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starship-design: YES, we might do it.
David Levine wrote:
> So, let's say the definition is simple: a manned
> mission that travels to the very closest star system, Proxima Centauri,
> within the working lifetime of the crew (i.e. they are physically
> capable crew when the mission starts and when the mission arrives). I
> don't even care about the return trip just yet (we can get to that
> next). Will it be possible or not?
> My gut instinct tells me "yes", but at a dramatic cost. What does
> everyone else think?
> David Levine email@example.com
> Director of Development http://www.playlink.com/
> PlayLink (212) 387-8200
> Professional Driver. Closed Track. Do not attempt.
Possible, yes. Happening, probably not. I seriously doubt we'll be launching
Outer Planet missions by then, let alone interstellar flights. Some Orbital
Cities might be up and running, while Mars colonisation might be starting to
pick up leading to terraforming tests. I'm being pessimistic, but given the
current state of space who can blame me?
I'd really like to see Stephen Baxter's Saturn mission. See his book
"Titan". It'd be a great way to use all that 1960s and 70s tech that is rust
arounding the US.
I could be wrong, if someone develops an inertialess drive. And vacuum
But since this is an engineering exercise I'm willing to go along with it.
Just how far ahead can we imagine?
Tech-wise I mean.
Another point is how willing we are to invoke antimatter, but just how much
energy can it realistically produce in a rocket jet? I've heard estimates of
only 1 - 2 %. That'd be fine [better than fusion], but we'd need to make the
stuff in massive quantities. Ultra-high energy density lasers are becoming
possible, so some sort of direct conversion system might yet happen in the
near term. Anti-matter would be great for Sol space travel in smallish
quantities even. For IS flight, I'm not so sure.
Pardon my ignore but what's VASIMR?