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Thruster May Shorten Mars Trip from 6 Months to 1 Week

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posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:32 PM
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The founder of the Bae Institute, Young Bae, has built a photonic laser thruster (PLT), which, once upscaled they say will be able to shorten trips to Mars from 6 months to 1 week.

Thruster May Shorten Mars Trip


An amplified photon thruster that could potentially shorten the trip to Mars from six months to a week has reportedly attracted the attention of aerospace agencies and contractors.





The demonstration produced a photon thrust of 35 µN and is scalable to achieve much greater thrust for future space missions, the institute said. Applications include highly precise satellite formation flying configurations for building large synthetic apertures in space for earth or space observation, precision contaminant-free spacecraft docking operations, and propelling spacecraft to unprecedented speeds -- faster than 100 km/sec.

“This is the tip of the iceberg," Bae said in a statement from the institute. "PLT has immense potential for the aerospace industry. For example, PLT-powered spacecraft could transit the 100 million km to Mars in less than a week.”



He has been contacted by NASA, JPL, DARPA, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

This is HUGE if what he says is true, to Mars in less than a week?

Here are some other websites with info.

First Photonic Laser Thruster Successfully Demonstrated

Bae Institute demonstrates first photonic laser thruster

Photonic laser thruster produces 35 µN of thrust


[edit on 10/9/07 by Keyhole]




posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:36 PM
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that would certainly speed up mars research and bring us closer to setting foot there. i wonder what the 1 week estimate was based on... propelling something the size of a small probe or something the size of a manned module?



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 01:38 PM
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Alright! This is wonderful news!

Soon we will finally be able to get 1/8 impulse! Engage!



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:03 PM
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Originally posted by an0maly33

... propelling something the size of a small probe or something the size of a manned module?



According to the article, the device can be upscaled, so I kind of take that to mean it could be used on larger space craft.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:08 PM
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Way cool, this will minimize a number of problems with long space journeys. Wonder how long it will take for someone to weaponize it.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:11 PM
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This is truly a potentially great technology, but I wonder if "one week to Mars" is a bit optimistic for a manned flight. I wonder what acceleration and deceleration would be required to get to Mars in one week...and can a human body survive that acceleration/deceleration? For instance, getting up to light speed is fine, but you also need to stop (or slow down) when you get to your destination...I wonder how long it will take to safely get up to speed and to safely slow down, and will that add an appreciable amount of time to the trip.

I'm not knocking this technology -- I think it's a potentially great breakthrough. Even a three week trip is immensely better than a 6 month trip...I just wonder if the one week estimate was derived from figuring the full speed for the entire distance, or if the acceleration/decelaration time were taken into account.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:12 PM
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Civillian, commercial and military entities have already expressed interest in PLT.

From original article


Several aerospace organizations have expressed interest in collaborating with the institute to further develop and integrate PLT into civilian, military and commercial space systems, Bae said, and he has recently been invited to present his work by NASA, JPL, DARPA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).




[edit on 10/9/07 by Keyhole]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by Soylent Green Is People
This is truly a potentially great technology, but I wonder if "one week to Mars" is a bit optimistic for a manned flight. I wonder what acceleration and deceleration would be required to get to Mars in one week...and can a human body survive that acceleration/deceleration?


a = 2s/t^2
Min distance earth/mars = 56000000km
3.5 days acceleration and 3.5 days deceleration

a= 2*28000000000m/(3.5*24*60*60)^2 = 6m/s^2

Not even 1g of acceleration.

So if I am right, it would be a really pleasure of a trip at 2/3 earth gravitation.

Correct me if I did a mistake, I am not an expert.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 03:07 PM
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reply to post by looofo
 


Well, I'm not an expert either...that's why I asked the question


If your calculations are correct, then that is good news! Thanks.



EDIT: Not to beat a dead horse, but I got to thinking...I assume the acceleration has to be more than 1g (not 2/3g -- although 2/3g may be correct for the deceleration). So would the acceleration feel like 1.5g? (the recprocal of 2/3)...1.5g does not sound bad, but what would the affects of 1.5g be for 3 1/2 days of constant acceleration. I would think a body would not like to feel 1.5g for 88 straight hours. I assume it would be a little hard to breathe. Maybe the answer would be a short acceleration time with greater g-forces.

The ISS and the space shuttle are in a free-fall at a constant speed of 17,000 mph +/-, and it's that constant speed that gives the astronauts a feeling of zero-g's.

Maybe they could use the acceleartion of this new propulsion system to create an artificial gravity environment.

I'm not criticizing your computations...I'm just wondering what it all means to human physiology.


