Samantha Atkins writes:
> At least if you coast most of the way to Mars. If you could go with say
> a nuclear powered ship under constant acceleration the trip would be
Newly proposed magnetic plasma solar wind sail would seem to be more
suitable. Superconducting coil (a backup PV panel powered coil if case
you quench), fed the dewar boiloff into the PV-powerd plasma generator
-- constant force acceleration independant of solar distance, verry
nice. Also provides solar flare protection. You can probably combine
this with ion/plasma thruster. And, of course, solar sails. With this
tech you could probably make the trip a lot shorter than the estimated
6 months, and the craft much lighter.
On the long run we have to think about orbital microwave generators,
to power light probes using carbon truss cloth sails. But, these
things will be expensive to launch. Can one beam microwaves from the
Earth surface, using gigantic phased arrays?
> much shorter and these effects would not occur so much. More expensive,
> a lot of reaction mass carried along.
Much better to use that mass at high velocities, and rely on free
reaction mass (solar wind and photons) wherever possible.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:50:18 MDT