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Re: starship-design: Timothy's beamed power paper


You wrote:
>>My suggestion was to use part of the beam to blow clear the path. 
>>We may re-route a part of the beam to a more divergent beam 
>>which will push the few atoms in our way to the side.
>Or make the sail partially transparent.

Doing that will push the particles mainly forward. We'd like them to be
pushed aside, so the beam has to be a bit more divergent.

>But these solutions further increase the beam power losses,
>comparable to (or possibly larger than) those caused by the drag. 
>So it will not be the solution for the drag problem,
>but possibly for the shielding problem.

It indeed wasn't a solution for the drag, just for shielding. We might even
use this to shield a self-powered ship.

>I wonder how much energy in the beam will be needed to sweep clear
>the space before the ship from dust and how big are the particles 
>that can be sweeped fast enough this way?

Yes, I think it can. (assuming the beam is strong enough and divergent enough)
Unless the particles are transparant for the radiation we use!

>Note however, that the gas & fine dust pushed by that
>"shielding beam" before the ship will accumulate into
>a "shock wave" than can possibly destroy/pulverize
>the larger debris way ahead of the ship. (*)

True, but however using a divergent beam, the purpose is to get the
particles out of our way as soon as possible. If possible we would not even
like to accelerate it to the same speed as the ship. However if there is
need, we might make the beam less divergent.