[edit on 9/10/2007 by Soylent Green Is People]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 03:33 PM
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post by looofo
 


Any chance of working out the times for a nuclear tipped warhead launched from the USA to hit Bejing or Moscow.

Just asking because we all know the military will have first dibs with this type of technology, then again they might turn round and say "nah, we had that knowledge 40 years ago, next stop Alpha Centauri" lol

Wolfie

Dammit, still not got these reply option sorted, anyways it should read "reply to looofo post"

Time for lie down



[edit on 10/9/07 by Wolfie_UK]

[edit on 10/9/07 by Wolfie_UK]


[edit on 10/9/07 by Wolfie_UK]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 03:40 PM
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Great news, really promising for the future.
Hopefully NASA will invest somewhat on this and get them onto spacecraft as soon as possible.

Like others though, I have some worries. Mainly what the military would do with this, which we all know they will, or even already have.

Time will tell I guess, I know that I'll be following this one very closely.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 04:36 PM
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I was reading about this in another article and Bae said he thinks PLT might even be able to accelerate spacecraft close to the speed of light.

Bae Institute Demonstrates First Photonic Laser Thruster


Bae considers PLT to be well suited to various space applications, such as accelerating spacecraft to near light speed and meeting thrust power requirements for NASA spacecraft formation flight configurations.



He also has a patent pending on, from what I can understand about it, a system that will hold spacecraft in formations (like a tractor beam?).


Another of Bae’s innovations, the patent-pending photon tether formation flight (PTFF), is designed to harness the PLT system to control spacecraft flying in formation with nanometer precision. Bae expects PTFF to offer precision 100,000 times greater than that of today’s formation-flying spacecraft missions, such as the European Space Agency’s upcoming Proba-3, as well as to aid in the creation of large telescopes and synthetic apertures in space for Earth and space monitoring.




posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 06:52 PM
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Originally posted by looofo

a = 2s/t^2
Min distance earth/mars = 56000000km
3.5 days acceleration and 3.5 days deceleration

a= 2*28000000000m/(3.5*24*60*60)^2 = 6m/s^2

Not even 1g of acceleration.

So if I am right, it would be a really pleasure of a trip at 2/3 earth gravitation.

Correct me if I did a mistake, I am not an expert.


Assuming that you used an accurate distance and didn't mess up with your calculator, that should be correct because you used the correct formula.

I'd bet that they plan to use 1g of acceleration, which should allow for 'about a week' of travel time for a range of distances (from the minimum mars/earth distance to some larger distance). But it's a good figure for the minimum acceleration needed. Keep in mind that the mars and earth are further apart than this most of the time.



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 08:52 PM
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Another of Bae’s innovations, the patent-pending photon tether formation flight (PTFF), is designed to harness the PLT system to control spacecraft flying in formation with nanometer precision. Bae expects PTFF to offer precision 100,000 times greater than that of today’s formation-flying spacecraft missions,



Errr.....what formation-flying spacecraft missions are they talking about? Hmmmmm......



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 09:07 PM
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reply to post by boomadatigger
 


^
^^Here's the formation-flying spacecraft that was specifically mentioned in the article:


...Proba-3, currently in its preparatory study phase, will comprise of two independent, three-axis stabilised spacecraft flying close to one another with the ability to accurately control the attitude and separation of the two craft...


Here's a link to ESA's page on the 'Proba-3' mission

www.esa.int...

[edit on 9/10/2007 by Soylent Green Is People]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 09:12 PM
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If this is true WOW.
Amazing stuff. I wonder what the future will hold!



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 09:15 PM
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Cool part is they could build a really big box car type ships that just did continuous runs back and forth. Now here is the next step to get to the planet.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 09:18 PM
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Originally posted by Wolfie_UK
post by looofo
 


Any chance of working out the times for a nuclear tipped warhead launched from the USA to hit Bejing or Moscow.


It would be cheaper to just use what they got. When you launch an ICBM it only takes like 30-40 minutes to hit it's target. This type of propulsion would only be feasible in a very large spacecraft methinks and it wouldn't be able to achieve it's own lift in a gravity well, that is unless anti-gravity gets discovered/unveiled.

Anyways, at the rate technology is going it seems that the next superweapons will be fusion powered Directed Energy Weapons. It will render large scale ballistic-based weapons system obsolete, but that is a different subject lol.

[edit on 10-9-2007 by sardion2000]



posted on Sep, 10 2007 @ 09:37 PM
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reply to post by boomadatigger
 


Heh. That's for really good spy satellites.

Here comes the science.

