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RE: starship-design: Casimir-Foreward balloon
Timothy (in particular),
I wasn't privy to much of Connor's conversation with you, but I think I do
have a little idea how he intended it to work. Think of an old fashioned
laser with a rod of material and a reflector at each end with a flash lamp
wrapped around it.
The light from the flash lamp comes in from basically all directions and is
emitted in only one. His design is very similar except that the mirror is
one way and spherical - a semi-permeable membrane, in which microwaves come
in from all directions and go out in only one - the hole.
Although elegant, I don't believe he will get any net thrust out of it. The
momentum vector will still sum to zero if you are using externally supplied
radiation as the pumping device.
"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier."