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Re: starship-design: my $0.02 (finally)
In response to your post, I have a few comments and observations...
> 1) If we do end up using a black hole for any kind of thrust or
> conversion, I'd suggest storing it in front of the ship where it could
> act as a sheild. In fact, just figuring out how to get the black hole
> up to light speed would mean that the ship could travel along for free,
> riding the gravity well. i.e. we stay behind the black hole, just close
> enough to be pulled in at the same rate as the black hole is running
> away toward Tau Ceti.
Any energy you expend accelerating a black hole will more than make up for
any "free ride" you might hope to get riding on a black hole's coat tails
so to speak. No, I think the best use we will get out of a black hole is to
generate either thrust directly, or energy to power a thrust generating
> 3) flywheels: Instead of 1 large 200-meter flywheel, how about a lot of
> smaller one?
> I know better than to suggest 200 1-meter flywheels, but you get the
> idea. this should help us stay on course also (angular momentum)
I'm not real confident of this flywheel idea, but I still think that the
best flywheel you can hope to achieve is a spinning black hole. Especially
since the event horizon would only be measured in nanometers!
> 4) wish list: tapping the zero-point energy. estimated to be 1E16 per
> cubic centimeter (not sure about number, maybe 1E18.... anyone know the
> real figrue) The problem with this one is thermodynamic. where do you
> find the "cold sink" (the place with little or no zero point energy) to
> generate the gradient. or, how do you convert zero point energy into
> matter and antimatter? Virtual particle drive anyone?
Ahh, now this idea I like. I have never really seen a good explanation of
zero point energy, but what little I know sounds promising. (There is a
rumor that even NASA is looking into this.)