Your resolution of ground targets from space, if you ignore the effects of the atmosphere, is limited by the aperture size of your telescope and the wavelengths of the light used in the observation. The stuff you see on movies like Enemy of the State just don't happen - you can't zoom in to whatever magnification you like. The aperture not being infinite, you lose information. The larger the aperture, and the "bluer" the light you're seeing with, the smaller the detail on the ground you can resolve. Beyond this limit, there is no data, and you can "enhance" all you like and you still won't get anything but mush.

Now, our old friends at the alphabet soup agencies have the very best optical imaging possible, but you still can't see really small details due to the aperture related resolution limits.

So instead of doing optical imaging, they quite often (read: most of the time) use a synthetic aperture imager like Lacrosse. You can use coherent light or radio waves to make a non-optical image of your target, and you can fake having a really big aperture with some mathematical wizardry, a very precise coherent source and a steady orbital speed. You can fake having apertures of immense diameter. Thus you can do 3D voxel images of targets from a distance that can be quite detailed.

Here's a snap of an image like that:


This was a non-optical image taken at a distance from an airplane. It's sort of 3D in practice - you can zoom and rotate in 3 dimensions to some extent - it doesn't image the very back, at least not from the vantage they had, but you get more of the image than you see here. It's a bad photo. You can get quite close. The production version had rumors of something like 1mm voxels.

But as you can see, it's not an optical image. If something were written on the truck, you wouldn't see it, because this sort of thing finds surfaces, not optical details. Given a high enough voxel resolution though, you can identify people.

But optical images are real nice. You can tell a lot from SAR imagery, but there's nothing like a photo. How might you achieve this? By combining a number of telescopes of smaller aperture! You can take an array of smaller telescopes, and by using more math, signal processing and trickery, make it seem as if you have a telescope with an aperture as large as the separation between them. There are limits on that, of course, a sparsely populated matrix will give you multiple overlapping images like being crosseyed, so you have to have enough of them, but it's at least possible. The big problem is, you also have to know exactly where each image was taken from in order to do this, and that requires that you have formation flights that are precisely spaced - down to the nanometer. That's damn tough to do. Small differences in orbit, tides, gravitational anomalies from mascons, all of these will move your satellites around far too much.

They tried to do this for a while by spinning three satellites on tethers fast enough to tighten up the tethers, then using a sort of super-precise measuring technique to determine where they were in relation to each other, but it's sloppy and doesn't work well.

If this new trick works, then we could have spy satellites actually able to resolve faces in optical images. That's why you see the guys ponying up the bucks to see it, and also why they are pitching this application to the military.

Here's NASA's pitch for it, there are others that aren't so politically correct:



S2.01 Precision Spacecraft Formations for Telescope Systems
Lead Center: JPL
Participating Center(s): GSFC

This subtopic seeks hardware and software technologies necessary to establish, maintain, and operate precision spacecraft formations to a level that enables cost effective large aperture and separated spacecraft optical telescopes and interferometers. Also sought are technologies (analysis, algorithms, and testbeds) to enable detailed analysis, synthesis, modeling, and visualization of such distributed systems.

Formation flight can synthesize large effective telescope apertures through, multiple, collaborative, smaller telescopes in a precision formation. Large effective apertures can also be achieved by tiling curved segments to form an aperture larger than can be achieved in a single launch, for deep-space high resolution imaging of faint astrophysical sources. These formations require the capability for autonomous precision alignment and synchronized maneuvers, reconfigurations, and collision avoidance. The spacecraft also require onboard capability for optimal path planning and time optimal maneuver design and execution.

Innovations are solicited for: (a) development of nanometer to sub-nanometer metrology for measuring inter-spacecraft range and/or bearing for space telescopes and interferometers (b) development of combined cm-to-nanometer-level precision formation flying control of numerous spacecraft and their optics to enable large baseline, sparse aperture UV/optical and X-ray telescopes and interferometers for ultra-high angular resolution imagery. Proposals addressing staged-control experiments which combine coarse formation control with fine-level wavefront sensing based control are encouraged.

Innovations are also solicited for distributed spacecraft systems in the following areas:

* Distributed, multi-timing, high fidelity simulations;
* Formation modeling techniques;
* Precision guidance and control architectures and design methodologies;
* Centralized and decentralized formation estimation;
* Distributed sensor fusion;
* RF and optical precision metrology systems;
* Formation sensors;
* Precision microthrusters/actuators;
* Autonomous reconfigurable formation techniques;
* Optimal, synchronized, maneuver design methodologies;
* Collision avoidance mechanisms;
* Formation management and station keeping.



posted on Sep, 11 2007 @ 12:18 AM
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Great info, thanks for posting!

But the bit about "accelerating spacecraft to near light speed" has me a bit skeptical. Having a large spacecraft travel near the speed of light doesn't seem plausible OR practical. Hopefully this was just a miscommunication.



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