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Author Topic: The need for extreme space propulsion?  (Read 1433 times)

Offline Europan Ocean

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The need for extreme space propulsion?
« on: 15/06/2013 06:57:04 »
Stephen Hawking for one says that we need to leave the Earth in the next 1000 years. He says we need to find a suitable planet. Right now I think we need propulsion first, to search and land.

With my own eyes I saw a US satellite doing what looked like Mach 30 across from western NSW to the east coast in second with no gradual acceleration. How does that work?

How much should be spent on propulsion? Is it worthwhile?


 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: The need for extreme space propulsion?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2013 08:59:16 »
Even one century ago, nobody would have dreamed that it would be possible to go to bed in New York one day and wake up in London the next day (or visa versa).  A few centuries ago, and it would have been a long, difficult sailboat trip (thankfully people learned about lemons in the 1700's, although apparently the adoption of their use was slow).

However, I don't foresee space tourism beyond perhaps our moon as being likely. 

Even if we could develop a ship that could travel 1/10 the speed of light, the trip to another star would be a monumental undertaking.  We would likely end up sending a fertilized egg & seed ark, with a very small "generation crew".  Perhaps research should concentrate on mammalian incubators.

Within the next millennium, I would anticipate colonizing the Moon & Mars.  Perhaps attempting to terraform Venus, and perhaps also colonizing a Jovian moon.  However, the number of colonists will likely number in the thousands.  A million would be ambitious, and a billion would be highly unlikely.  Thus, colonizing another planet, even within our solar system will not provide a major release of excess population.

As far as what you saw.
Low Earth Orbit is about the equivalent of Mach 23.  The Space Shuttle re-entry speed was close to Mach 25.  Also consider meteor impacts, tracked in the USA by NASA on the Fireball website.

I do believe there will be benefits of colonizing the moon, and building extremely large telescopes in some of the moon's impact craters. 

Earlier I suggested that one might dig a hole through the center of the moon, and use a powerful electromagnetic accelerator to shoot objects out at high velocities, but unfortunately even at 100G acceleration across the moon, one wasn't able to reach even 1/1000 the speed of light.

Anyway, at this point, research should concentrate on faster rockets for travel within our solar system, and not pipe dreams for interstellar travel.
 

Offline Europan Ocean

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Re: The need for extreme space propulsion?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2013 11:30:35 »
Thanks, the satellite was bright like the moon, in a cloud that at closer observation, appeared to be a swirl, then it moved to an instant steady mach 30, or more to go across about 900 km in ten seconds. The swirl cloud as well.

Also, we don't know how populations will be regulated in the future. It may not be for the survival of the whole population, but just for an ark through.
 

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Re: The need for extreme space propulsion?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2013 11:30:35 »

 

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