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Re: starship-design: Thoughts on antimatter and fusion...

> ANY drive that requires reaction mass is inherently unsuited for
> Interstellar space...

It's unwarranted to dismiss the reaction drive out of hand. That's the only
thing that we know works. We have firm physical expectation that the photon
drive will work, but no concrete reason to believe it preferable to
rocketry. We can also expect that acceleration may be available from
crossing magnetic lines of force, which are demonstrably present in
interstellar space, for electric motors work that way. However, no net
impetus is attained parallel to such lines of force. Electromagnetic drives
won't get you much of anywhere. These three possibilities exhaust the
physically demonstrated principles for space drives, and beyond these lies
ectoplasmic vaporware.

I feel it's presumptuous to reject rocketry for the flashlight drive, when
no one has a clue how the photons might be generated. Respondents here favor
the (near) perfect conversion of mass to energy; so do we all. Until we know
how to perfectly transduce one form of energy into another, say electricity
into light, this is not even theorizing, just wishful thinking. I'd like to
get some engineering done, show us the iron. OK, a resistance heater will
perfectly transform electrical energy into (mostly infrared) light, but this
has a blackbody spectrum, can't be collimated, so makes a lousy drive.

I think what I proposed last year, a relativistic linear accelerator for a
reaction drive, will equal or beat (in terms of efficiency) any specific
proposal you can produce for a drive based on photons generated onboard the

Johnny Thunderbird