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Re: Engineering Newsletter

RE:  rddesign@wolfenet.com
 >So what are we going to do? 
 >Our technology isn't quite there yet for the propulsion plant. I'm sure we
 >could build the rest of the ship no problem.
 >The people we would like to crew the ship and maybe  colonize the 
 >new system probably won't want to go.
 >We have funding problems. To small and not enought money. To large and
 > you couldn't get folks to decide on when to have dinner much less pay
 > for it.
 >Where do we go? What do we do?
 >Do we start in-system with projects on the moon and Mars and build 
 > to the larger prospect of inter-steller flight?
 >Alpha Centauri is half the distance. Can we make it at half the speed?

Well I made my cut at it a long time ago.  A fusion ship could get to Alpha
C. in about 20 years, maybe 12, and a bit quicker on the flight back with
fuel launchers at each end.  That might be short enough to interest the
public and capable people.

Moneys a problem.  This is going to take some heavy coin to pay for, and its
not very clear why we'd do it.  Colonization doesn't make any sense (why
spend decades getting somewhere to do something you could do better at home),
and I've never heard of people putting up this kind of money for science.
 That leaves exploration.  A fierce public desire to send someone out there
with a camera and a flag.  Some reason that people will want to feel really
challenged and fund a national adventure.  (International isn't feasible.
 The costs would explode, and you'd never be able to get anything done with
that many people working on it.)

Early 21st century we should be making a big push into space.  By mid century
we should have major industrial and tourist projects, and access to
effectively unlimited raw materials.  Maybe we will be pumped up and full of
ourselves and be in the mood for a big adventure.