Re: minsky vs solar sails

Technotranscendence (
Sat, 24 Jul 1999 14:59:19 -0700

On Saturday, July 24, 1999 9:10 AM Rik van Riel <> wrote:
> > Solar sails are good. When they are far from the sun (a towed
> > sun? elliptical speculation...) then they could shed or fold the
> > sails, deploy Bussard ramjet, and then scoop interstellar
> > hydrogen.
> Use a ramjet and scoop interstellar hydrogen? It sounds
> interesting, basically because I can't visualize how it
> works...

It uses magnetic fields to gather interstelling hydrogen, then compresses the hydrogen and fuses it. I've heard it said that this would not work because the hydrogen would create too much drag and pile up in front of the craft. (I've not done the numbers, so I don't know.)

The artist's depictions of this I've seen look like a long tube with a funnel in front. Of course, most of that funnel would be magnetic -- hence invisible.

> Does anybody have a URL where I can see how these things
> are supposed to work?

See the links at:


Daniel Ust