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Re: RE: RE: starship-design: Casimir-Foreward balloon
In a message dated 1/16/00 8:40:37 AM, email@example.com writes:
>> Connor writes:
>> > On another unrelated propulsion topic, a physicist friend
>> of mine was
>> > telling me about virtual particles (a particle and an anti particle
>> > are constantly popping into existence and annihilating
>> eachother, so
>> > to conserve matter another two pop in, and so on. At any given time
>> > there are virtual particles all around, appearing and dissapearing.
>> > I was wondering how theoretical this is, if you guys buy
>> it (or have
>> > heard of it), and how it could be applied to propulsion. I
>> think the
>> > startrek ships fly with matter-antimatter reactions. Could
>> they just
>> > bussard the matter/antimatter out of space and let them go off in
>> > combustion chamber?
>> Steve writes:
>> Virtual particles are pretty well accepted in quantum mechanics, but
>> their fundamental property is that their energy is borrowed from the
>> vacuum and has to be given back. A virtual particle either has to
>> disappear shortly after its formation or something else has to give up
>> energy for the virtual particle to remain in existence.
>> A lot of the talk about "zero point energy" is essentially the idea of
>> somehow permanently extracting energy from the vacuum; in theory for
>> various kinds of quantum effects to happen, there has to be a pretty
>> deep pool of energy in the vacuum for them to temporarily borrow from.
>> Whether it's really possible to permanently take energy from
>> the vacuum
>> is still a big question, though.
>The pool of energy is so large that if we do manage to tap it we had best
>VERY careful. The "accidental" release of the energy contained in only
>cubic centimeters would vaporize a planet...
>Maybe this is one of those children with matches things. We should leave
>alone until we are older and wiser!
You could say the same thing about matches, course you never get wiser until
One idea I heard was that virtual partical ALMOST always ae reabsorbed, but
sometimes they separte out which can cause new mass creation in the universe.
Maybe we can artificially up the odds to get the fuel we want.
One things for sure. Unless we can come up with some exotic trick like that.
Were not going to be doing much starflight. Not even to nearby stars.