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Attraction propulsion?

  1. Aug 8, 2005 #1
    I am an amateur writer, and I do not have much more than a basic knowledge of physics. I am however, attempting to write a book centered around a new propulsion system and a trip out of our solar system. I will give everyone reading this a basic idea of the system, then I hope to read feedback on all the reasons it would not work.

    The system (in the story) is based an "attraction field" of energy that attracts sub-atomic particles. Imagine a long “rocket” case, lets say 4 feet I.D. by 20 Feet in length. At the rear 1/3 of the case are thousands of small emitters circling the inside. When activated, the emitters create an "attraction field" that causes particles to accelerate down the tube and exit thru the field at "dynamically accelerated" velocity. The emitters would be arranged (canted) to create a vortex-type field that exits the rear of the canister (necessary to keep particles from wanting to be attracted to entering at the rear and colliding with particles accelerating from the front). Basically a vacuum in space, pulling a ship along. No combustion.
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  3. Aug 9, 2005 #2


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    I have to differ for one reason, Clausius. Although the dimensions and a couple of other details vary, it sounds as if rick is referring to a scaled-down Bussard ramjet. It might be worth discussing.
  4. Aug 10, 2005 #3


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    The Clausius has a point that the upper forums are really for real science, so I'm going to shoot this thread over to General Discussion where the rules are laxer.

    Sorry for the somewhat frosty welcome (bad Clausius... no cookie :smile:).
  5. Aug 10, 2005 #4
    Science fiction is...fiction, and your propulsion system doesn't have to be workable. Star Trek survives by avoiding any detailed physics or engineering explanations of warp drive.

    It adds verisimilitude to invent and mention things like the Iannini Effect, a completely fictional concept I just brought into being by pulling a name off he spine of a book here beside me on the shelf, or The Stereoflex Principle: which I arrived at by sighly altering the brand name on my glasses case.

    These effects and principles are discovered in the future and can add to, obviate, or even overturn today's conventional physics. You can make them do whatever you want. The jargon has to sound right, it doesn't have to be right. Don't present so detailed a picture of anything that an engineer can inspect it and call it bunk by today's level of understanding.
  6. Aug 10, 2005 #5


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    I always like the space folding of Dune and A Wrinkle in Time myself. Why travel through space when you can simply get your destination to come to you?
  7. Aug 10, 2005 #6


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    OP systems seems very similar to Mini-Magnetospheric Plasma Propulsion (M2P2) - pdf file - proposed by Robert M. Winglee and others.

    See also - http://www.ess.washington.edu/Space/M2P2/

    and http://www.ess.washington.edu/Space/M2P2/theory.html

    Basically, the idea is to capture the solar wind (an effective sail) and then accelerating it through a solenoid along the central axis of the spacecraft.

    One still needs a power supply. A solar dynamic system means no stored energy, but the solar flux falls of as 1/r2. Any other system, e.g. nuclear or antimatter, means stored energy. The specific energy of the system is also a key factor - generally speaking, the higher the W/kg the closer a material approaches its technical limit.

    As one goes leaves the inner part of the solar system and outward, the particle density drops significantly by many orders of magnitude - hence a propellant problem.

    The problem with interstellar transport is the energy requirements and amount of stored energy (which means mass) and the propellant requirement (which means mass).
  8. Aug 10, 2005 #7
    Thw whole problem started to dissolve in 2177 with the discovery of the Iannini Effect which suggested the possibility of the existence of an Einstein Catalyst i.e. a substance which would catalyze non-radioactive elements into energy as per E=mc2 without being used up itself.

    Telescopic penetrations of Jupiter's atmosphere accomplished by a novel embodiment of The Stereoflex Principle, (due to Hector Parker, 2134) showed peculiar, non-volcanic disturbances beneath the stormy planet's swirling cloud cover that were later determined to be massive ejections of energy caused by naturally occuring pockets of Einstein Catalyst acting on the surrounding matter.

    How samples of the catalyst were eventually obtained and contained is an epic story in and of itself. Suffice it to say they were, and this is why we find ourselves today streaking through deep space throwing the odd used food wrapper into the catalytic converter whenever we need a little acceleration here or there.
  9. Aug 18, 2005 #8
    Thanks for the move and the reponses. After the first response, I went looking elsewhere for feedback... glad I came back. Even though whatever story line I develop will be considered sci-fi, I would like to keep a few grains of probability within the misty haze of possibilities. My "theoretical" engine solves two other problems: power supply and gravity. By "stealing" some of the energy generated by the accelerating particles the engine would feed itself.. i.e. the faster you go-the faster you can go. The stolen energy would also be used in the craft to create "fake gravity". By energizing plates in the floor (low level) to be attracted to water particles, anything with moisture in it will feel a gravitational affect. By varying the field, you can make anything heavy or light (important to our heroes final conflict in the story).
  10. Aug 18, 2005 #9


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    The old trash drive from Back to the Future III, eh?
  11. Aug 18, 2005 #10
    I have no idea what you're talking about with this "stealing", but make sure you're well acquainted with conservation of energy.
    Same thing happens on any terrestrial vehicle with a transmission. Bicycles and up.
    But the you have to swallow a spider to catch the fly: you have to invent something to account for H2O attraction.
  12. Aug 18, 2005 #11
    I didn't see that one. Did it convert matter directly into energy a la E=mc^2?
  13. Aug 18, 2005 #12


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    I have no clue. I don't think the specifics were explained. But if you remember, he originally had to feed the flux capacitor with plutonium (or lightning). Eventually, Doc Brown figured out a way to use everyday garbage as fuel. I think he actually might have done it by the second movie.
  14. Aug 18, 2005 #13
    I only caught a section of the second one on TV once. That may be where I picked up the garbage idea, but it is also been suggested in real life as an evergy source, by various processes.

    I haven't seen the first one since it was originally released in theaters. I remember it was critical that they catch the lightning bolt but I don't remember the plutonium.
  15. Aug 18, 2005 #14
    While we're talking about propulsion ideas, I'll throw out one i've tossed around which relies on the idea of an "Attraction Propulsion"

    Make the assumption that we are able to find a way to artficially create a beam of pure gravitons. And assume we find technology to turn this beam into a LASER. And make another assumption (I don't know if the graviton is well enough understood that there is actualy evidence which disputes this) that the graviton is a two way beam, such that a it not only pulls your target towards you, but also pulls you towards your target, and at the same time, warps space that you and your target move through.

    Now, we have two objects moving towards each other, (you are obviously moving faster than your target, both because it would take a long time for the beam to ever make it to the target so that it has an effect, and also because you aren't as massive, and the gravitational acceleration will be proportional to your mass) Furthermore, the space on the way there is also warping and creating a sort of slip stream you can travel along in order to reach your target faster by bringing the space in between you and your target closer.

    This probably wouldn't actually work in real life for myriad reasons, but I think it's probably enough to work in science fiction.

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