"Mesoparticle Beam Propulsion"

Forrest Bishop (forrestb@ix.netcom.com)
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 14:35:42 -0600 (CST)

This is submitted to the *Journal of the British Interplanetary
Contact me if you would like a email or hardcopy (with the figures)

Copyright (c) 1997 Forrest Bishop, All Rights Reserved

Forrest Bishop
Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering, Seattle, Washington, USA

Between the proposals for particle beam and pellet stream spacecraft
propulsion lies an immense, largely unexplored regime. Pushing a
spacecraft using a collimated beam of mesoscopic particles, very
roughly on the order o
f a nanogram mass each (plus or minus several orders of magnitude),
presents new opportunities for high speed interplanetary manned
transportation. This kind of beam can be tailored in velocity, mass
flow, and beam profil
e parameters to fit the mission requirements. The first example of a
mesoparticle accelerator the author is aware of is his
"Starseed/Launcher" accelerator. By ganging many thousands of these
devices together, several gra
ms per second can be fired in a nearly continuous, collimated matter
beam, at speeds from a few meters per second, to a few percent of
lightspeed. The receiver onboard the spacecraft may be as simple as a
pusher plate. Tw
o novel mesoparticle accelerator designs are presented.

1. Introduction
Between the the mighty powerplants of the laser sailors and the
gigantic accelerators for pellet stream propulsion lies an immense,
largely unexplored, spaceflight regime. By using very many dust or
smoke sized particl
es a high speed accelerator can be built that is quite a reasonable
size, with a moderately proportioned electric powerplant. The problem
of being able to maintain the collimation of this kind of force beam
over large dist
ances is a difficult one, but probably solvable, especially if
molecular nanotechnolgy is brought to bear. For high accelerations over
short distances, picoradian beam collimation may not even be desirable.