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Author Topic: Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?  (Read 2775 times)

Ben Luckie

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Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?
« on: 28/05/2010 21:30:02 »
Ben Luckie asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris,

Just wondering whether or not you could propel a craft at light speed in space or close to c with a laser or light beam source from Earth once the craft had been deployed in space?

As to do so it would obviously reduce a lot of issues with respect to on board fuel storage and propulsion system requirements etc and be a lot faster then conventional propulsion.

Is it theoretically feasible?

And would electro-static propulsion work in space on a craft, like it does for the B2 stealth bomber here on Earth? If so would that also provide greater protection inside the craft for the astronauts from deleterious cosmic radiation etc.

Regards

Ben Luckie

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 28/05/2010 21:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline syhprum

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Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?
« Reply #1 on: 28/05/2010 22:27:51 »
The problem is that you need 300 MW to produce 1 Newton of thrust the good news is that this thrust can be maintained up to near light speed ( When you would be fried by blue shifted CMBR Photons ). 
 

Offline RD

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Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?
« Reply #2 on: 28/05/2010 22:50:04 »
Q. Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?

A. Yes if it is within the Earth's atmosphere ...
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I don't fancy being in a Myrabo "light craft" though: being spun at 100's of rpm and being booted up the backside every half second, (and if the beam and craft are not aligned it's curtains).
« Last Edit: 28/05/2010 23:01:57 by RD »
 

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Will a laser work to propel a spacecraft?
« Reply #2 on: 28/05/2010 22:50:04 »

 

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