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Re: My Two Bits Ain't Worth 1E-15 (Take 2)

To little-time Brian,

>On the e-mail you discussed, I don't think you received an e-mail previous 
>to it.  That may be a fault with our school computer mailing server or 
>somehow even my own fault.  Don't worry, it was a bad idea that I was 
>sending and thats why I wrote the e-mail that you got.  It might have 
>answered your question as to why we would first shoot the RM out of the back 
>of Asimov only to catch it again.

I received two mails previous to it, one telling you had a good idea, and
one that was similar to the one I responded to, only dated about 10 minutes

>The whole idea was to find a way to cut down on the weight of the ship as it 
>tries to decelerate near TC.  My first idea to solve this problem from a 
>while back was tankers.  That divided the maximum mass of the ship for the 
>deceleration phase by however many tankers were used.  By spreading out the 
>fuel along a track, we are left with only the dry ship mass to slow down 
>(plus fuel to power the ion accelerator and ionizing lasers for the incoming 
>The seemingly lost e-mail talked about launching a superheavy starship ahead 
>of the Asimov.  It could either carry many, many tons of RM and a rail 
>launcher to lay the deceleration track or it could hold particle beams (or 
>masers) to hit a sail that would slow the Asimov.

Ah, I'm starting to understand.

>Jumping to a tangent, I wonder if this idea could help solve some problems 
>of decelerating Kevin's MARS.  I noticed that his design is launched by 
>using a beam that hits a sail.  The trouble seemed to be how to reverse the 
>beam's direction to in order slow the ship.

Indeed, we have had a long discussion about "dragon-fly" sails and
reflecting clouds of plasma.

>The solution we've dissused to date is to harnessing that previously 
>reflected power to run an ion accelerator that speeds its RM up to such a 
>high velocity that very little RM is needed to stop the ship (compared to 
>fusion powered ion rocket that can only carry so much power in fusion fuel). 

Wow, a 4 line sentence without a comma. (Sorry, it just took some time
before I realized why I had to read it more than one time).

>Now about reversing the direction of the maser energy without having 
>complicating the design.  I wonder if we would be able to build and launch a 
>massive maser starship that simply harnesses the maser energy from Sol and 
>redirects it to the side of the Asimov facing TC.

Yes, I wonder about that too, we haven't found a really good method yet.

>You might not to believe what I'm going to say but I'll say it anyway.  We 
>DON'T want to use the design I just described (it took me the entire time I 
>was writing this e-mail to figure that out for myself.  Do I feel dumb or 

I think this is what is making me confused. :|

>The best idea I can come up with is to rig the sail like an umbrella.  While 
>reflecting the maser beams, it pulls the Asimov hab module along like an 
>open umbrella pulls a man on a windy day.  I seem to recall that Kevin 
>adressed the shielding of the hab section by putting it front of the sail. 
> From an engineering standpoint (like I know anything about egineering), 
>this seems more difficult than tying cable from the rim of the sail to the 
>hab section and just letting the sail tow it along.  Do you know what the 
>group decided on this topic?  Couldn't we just put more shielding on the 
>side of the hab section facing Sol?

I'm not sure how Kevin wanted to solve that problem, I think we didn't
discuss that, we had more wories about the method of reflection. I could
imagine that if the ship is in front of the sail (i.e. at the Earth side) it
should just act like a sail (thus reflecting it straight back without

>By the way, I found out last night that a Kevin's MARS idea seemed to be 
>using another kind of sail to reflect microwaves.  If this statement is 
>incorrect, please correct me.  I wander in the dark here.

I'm not sure, another kind than what? You should keep in mind that
microwaves reflect on different surfaces that visible light does. It may
even be possible to use a mesh of metal. Roughly said if the mesh-holes are
smaller than the wave-length then it will reflect the waves. For microwaves,
that means very small holes, but anyway, it may save some weight (CD's have
small puts too).

>The second sentence of that admittantly confusing paragraph (two sentences 
>does not make a paragraph I seem to remember my 8th grade english teacher 
>saying) seemed to be a fragment referring to how to save ship mass by seeing 
>whether or not we could have the ion accelerator double as rail gun launcher 
>for the reaction mass rather than carry a separate rail gun in addition to 
>the accelerator.

:) A new record, a sentence of 5.2 lines without commas. I seems that your
English teacher is wrong when saying that two sentences do not make a paragraph.

>Thinking about this rail launcher, we might want to carry a second rail 
>launcher anyway if we want to preload a fuel track for the trip home.  Or we 
>could anchor the Asimov to an asteroid and load the acceleration track while 
>using another shuttling system to explore TC.

Could you explain to me what makes a rail launcher different from an ion-gun?

>I hope most of what I wrote here makes sense.  Again, I'm pressed for time 
>so I'm closing up.  Peace and long life (through relativitic interstellar 

It is already clearer, thanks.