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Re: <Two bits worth

Brian (throwing in more pocket change)

>>> Hummm.  There is one way your decelerator idea could really have an 
>>>  Since the decelerator wouldn't need enough power to decelerate itself 
>>> all of its fuel, just the light ship.  It may have a much better power 
>>> weight ratio!  The ship wouldn't need to decelerate the deceleration 
>>> A microwave decelerator would be very compatable with Kevin's Microwave 
>>> system.
>>I think this system is worth studying.  IF both parts leave Sol by maser
>>sail, and separate at the halfway point.  with the decellerator keeping
>>the maser sail (using it as an antenna converting the maser to elec) and
>>blasting (new twist) fusion fuel right down the Explorer's throat, i
>>think it might work.
>I've thought several times about this solution. I think the problem is that
>the thing cannot blast the stuff accurately enough to the mouth of the 
>I always assumed the fly-away part needed some control from people and thus 
>those were doomed to die flying at near c velocities between the stars.

I sincerely hope that Tim is vastly underestimating how computer 
sophistication will have advanced by 2050.  But his comment about the ions 
not hitting the mouth of the Asimov may be a concern for reasons other than 
computer control.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't those ions be affected 
by interstellar dust, gas, charged particles, and weak magnetic edies from 
the stars?  I wish I knew just how far we could keep an ion stream focused 
to with 1000 km, prefereable 10km.  Heavy ions, like iron, should be less 
perterbed no matter what kind of interference.

Warning: personal political views to follow.  Terminate your browsing unless 
you want to hear me gripe about our space program.

Okay,  I'm going ballistic here for a minute.  I vote we move the launch 
date to 2150 or later.  Why?  You probably know why.  It just doesn't seem 
that technology will be at all up to the task of sending a man to another 
planet  (let alone a starsystem) and bringing him back safely without 
unparalled, united, financial support from the nations of Earth.  And seeing 
how little people are investing into figuring out how make conquoring the 
final frontier cheaper  we aren't going to the stars any time soon.

By the way.  Did you guys hear that they vitually cancelled the X-34 
program?  The private companies determined it wouldn't be profitable.  Maybe 
true, but somebody has to work the problem of designing a more reasonably 
reusable LEO vehicle than the pitiful excuse we call the Space Shuttle.

Space is the future.  We stay on Earth, we eventually die of resource 
starvation (may take thousands of years but it will happen).  Too bad the 
American people won't get with the program.  Nothing great was ever done