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RE: starship-design: Antiprotons
On Monday, December 01, 1997 3:40 PM, Ken Wharton
> Hey all...
> The week before last I went to the American Physical Society Plasma
> Physics conference in Pittsburgh. I've been to the conference a few
> times, but this was the first year they actually had a special section
> on plasma thrusters for spacecraft. Sure, it was thrown into a tiny
> room on the far end of the convention center, and there were only ten
> short talks, but it was something.
> Most of the talks, though, weren't really usable for interstellar
> spacecraft. People are building small plasma thrusters for use on
> satellites, and some people talked about bulding large versions to get
> to Mars in 3 months instead of 6. (Although one guy actually proposed
> building an enormous magnetic mirror spacecraft that, if everything
> worked perfectly, would still take 170 days to get to Mars!) A large
> magnetoplasma thruster prototype has been built and people are doing
> actual research.
> However, there were a few talks that went into interstellar drives, and
> one in particular (from Penn State) sounded very interesting. (That is,
> interesting in the sense that it might be possible to use the idea in
> the next 50 years) The idea (which may have been discussed here
> already?) is to use small quantities of antiprotons to catalyze a hybrid
> fission/fusion pellet.
I've posted this here before, but here is a link to their web page for all
who are interested. This is one of the few concepts I think has a real
chance at succeeding...
He who thro' vast immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compose one universe,
Observe how system into system runs,
What other planets circle other suns,
What varied being peoples every star,
May tell why Heav'n has made us as we are.
- Alexander Pope