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Gravitational Wave Rocket

  1. Jan 14, 2008 #1
    Here's the paper I'm talking about


    It's times like this I wish I'd gone to class...

    I've been trying to find a method of propulsion that falls within the realms of accepted physics but is convenient in terms of *storytelling*. I want my characters to reach star systems within subjective weeks, which can't be done if you accelerate them at 1G (or anything remotely close to that).

    The basic concept of the gravitational wave rocket is that it radiates gravitational waves asymmetrically, losing mass as it does so, causing it to accelerate. I would assume this would accelerate the rocket without generating any FELT acceleration, although I can't tell from the paper. I'm having a very difficult time understanding what is being discussed in this paper. At some points it says there is a vibration, at other times they say a rotation. I can't see what they are talking about. Even the meanings of most of the variables is completely beyond me. Can anybody help clarify this?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2008 #2
    Yes, that is something I'm not clear on at all. Do you "feel" your own gravitational radiation reaction or is it just a perturbation of your geodesic that you don't feel?

  4. Jan 14, 2008 #3
    Exactly. And furthermore, what sort of movement is taking place to generate this asymmetric gravitational radiation? I find the idea of using waves of gravity as reaction mass a very interesting concept. But I'm having trouble envisioning what is really happening. It can't just be two orbiting objects, can it?
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