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(Some Guy)   We know chemical rockets are a dead end technology for space flight, will Santa bring us something better?   ( ) divider line 8
    More: Interesting, chemical rockets, solar sail, ion engines, spaceflights, Proxima Centauri, interstellar travel, speed of light, nearest stars  
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4173 clicks; posted to Geek » on 23 Dec 2012 at 6:13 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-12-23 07:54:52 PM  
2 votes:
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 07:27:30 PM  
2 votes:
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 03:08:42 PM  
2 votes:
No. Scientists and engineers might, though.
2012-12-24 12:10:42 AM  
1 vote:

I'll just leave this here.
2012-12-23 10:38:42 PM  
1 vote:

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 07:37:37 PM  
1 vote:
Well, get rid of that pesky non-proliferation-in-space treaty nonsense, and we could be sending people to the outer system already....
2012-12-23 07:10:29 PM  
1 vote:

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 06:28:10 PM  
1 vote:

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
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