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Micrometeorites, Design and Warp Drive

  1. Nov 21, 2013 #1
    So, this looks pretty promising. http://io9.com/5963263/how-nasa-will-build-its-very-first-warp-drive
    And the paper that adds to Alcubierre's original work: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015936_2011016932.pdf

    But one thing has crossed my mind; what of micrometeorites?

    The thing is, in "conventional" Inter-Stellar Vehicle (ISV) designs, the issue I've usually seen is either to ignore micrometeorites or use a "whipple shield". An example of this can be seen on Project Valkyrie (labeled "Mylar Umbrella" in the illustration), it was ignored in Project Daedalus and Longshot (it should be noted, that it was ignored on unmanned projects but addressed with a whipple shield on manned projects).
    (Another note, a rather beautiful graphic depiction of it was made for Avatar, James Cameron hired some rather knowledgable folks to design the "ISV Venture Star")

    So, if the craft moves by contracting and expanding space, what would happen to micrometeorites in that space? Would they end up zipping by the spacecraft at dangerous speeds, necessitating a whipple shield? Would they move at all? I mean, along the "path" from the starting point to the craft's destination, there's going to be a few micrometeorites at least. What happens to them?

    And now, second, what would this craft's "warp drive" look like? It needs to contract and expand space, and the experiment makes mention of a device that is a ring of capacitors, so something like this?. But what would be done for the negative energy density behind the craft? The first thing that comes to mind is the Casimr effect, but that's far too weak to be useful, right?
  2. jcsd
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