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Old 12-19-2008, 12:17 AM #1
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Default The future of space travel...

is of course lasers

http://www.photonics.com/Content/Rea...rticleID=30860


The article is a bit dated, but I haven't seen any post regarding it. (the search function isn't too in-depth, while the google one spews up a bunch of non-sense).

Anyone have any info regarding the development of this?






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Old 12-19-2008, 03:44 AM #2
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

seems i have read one article that discuss that " Laser propulsion technology" ...in 2003......cost less .Less pollution, but i didn't not read any news about that
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:59 AM #3
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

i bet to defer. :P Nuclear or Antimatter propulsion is the future.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:14 AM #4
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeanieGreenie
i bet to defer. :P Nuclear or Antimatter propulsion is the future.

Should be; "I beg to differ"

Words are my life ;D :P

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Old 12-19-2008, 01:47 PM #5
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by daguin
[quote author=MeanieGreenie link=1229649445/0#2 date=1229677184]i bet to defer. :P Nuclear or Antimatter propulsion is the future.

Should be; *"I beg to differ"

Words are my life * ;D :P

Peace,
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oh wait what was i thinking? i guess school holiday can really "retarden" somebody's mind.;D
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Old 12-19-2008, 02:27 PM #6
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

There are some inherent drawbacks to nuclear and antimatter propulsion (unfortunately), and not all of them technical. The largest hurdle to overcome in nuclear propulsion is political and environmental. To date, manufacturers and governments with space probes and satellites utilizing SNAP generators and their descendants have kept the power source as low key as possible and generally off the radar of environmentalists. Commercialization of nuclear propulsion will bring with it a backlash from constituencies citing radiation concerns, be they founded or not, particularly associated with a potential accident during boost phase or an unplanned reentry of a propulsion core. Fear drives governmental decisions far more than reality.

Antimatter propulsion would generate the necessary energy to allow us to journey to all the planets in the solar system but has a couple of technical drawbacks that make it less than an ideal fuel. The first limitation is our ability to create antimatter. In the 40 or so years that accelerators have been creating antimatter the total mass stored (at CERN and a few other labs) is on the order of 10[sup]-12[/sup]kg. There is no practical way at this time to make antimatter in quantity. Furthermore, most of the mass of antimatter has to remain as anti-protons or positrons so they can be magnetically isolated from common matter. This brings me to the other technical limitation of antimatter. Keeping large quantities of antimatter contained together is a recipe for disaster particularly under accidental circumstances. If you want to know how much energy is available in a kilogram of say, anti-protons, simply run Einsteins famous equation E=mc[sup]2[/sup]. Your answer will be in Joules. Keep in mind that m or mass must be doubled as a kilogram of anti-protons requires a kilogram of protons to annihilate. Figure that a nuclear weapon using a 5-8 kilogram core is only 1-2% efficient when detonated. Antimatter annihilation is 100% efficient. It does not represent a practical fuel.

Photon pressure and ion pressure rockets seems to be the next generation of propulsion but we will still rely on chemical rockets to reach escape velocity for many, *many years to come.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:07 PM #7
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrothyChimp
There are some inherent drawbacks to nuclear and antimatter propulsion (unfortunately), and not all of them technical. The largest hurdle to overcome in nuclear propulsion is political and environmental. To date, manufacturers and governments with space probes and satellites utilizing SNAP generators and their descendants have kept the power source as low key as possible and generally off the radar of environmentalists. Commercialization of nuclear propulsion will bring with it a backlash from constituencies citing radiation concerns, be they founded or not, particularly associated with a potential accident during boost phase or an unplanned reentry of a propulsion core. Fear drives governmental decisions far more than reality.

Antimatter propulsion would generate the necessary energy to allow us to journey to all the planets in the solar system but has a couple of technical drawbacks that make it less than an ideal fuel. The first limitation is our ability to create antimatter. In the 40 or so years that accelerators have been creating antimatter the total mass stored (at CERN and a few other labs) is on the order of 10[sup]-12[/sup]kg. There is no practical way at this time to make antimatter in quantity. Furthermore, most of the mass of antimatter has to remain as anti-protons or positrons so they can be magnetically isolated from common matter. This brings me to the other technical limitation of antimatter. Keeping large quantities of antimatter contained together is a recipe for disaster particularly under accidental circumstances. If you want to know how much energy is available in a kilogram of say, anti-protons, simply run Einsteins famous equation E=mc[sup]2[/sup]. Your answer will be in Joules. Keep in mind that m or mass must be doubled as a kilogram of anti-protons requires a kilogram of protons to annihilate. Figure that a nuclear weapon using a 5-8 kilogram core is only 1-2% efficient when detonated. Antimatter annihilation is 100% efficient. It does not represent a practical fuel.

Photon pressure and ion pressure rockets seems to be the next generation of propulsion but we will still rely on chemical rockets to reach escape velocity for many, many years to come.

Yeah antimatter, has a long way ahead of it, before any true use. Like you said, it would require a reactor type container similar to that which is projected to be used in fusion reactors here on earth. n case of reactor, insanely strong magnetic field, containing plasma needed for fusion...in the case of an anti-matter reactor, it would contain the anti-matter...just a small glitch in any system (NASA or other space programs, do not have a clean safety record...as much as they would like for the rest of the world to think so), truth is no amount of over-engineering and back-up systems can make any given device trully 100% reliable, there is always that one situation that messes everything up.

Imagine it, a huge starship (Galactica for sports sake ), on its way to a distant planet/galaxy with a huge chunk of a population whose planet can no longer sustain them...and then due to some freak anomaly in space (not perceived or even thought possible), somehow eliminates the field (through glitch or by direct action)...BOOM...the human species is finally extinct.

Thats why lasers...will (probably) be the main way of space propulsion for quite a long time, perhaps even until we as a species are no more.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:45 PM #8
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Dare I mention DiLithium crystals ?? ;D

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Old 12-23-2008, 09:55 PM #9
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock Mike
Dare I mention DiLithium crystals ?? ;D

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Not until everybody in the room has had a couple of rounds of romulan ale...
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:17 PM #10
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

I had this idea like 25 years ago - when I painted rockets in a science fiction scenario (without any year-number) in arts class in school. :-) But the beam was light blue, what is just my famous color. :-) and I didnt think, that somebody would try it in the near future.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:48 PM #11
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

How does this work? I don't understand how photons can produce thrust reliably.

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Old 02-18-2009, 10:18 PM #12
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Although you cannot feel it, as the photons are streaming out the end of your laser pointer the reaction is putting the same pressure on your hand. (Newton's third law.) When you are in an essentially frictionless environment like space you can create acceleration with very small forces. There are already probes operating on ion drives out in the cold vacuum as we speak.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:28 PM #13
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Default Re: The future of space travel...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketparrotlet
How does this work? *I don't understand how photons can produce thrust reliably.

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Basically, photons still have momentum. Law of conservation of momentum: send photons in one direction with momentum of magnitude x; since momentum must be conserved, whatever sends them must travel in the opposite direction, also with momentum of magnitude x.
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