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Re: starship-design: Zero point energy: Power source

kyle writes:
 > I think that the problem with most scientists is that we would like
 > to think that we know everything about physics, and that there are
 > not an incredible amount of alternative posibilities and situations
 > which we have not yet begun to understand. We have only begun to
 > learn. Many a number of unexplored posibilities await us. We are just
 > beginning the journey. In my opinion, I think we should consider FTL
 > as possible in our mission.

The starship-design exercise is to design a starship and interstellar
exploration mission that can be reasonably expected to be buildable in
2050.  That means we are being intentionally conservative about the
technology used.  While we sometimes extrapolate technological trends in
making assumptions about the materials and techniques that will be
available, for the most part nobody has tried to postulate technology
that violates _currently known_ laws of physics, because that's all we
have to work with now.

The biggest problem with trying to design an FTL starship today is that
no one, not even the most expert physicist, has the slightest idea how
FTL could be realistically accomplished in a manner that would allow it
to be used in a starship drive system.  If you don't know the size and
requirements of the drive system, how can you design a ship around it?
On the other hand, while the requirements of a relativistic drive system
are difficult, they are not physically impossible, and it might be
possible to build one in 2050.