Stone Meadow: C_Canuk: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years? Might as well be 6 billion light years. We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage. EVER.actually, based on some napkin scribbling that's not quite true.If we could build a ship big enough to support an eco system for life support and food, and this ship housed nuclear reactors to drive ion engines that accelerate at 9.81 m/s; you would reach 3 light years in as little as 16 years.Probably less as I reflect I didn't do my calculations properly(I scaled 9.81 m/s to Km/year as if it was velocity not acceleration).Once the ship reaches the half way point, it would turn around and decelerate at the same rate. This solves the gravity problem as 9.81m/s squared is the force the earth exerts on us.You could conceivably build a ship that could get you there in under 32 years.Currently we don't have ion engines capable of this scale of thrust, but I feel we are within a few hundred years of having them. Everything else is just having the billions of dollars to build.Nope, not even close. There are two problems with your approach. First, ion engines are veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrryyy low thrust. Figure a ten-thousandth of a G acceleration...maybe, but obviously nothing like 9.8 m/s^2. FWIW, the first ion engine to propel a rocket out of earth's orbit needed 13 months to pass the moon, and the nearest star is 81,000 years away at ion drive speeds.Second, in spite of their high specific impulse, ion engines are still reaction engines, and NASA calculates that for a "real space ship" even a nuclear powered ion drive would take 4 days to go from zero to 60 mph...and their maximum speed would be about 321,000 km/h. That's great for low priority cargo moving around the solar system, but won't do for interstellar travel. Sorry man, but we gotta find a better technology. :)
GeneralJim: one must be a highly trained professional to make a wild-ass guess.Of course, most people like that just look it up in the Urantia Book.
elchupacabra: StopLurkListen: elchupacabra: I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it. Just to see the fireworks.Dunno what you think is going to happen. Explode an almost-star, or start the fusion? If you want to start fusion, just drop matter into it, no "nuke" necessary. (Assuming in our scenario humanity is capable of moving 'Jupiter'-equivalent masses several light years just for lulz)Nuking it would start fusion that would run out of steam as it would lack critical mass. But it would last long enough for lulz.No it wouldn't.
The speed of the reaction mass, no?One thing a lot of people seem to forget is time dilation. That 16 year trip would feel a lot shorter to the occupants.
Just in case anyone was tempted to buy into General Jim's BS:Hypothetically, an increasing solar magnetic field could deflect galactic cosmic rays, which hypothetically seed low-level clouds, thus decreasing the Earth's reflectivity and causing global warming. However, it turns out that none of these hypotheticals are occurring in reality, and if cosmic rays were able to influence global temperatures, they would be having a cooling effect.It's amazing how he'll tout a single published paper that supports his opinion, but will ignore the thousands of others that do not. Wait, that's not amazing, that's painfully obvious.
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