
 
2012-12-24 07:02:59 AM
Still, chopping off roughly 16-17% of the LEO travel would let you save on whatever fuel you're using. Worth looking at in more detail imo.
 
2012-12-24 09:00:37 AM
If the Higgs field is responsible for imparting mass, we may someday discover a way to manipulate that field and use it as a force to propel spaceships akin to tacking into the wind. Imagine a spaceship that has it's mass reduced to near zero. It wouldn't take much energy to accelerate it to light speed, or faster if the Higgs field is responsible for the light speed limit.
 
2012-12-24 10:55:22 AM

foxtail: 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.....


This is why I tell all my friends, "Fark warp drives, the real money is going to be in wormholes and folding space technology."

/warp drives are Edison
//getting there without moving will be safer...that's Tesla
 
2012-12-24 11:20:51 AM
Why, Photoatomics is the answer! Photoatomics and SQuID (Solid-state Quartz Ion Drive) motors. Solid-state Photoatomic quartz engine cores within a long reactor vessel lined with photoelectric cells pouring out massive amounts of ultraviolet light when the elements of the core are brought close enough together for the embedded nuclear material to begin reacting. Their energy is used to excite and accelerate hydrogen in helical swirls up and down the interior until finally the inside of the engine is brighter than the sun. The light is used for electrical power generation, as a laser source for all the fun things you can do with lasers, and the liquid hydrogen works as both a coolant and propellant, turning directly into plasma and shooting at incredible speed toward ionized grids down-bore. The hydrogen isn't entirely wasted, though, as it is partially harvested for re-use after leaving the motor when it passes through trailing collectors on long, long filaments behind the ship. Without an oxidizer, it is much more efficient than chemical rockets, without the potential of leakage it is much safer than old-school nuclear rockets, it can provide enough laser power to be an on-board beam motor within an atmosphere, it can turn lots of different stuff into plasma if necessary so it's multi-fuel capable, and of course hydrogen can be obtained from lots of sources on planets or in space so it's ostensibly able to run indefinitely. It's an all-in-one solution! Too bad it's pretty much just bullshiat that came out of stress-related insomnia followed by too much coffee.

Oh, but a modified version of this in nano-scale miniature, using magnetic fields to create counter-rotating rings of highly ionized plasma and some jiggery-pokery involving coherent reflection and the venturi effect could make a real Arc Reactor/Repulsor. Picture largely flat jet engines using lasers to make plasma out of air. Picture flying cars where the wheels fold down and become thrusters. Also picture giant super-robots with Archimedes-style laser arrays on their chests, rocket punches that don't require an entire day to make ready for re-use and more power than they know what to do with.

And don't even get me started on the steampunk version of it, the Brightfield Radiumite Energomatic Redoubler™.
 
2012-12-24 11:57:18 AM

Z-clipped: Argonreality:

By the way, all of that is ignoring the problem of considerable factors like wind, air turbulence, etc.


Actually the biggest problem is the velocity component. You can do a simple energy calculation and see that getting to orbital altitude takes only a fraction of the energy as getting to orbital velocity. That's the main reason things like spaceship1 are so much smaller than satteliete launching rockets. They are neat ways to get to space, but nothing like what is takes to stay in space.
 
2012-12-24 12:02:18 PM

Mutt Farkinov: foxtail: 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.....

This is why I tell all my friends, "Fark warp drives, the real money is going to be in wormholes and folding space technology."

/warp drives are Edison
//getting there without moving will be safer...that's Tesla



The solution to all this is to make your warp metric collapse as you form it until the outer cross-section is just a bit larger than the Planck limit (the interior of the metric is unaffected) -- then you go through all the rocks/particles/planets with minimal disruption and the leading edge energy release is hardly noticeable when you re-expand the warp on arrival. It also cuts down the total energy required by orders of magnitude.

Bigger on the inside than the outside is the way to go.
 
2012-12-24 01:00:27 PM

carterjw: Z-clipped: Argonreality:

By the way, all of that is ignoring the problem of considerable factors like wind, air turbulence, etc.

Actually the biggest problem is the velocity component. You can do a simple energy calculation and see that getting to orbital altitude takes only a fraction of the energy as getting to orbital velocity. That's the main reason things like spaceship1 are so much smaller than satteliete launching rockets. They are neat ways to get to space, but nothing like what is takes to stay in space.


The point I was making is that balloons aren't a feasible way to lift large masses to high altitudes. No balloon can ever reach "orbital altitude" because the fluid that lifts the balloon is what defines the lower boundary of sustainable orbit.

"Orbital velocity" is also not a fixed speed. It's dependent upon the distance between the relevant bodies. The higher the altitude, the lower the speed necessary to maintain freefall.

Ultimately, escape velocity is escape velocity, no matter which direction you're pointing.
 
2012-12-24 01:52:06 PM
There's nothing wrong with chemical rockets for getting around inside the Solar System.

The limiting factor is acceleration force on the payload.

A rocket only pulling three G's to keep humans comfortable on the way to orbit burns a huge amount of fuel compared with one putting up the same mass in hardware at ten.
 
2012-12-24 04:18:52 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!


::tips hat::
 
2012-12-25 07:18:05 AM
warp drive

For some reason I read that as fart drive. Why not, if the people on board produce enough gas, and can keep alive and going for long enough to make it? Bean powered space ships, maybe?

/In space, no one can hear you fart
//or smell it
 
2012-12-26 08:46:02 PM

turbocucumber: warp drive

For some reason I read that as fart drive. Why not, if the people on board produce enough gas, and can keep alive and going for long enough to make it? Bean powered space ships, maybe?

/In space, no one can hear you fart
//or smell it


Finally a use for old farts
 
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