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 normaldude
Joined: 3/8/2006
Msg: 1
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warp factor 3 mr sulu!Page 1 of 1    
after watching scientists trying to figure out how to keep alive astronauts on a year long voyage to mars it looks like technology will bypass the problem with the emergence of small but powerful solid state plasma engines. A nova scotia company is involved in this potential leap in design. Fuel efficiency has come to rocket engines! Estimates are 40 days to get to Mars! Beam me up scottie!!!!
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/01/07/tech-space-plasma-rocket-nautel.html
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 2
warp factor 3 mr sulu!
Posted: 1/8/2010 9:03:25 AM
Most of the health problems are caused by a lack of gravity. By putting spin on a habitat they could produce an "artificial gravity" that would compensate for this. But they have a hard time doing this because of the stresses on the ship caused by the spin. An engineering problem...but certainly not unbeatable.
A constant boost to halfway point followed by constant deceleration would speed things up a lot. Apollo used a "big boost" followed by coasting to the moon rather than constant acceleration followed by slowing down.
The big question here is 'What were a bunch of blue-nosers doing fooling around with rockets?" Thought that bunch were more interested in building racing schooners and such...so watch the Americas Cup race and watch for booster rockets on any Canadian entries!
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 3
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warp factor 3 mr sulu!
Posted: 1/8/2010 4:33:14 PM
Anything's possible.

The CBC article says that NASA is interested.

The New Scientist article says it will need 0.3 tonnes of Argon. I have no idea where they will get 300 kg of Argon from. But I guess they can.

It will need a 100 Mw engine. Right now, they are hoping to test a 200 kw engine in 2013. So all we need to do is make an engine 500 times as fast by 2014, and we're set.

Oh, and somehow make 40 days appear to be like 21 days to human bodies.

Again, all surmountable, given infinite time.

Personally, I just think this is put out there for PR. A lot of people lost their jobs in the Credit Crunch. So a LOT of people are asking why do we need NASA, when so many Americans are out of work, and when we have serious cuts to cover the costs of global warming and moving away from oil.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 4
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warp factor 3 mr sulu!
Posted: 1/10/2010 4:20:04 AM
RE Msg: 6 by quietjohn2:
If a 200 kW engine develops a few pounds of thrust, an engine 500 times bigger will ony develop a few tons of thrust. If the space vehicle weighs close to the 80 tons of empty shuttle weight, does that mean acceleration will only be a tiny fraction of g?
It doesn't matter. If the acceleration is able to be provided constantly by the engines, then we only need an acceleration of about 1/100th of 1 g to get to Mars in 40 days.

Even at a constant acceleration of 1 g, it would only take about 4-5 days to reach Mars.

Of course, that depends on if we can get enough Argon together. If we could invent a ramscoop to scoop up the hydrogen in space, and use that as ions instead of stored Argon, we could probably use a single nuclear reactor to generate the acceleration, and then going to Mars could be quite an easy journey.
 jaroka
Joined: 9/21/2009
Msg: 5
warp factor 3 mr sulu!
Posted: 1/10/2010 9:57:31 AM
"Personally, I just think this is put out there for PR. A lot of people lost their jobs in the Credit Crunch. So a LOT of people are asking why do we need NASA, when so many Americans are out of work, and when we have serious cuts to cover the costs of global warming and moving away from oil."

I absolutely agree. A hundred percent.

My only addition is that people are not asking questions, not necessarily these but others, only because they are adamant or feel the world could be run better. No, sir. Indeed, they ask questions for the very one biggest reason, which is that they are unemployed, they have the time to think things through, and they therefore have a chance to get stuck at one point or another in their line of reasoning, and then they ask questions.

Basically, the more free time people have, the more questions they ask.
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