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Summarry of the momentum wars and idea.
Ok, I'm geting lost in all these cascading arguments and equations. So to
try to make sure we have an agreement, I'll try to sumarize.
A beam of microwave photons headed in the direction of the ship hits a
conical set of mesh sails. Because of the shallow angle of the sails, the
photons bounce off the sail moving inward. Because of the shallow angle most
of the resulting thrust vector is pointing outward and is canceled out by the
oposite side of the sail (I.E. most of the thrust on the sail, or momentum if
you prefer is concerted to a thrust load on the sail. No velocity change to
ship or sail.), the remaining foward part of the thrust vector does push the
ship forward, but at reduced levels.
At this point the photons are moving forward and inward toward the ships
axis. (Some energy and/or momentum was lost in the first reflection.) This
photon stream them hits a power converter, or waveguide feed into the engines
or something. At the point of the interaction it still has most its velocity
in a forward vector, and about all we've done is cut this amount down due to
reflections and power loses as it attempted to rip apart the sail.
Are we all agreed on this?
Diverted beams of photons converge on a forward pointing cone. This (not
considering the beam cancelation due to interfearence, reflection loses, and
other such nonsence) is the origional beam moving forward in a much more
concentrated form than its pre sail moments. Net thrust to the ship near zip
(give or take). In frount of this stream we put an ionized reaction mass.
Beam slams into it and throws it forward.
A) A lot of the beam (most?) would reflect back off the ionized reaction mass
(micro-waves do that off ionized matter) Would this act as Forward's
sacrificial outer-sail in "Dragons egg (?)"? I.E. could we use the forwardly
reflected beam for drive power? Efectivly the reaction mass (now renamed
plasma reflection mass) has gotten boosted forward at a hellish speed, but
bounced the beam back down our throats. (Just like Forwards outer drop
sail.) We would have to continuously replenish this "reflection mass", but
on the bright side we could be very sure it will clean all the interstellar
mass out from in frount of the ship. ;)
Instead of just dumping this superheated reflect mass forward. How about
using it as a rocket stream also. At the least we can ride the expanding
shock wave from the stuff.
Anyway, between A & B we have used part of the beam to create a high temp
plasma thurst, and reflected the rest off said plasma onto a rearwardly
reflective part of the ship. Momentum/kinetic energy interactions between
the beam and the ship are pretty much canceled out until it hits the
reaction/reflection mass. The ship needs NO POWER CONVERTERS! We never
convert it to electricity to drive an accelerator. (Ok, ok, we convert a
little to run the ship and power the magnetic feilds that keep the plasma off
the back of the ship.) But other than that, we just reflect it around and
feed it mass.
Thoughts? (or are we still arguing about momentum and such?)