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

kyle writes:
 > FTL doesn't necessarily violate physics.

If you say this, then you don't understand FTL or physics well enough
yet.  Find and read a copy of _Spacetime Physics_ by Taylor and

 > Or consider these: distance modification; The ability to make
 > sublight journeys to stars by quantum jumping; That has been done in
 > laboratories. Any particle physist will tell you that.

If FTL were as easy as you say it would have been done by now.  The few
FTL effects that are thought to exist in particle physics don't
translate to macroscopic objects, and even when postulated don't
transmit information or mass faster than light.

 > You'd be surprised at how many scientists have postulated "technology
 > that violates currently known laws of physics". As I said earlier,
 > physics is almost entirely an unknown for us. We haven't begun to
 > unlock its secrets. Maybe FTL doesn't violate physics. There have
 > been scattered reports of slight FTL transversal.  (E-mail me if
 > interested). I know most of you say that these reports are just junk
 > science, but thats exactly what was said to the Wright brothers.

Whether FTL might be possible isn't the point.  The point is that we are
trying to build a starship that uses REAL physics, not imaginary,
unknown physics.  We're trying to build a starship that can be built
knowing what we know now, not what we might now some time in the future.
That's all there is to it.

 > > 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.  
 > Not necesarily true.

If it's not true, then demonstrate FTL on a macroscopic object.

 > >If you don't know the size and
 > > requirements of the drive system, how can you design a ship around it?
 > Hmmm...Aha! Estimate! (we've done plenty of it)

Estimate based on what?  We can estimate the parameters of a reaction
drive or sail system that can bring a ship to relativistic speeds based
on physics and the known properties of matter.  If you don't have a
working theory of FTL, then it's pretty hard to make the same kinds of

 > > 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.
 > FTL may not be impossible.

It's not possible now, so we're not going to design a ship using
something we don't know will work.  That's basic engineering.

 > My conclusion: I still stick by FTL as being a good propulsion system to
 > use on our ship. (whichever one we build) Giant sail ships wouldn't
 > work with it though- distortion would be so large, it would require ENORMOUS
 > energy to create and maintain it without risking ship's integrity. Sail
 > ships are dangerous even if used for sublight travel: One stray meteor
 > shower and there went your mission, your crew, and several hundred billion
 > dollars. My design does incorporate FTL travel. Similar to Alcubierres warp
 > drive, but more...2050ish.

Space travel is dangerous, period, whether you use FTL or not.  Who's to
say that FTL wouldn't be more dangerous than sublight travel, or that
going FTL will make you immune from collisions?  Even imaginary FTL
drives in fiction are often risky (Larry Niven's "hyperspace" being a
classic exampe; get too close to a mass in hyperspace and you're gone).

As much as anything, our universe seems to be constructed on the
principle "you don't get something for nothing."  If it's really
possible to extract "zero-point energy" or go faster than light or do
other things we don't know how to do now then they will probably come
with a high price tag.