[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: starship-design: Re: FTL Drive designs
Let's think about Kyle's figure of 10^28 W/cm^3. Viewed as a rate of of
total mass-to-energy conversion, that's 1.1 * 10^11 kg/s * c^2 per cm^3.
Very roughly that is like continuously shoving neutronium and
antineutronium in a blender. For reference, the total solar flux is
about 3.6 * 10^26 W; your energy flux is literally like a nova per cubic
centimeter per second.
I have only two things to say about that figure.
1. If that kind of energy production density was possible, we could
send entire planets on high-acceleration relativistic trips around the
universe using tiny reactors.
2. I don't think it's feasible to use this for a man-rated spacecraft.
No human could stand to be near that kind of flux without shielding
that's at least as fanciful as the reactor that produces it.
I have serious reservations about "zero-point energy" being useful. My
primary concern is that extracting such energy from the vacuum has to be
disruptive -- you're lowering the ground state of the vacuum in a
region, and that's got to produce some kind of effect as that
disturbance propagates into the surrounding vacuum. And if you extract
that energy by making the vacuum effectively unstable, what risk do you
run of having that reaction be self-sustaining and uncontainable? For
all we know the Big Bang might have been someone's disastrous ZPE