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starship-design: Photon shield

Kelly wrote:

>Would the microwave beam pushing the sail help clear stuff out ahead of the
>ship?  Should/could we blast an area clear for the acceleration burn?

Yes, I offered that idea before.
I don't have any idea about how easely an individual atom or ion can be
accelerated upto relativisic speeds by photons.

Ken, do you know more about this topic? (Or if you don't know that, maybe
you know the kind of keywords/theories that I can look for.)