posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 02:02 AM
Not a ground breaking new idea, but an idea that is becoming a reality. Magbeam is a proposed technology that is currently being developed by the
clever people at the University of Washington and is also being pushed by NASA. It is basically a form of propultion similar to the designs of a
. But unlike a solar sail, it doesn't rely on reflecting the solar radiation from our
sun. It will utilise an intentionally generate beam of plasma. And instead of having a physical sail, it will utilise a magnetic field to catch the
There will be stationary satellites at both the departure location and destinations. The satellites will be either nuclear powered or solar powered. A
4 hour burst of laser can accelerate a payload to the desired speed. Once the destination has been reached, another laser generator will slow it down
as it comes in. They have estimated that they can reduce the duration of travel by 6 times.
It has been tested at the University of Washington, however there have been no space tests as yet. Dr. Winglee believes we could have a functioning
system within 5 years if funding remains consistent. He is helping develop the high power helicon (HPH) which can generate a plasma beam that is self
focusing and up to 100 times more powerful than the natural plasma winds from the sun.
- Reduces travel time
- Solar powered possible
- Massive reduction in payload weight, reducing the cost of launch.
- Reduced mass of craft enables quicker thrust.
- Able to 'power' more than one craft at a time to different destinations.
What are your thoughts on this? I think this will be a huge step in space exploration if it gets going. We will be able to send probes to many parts
of the solar system in very short time. Even manned missions to mars.
What would be the dangers of using highly focuses power beams of plasma in space? Could something go wrong? Wouldn't want to focus that sucker
especially if its in Low Earth Orbit.