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Hi Everyone,

Steve is probably going to shoot me for getting off the subject, but...

I have been thinking of all of the weird and different theories that have emerged in the last few years, mostly because of Kyle's insistence. It brought back something I wrote about 20 years ago for a class I was in. It was pretty far-fetched then (read: stupid) but now it is beginning to sound plausible.

Physicists have recently been speculating that there may be an electromagnetic explanation for inertia which brings up the possibility of controlling inertia. In other words, an "inertialess drive".

Now think about this, FTL would be really nice, but we still need better propulsion in and out of atmosphere and gravity wells, we aren't going to go FTL from ground level after all. With a decent inertialess drive we could accelerate to high fractions of c in reasonable amounts of time.

I would be quite happy to settle for a 4 year real time trip to Alpha Centauri (2 weeks ship time). That would basically open up every star within a hundred or so light years to exploration, colonization and trade.

Now I am not saying that we should CHANGE our design plans. Any advance we might make along those lines could be incorporated when it happens. I doubt that we would have to redesign much of anything significant. By the time we do figure out how to go FTL we could already be well established among the stars.

Now to more mundane matters. The point of my posting the list of stars within 5 parsecs wasn't to poke holes in it (sorry Zenon) I just wanted everyone to see that there were FIFTY EIGHT stars within our reach NOW. If you expand that another 5 parsecs there are THOUSANDS. I think we are wasting time here...we need a couple of gigawatt free electron lasers in orbit to start pushing out Starwisps as soon as we can. We should be getting the first results back by the time we figure out a better way to push manned starships to the stars.

Lee Parker

Long experience has taught me not to believe in the limitations