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RE: RE: starship-design: Pellet track


> Initiate, is different from maintaining.  Lots of magnetic confinement
> systems have started fusion.  But just about none got out more power then
> they put in, and few could keep the system runing more then a tiny fraction
> of a secound.  Magnetic confinement is considered a NASTY way to try to do
> this.  Comercial concerns have pretty well written it off as unusable (much
> to the anoyence of U.S. government researchers).

Gee, it has been a long time since I thought about this particular concept. I
was not aware/did not know the status of stellarator research, I just sort of 
half remembered it from years ago. IF I remember correctly, a "stellarator" was
sort of a hybrid pinch/confinement/accelerator concept that was never even 
designed to generate continuous sustained fusion. It was simply a research tool
to INITIATE a fusion burn long enough to gain additional information to design
more capable reactors.

My thought however, is that a stellerator could be easily improved using 
TODAY'S technology to produce a continuous reaction just as long as we keep 
stuffing fuel down the accelerator end. This could be used for a Bussard ramjet,
a pellet track, both, whatever...

An unrelated comment: in a previous discussion on another thread you were 
discussing heat gain. Someone said something to the effect that we would have 
to physically tap the exhaust stream for power and that this would create
some sort of weak point for excess heat transfer (I know I am paraphrasing and
I may even be misremembering). There is absolutely know need for ANY physical 
connection to the exhaust stream. It can be tapped for power easily and simply 
using MHD.


                                                          (o o)
"Science has 'explained' nothing; the more we know the more fantastic the 
world becomes and the profounder the surrounding darkness."

-- Aldous Huxley, 1925