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starship-design: Thoughts on antimatter and fusion...
While reading a recent post a thought occurred to me. Forgetting for the
moment that ANY drive that requires reaction mass is inherently unsuited for
Everyone has always assumed that the epitome of reaction drives is the
Antimatter Drive. The basis for this belief has been the supposition that
since antimatter/matter reaction is the ONLY way to get 100 percent
conversion of mass to energy, then it would naturally be the ONLY way to get
nearly 100 percent efficiency out of the engine.
Here is the thought:
The key here is getting 100 percent conversion of mass to energy, NOT the
antimatter/matter reaction. What we are actually looking for is ANY method
of converting a given amount of mass into 100 percent energy, preferably in
a (somewhat) controlled manner. So perhaps we should expand our thinking a
little. There might be some method (don't ask me, I'm just brainstorming) to
persuade matter to give up its all without resorting to antimatter.
Maybe there is some way of causing a stick of beryllium to turn into a
coherent beam of gamma radiation without wasting an enormous amount of
energy in the process. This would constitute a photon drive, every bit as
efficient as antimatter/matter conversion.
Or perhaps, along the line of the guns in Hammer's Slammers, some
interesting construction of plastic that merely requires a moderate amount
of current to set it off.
Or maybe we could create and focus a directed release of vacuum energy, now
THERE is an idea...