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Near Lightspeed Space Exploration - Query

  1. May 18, 2016 #1
    I mostly just imagine stuff. For some years I've had imaginings of what might be possible if we could fire a laser like that of the N.I.F. into a magnetic field like that of the L.H.C. Recently, Hawking has announced his initiative to explore space at near lightspeed with "micro-ships" propelled by earthbound lasers. And this really has me wondering now, would a powerful ship mounted laser firing into a powerful magnetic field not generate "ample" thrust? Could this not be attempted on a smaller test scale? A drone/satellite size/type craft generating its own field and laser? If it were possible and a craft could reach near lightspeed, what I wouldn't give to see the clock after it traveled near lightspeed for some time.

    Anyhow, just looking for some educated thoughts if possible, or even probable.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2016 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    How would one expect thrust to be generated? Or rather, how would one expect momentum of the spacecraft to change?

    The momentum from photons is pretty small, especially for photons in the eV range, or less.

    A shipboard laser requires an energy source and some power conversion system.
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