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New Method for Space Travel.

  1. Jun 27, 2009 #1
    I was watching the show Exodus Earth on the Science Channel, and they were talking about new methods of travel in space. Things like Ion Engines, Solar Sails, and Vasimir Plasma engines. I was reading a HALO book, is it mentioned how their Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Slipspace Engines worked. I was thinking that with the technology we have today that it may be possible to build one of these engines. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Jun 27, 2009 #2
    From what I can understand we're still very far from such engines, but I believe the show "The Universe" also talked about some of the methods such as hydrogen engines and solar sails.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  4. Jun 27, 2009 #3

    turbo

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    You do realize that you're reading science fiction, right?
     
  5. Jun 27, 2009 #4
  6. Jun 27, 2009 #5

    Integral

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    We do not discuss science fiction in the engineering forums.

    Moving to GD.
     
  7. Jun 27, 2009 #6
  8. Jun 27, 2009 #7

    EnumaElish

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    Am I correct that currently the biggest hurdle in the mechanics of space travel is not speed but exposure (e.g. to mini-asteroids)?
     
  9. Jun 27, 2009 #8

    turbo

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    Right now, the biggest hurdles to interplanetary travel are the cost of lofting sufficient fuel to orbit, and the inability (of our current technology) to shield crew-members from energetic radiation from the Sun. We got lucky with the Apollo missions - had the Sun started throwing tantrums once the missions were underway, we would have lost crews to radiation-damage.
     
  10. Jun 27, 2009 #9

    EnumaElish

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    Why the need for so much fuel? I thought "solar sails."
     
  11. Jun 27, 2009 #10

    turbo

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    We should realize that space is not empty in any real sense, and that once we get out of the gravitational wells of stars and planets, we might be able to gather and exploit the materials in space for propulsion. Unfortunately, on the largest scales, gravitation is a big player and accretion robs surrounding space of usable materials, so this is a pipe-dream for now. Baby-steps.
     
  12. Jun 27, 2009 #11

    turbo

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    You can't tack against a solar wind. If you want to go directly away from a star, you might be able to employ a (huge) sail to do so, but since the energy you can collect from a luminous source like the Sun falls off as a function of the square of your distance from the source, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that a solar sail might be really handy for small payloads near the Sun, and not so much for stuff out by Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.
     
  13. Jun 27, 2009 #12

    Integral

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    Solar sails will not get you from the earths surface to orbit.
     
  14. Jun 27, 2009 #13
    Good point. I guess we should invest some research in figuring out how to get an aircraft into orbit first :rolleyes:
     
  15. Jun 27, 2009 #14
    If we have environmentalists worried about the impact of automobiles on the atmosphere, then it is inevitable that we would also have environmentalists worried about the impact of faster-than-light drives on the fabric of spacetime!
     
  16. Jun 27, 2009 #15
    The Space Elevator.....
     
  17. Jun 27, 2009 #16
    I do realize that I am quoting Sci-Fi, but was it really that long ago when going to the Moon, or to Mars, or even to an ExoPlanet was Science Fiction? Think about it. In Star Wars, Episode II, at the end, Dooku was using a Solar Sail. And that was in 2002! Now in 2009, we're making them. So imagine if today we're talking the Sci-Fi of Shaw-Fujikawa engines, and in two years, a proto is made. All I'm saying is: Is is possible that with today's technology that we could make one. And if not now, then in the near future. And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't a team in Europe create a micro-black hole? And isn't that what the engine is based off of? Think about it guys....
     
  18. Jun 27, 2009 #17
    One more thing: We always talk about traveling through space on a linear plane. But isn't space 3-Dimensional? why can't we go "UP" (or some sense of direction of up in space, whatever that may be) or vice versa?
     
  19. Jun 27, 2009 #18

    Pengwuino

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    There's a difference. Solar sails and journeys to the moon and mars and a lot of things that were considered science fiction back in the day were mainly theoretically possible. The problems were that they were tremendous engineering feats or simply hadn't been thought to try yet. With a lot of sci-fi crap, they're just throwing a lot of fancy sounding words together and selling it in a story. That's where you gotta distinguish between sci-fi who really extend our theory into plausible reality and those who are really just creating a fantasy world.
     
  20. Jun 27, 2009 #19
    Then someone needs to take that extra step and try it. Who's it going to be? You? Me? The guy sitting at the bar with a notepad and a pocket protector from MIT? Don't you agree?
     
  21. Jun 27, 2009 #20

    G01

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    The concept of a solar sail appeared long before Ep II!



    To answer your questions:

    Micro black holes are a theorized byproduct of the LHC experiments at CERN. This is probably what you are referring to. They have not been created or shown to exist at all. They are hypothetical.

    The hypothetical engines you are talking about are fictional, created to help explain a video game universe. No, it is not possible to build them with today's technology. The functioning of these fictional engines involves, according to the wiki link posted above, micro black holes, extra dimensions of space-time, and wormholes. We have no proof that any of these exist.

    The explanation of these engines on the wiki posted above may involve words and terminology from real theoretical physics, such as "quantum", "extra-dimensions", "space-time". However don't let this fool you. The "physics" involved in them is fictitious. It is not based on real, proven physical theories.

    Considering that the physics behind these engines is, at best, unproven, and, at worst, entirely fictitious, these engines won't be built in the near future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
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