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Re: starship-design: hard space (was: scoops, sails etc.)

L. Parker wrote:

> Adam,
> > A more likely star-flight scenario, I think, is fleets of mobile
> > space-colonies.
> > They'd be co-operatives who'd mine the Jovians via a skyhook
> > system, and they'd
> > have huge mass-ratios thanks to using no tanks, bar minimal
> > thermal wrapping.
> > With mass-ratios of 100 they could get up to ~ 0.2c using D/D
> > reactions. Or
> > maybe a lithium dwarf star will be found close to the Sun and
> > that'd become a
> > great fuelling post.

[which would make higher Vfinal possible, maybe ~ 0.3c.]

> If you're going to spend decades between the
> > stars why not
> > go en masse?
> We could creep out through the Oort cloud one rock at a time like some sort
> of interstellar fungus...
> Better hope some alien doesn't come along with a bottle of Lysol!

Hehehehe. Of course if they're able to manipulate space-time they might just
decide to cut our world-lines. Oort Cloud creeping is a silly scenario unless
comets are worth inhabiting, though just what sort of social group would find
that worthwhile I don't know. Buddhist monks? They could live off starlight.

As for top-speeds I wonder if 0.2c isn't something of an upper-limit. Alan Bond
in the JBIS wrote an article years ago on the amount of erosion starships would
have to handle from dust, and he calculated that a maximum speed between 0.2 -
0.25 c. I can imagine using UV-lasers to ionise dust and strong fields to
deflect it, but just how much of this is necessary and how practical is yet to
be determined. Perhaps fast starships [+0.3c] will be well armed - with phasers
and photon torpedoes maybe? They'd certainly be well shielded too, making
conflict very interesting. Perhaps fleets will be needed after all?

> Lee

"We come in peace, but we'll shot to kill if you piss us off."