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NASA to consider Free Ranging Space Ships

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posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 06:54 AM
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Originally posted by Larryman
How about Solar Wind Sailing? I think that would be within current technology capability.

If you had unlimited time for your voyages, it might be possible. The quantum of acceleration offered by this form of propulsion is tiny. The reason it could work for long-distance spaceflight is that even a tiny acceleration builds up to a heck of a lot of speed so long as it is maintained without any change of direction. But a free-ranging ship doesn't have that luxury.

Also, you would have to find a way of steering. How else could you travel insystem? The solar wind blows only one way - outsystemwards. On Earth, sailing ships can change direction by playing the wind off against the current or the friction of water against the keel. There's no friction in space.

I don't think this could work, but I'd be happy to learn otherwise.




posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 07:01 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
but ideas that respect the laws of physics and the limits of current technology.)


If an idea works then it works due to the law of physics whether you like it or not. There's a difference between the laws of physics and the laws of textbook physics. The technology is there, it's even cheap and simple. We as the people just need to wake up and support it and end these ridiculous space flights that cost billions of dollars. Don't think NASA is willing to put YOU on mars. We have to become independent in order for that to happen.


[edit on 13-8-2009 by broli]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 07:30 AM
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We need a space-rail gun! Screw the space elevator, we need to make an 80-100 km electromagnetic railway gun system leading up a mountain, perhaps 2-3 km into the air propelling things into orbit. The main challenge of space travel is putting things out of the atmosphere and out of range of the thick of Earth's gravity. From there it is just a job of assembling devices as large as we like, as much rocket fuel as we like, because the reality is, that if we want a maneuverable ship it's going to use fossil fuels, that's the best we have.

Rail gun anyone?



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 07:33 AM
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reply to post by broli
 

Aren't you that free energy chap pretending to be his own fan in this Skunk Works thread?

More 'outlaws of physics' than 'laws of physics', I'd say.


[edit on 13/8/09 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 08:07 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I didn't know it has become a fact that I am keshe, I guess I must convince myself too now.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by SpacePunk
 


Great post SpacePunk.

I really like the last video. This however doesn't spell gloom and doom for humanity. I think we are a victims of our own imaginations. We sit here and watch TV shows and movies about deep space travel then we look over at what NASA has been doing and at the reality of what is known to the public and we feel disheartened at the lack of progress.

When in reality it was only a few short years ago we stepped on the moon. When we consider just how really short of a period man has been in existence when compared to the age of the universe we are actually exploding onto the scene in my opinion. OK so most of us will only live for say anywhere from 60 to 80 years. This does not mean that in another 200 or 300 years we wont advance enough to actually learn the basics for deep space travel.

Look at the US shuttle fleet. Not bad when you consider it was designed and engineered in the early 70s. Just imagine what we could do with known present day technology and if we had our priorities right and focused our collective attention what we could potentially create.


I say not bad at all.



(click to open player in new window)



Not only that. If we are not alone in the universe and others have come before us who knows if we wont stumble across them or find some of their technology along the way. This would only add to our own ever increasing knowledge.

No...

I'm actually very optimistic and I say we have been doing a fantastic job with already known off the shelf technology. I just wish the Pentagon would let loose with more of the exotic technologies they have been hording for decades all in the name of national security.


We never know what we might find along the way.



(click to open player in new window)








[edit on 13-8-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:11 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 





I'm actually very optimistic and I say we have been doing a fantastic job with already known off the shelf technology. I just wish the Pentagon would let loose with more of the exotic technologies they have been hording for decades all in the name of national security.


I feel the same way, I wish they would hurry up so we can still see some of these technologies in our lifetimes. Rockets are cool but they are such old outmoded technologies for space travel!

I look at progress in these areas as a slow gradual process, a small amount at a time according to the needs of mankind. We really don't need free energy right now. More efficient energy systems similar to the ones we have would be nice. eg. a very high efficiency solar pannel. The recent bubble in gasoline prices might have shaken loose some of the energy technologies if it had persisted, but it didn't.

Global warming/ climate change scares some people, especially the big government types eg. Cap n Trade proponents. But GW overall is a lame excuse for radical energy policy change. Where is the proof? Sea level changes if they ever occur. Everything else is too subjective IMHO.

I see innovation on propulsion occurring when we really dedicate ourselves to putting men on Mars.

I don't think that the man on the street is actually in charge of our technological innovation. TPTB are and we don't even know who they are really.

Waiting patiently...



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 09:17 PM
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Free range spaceships? Are they manned by chickens?



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by The_Modulus
We need a space-rail gun! Screw the space elevator, we need to make an 80-100 km electromagnetic railway gun system leading up a mountain


I'm sure that violates a few international agreements?
Wont it?



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 12:59 PM
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I think by free ranging spaceships (terrible terrible phrase) i think he means develop propulsion technology that can be more flexible than just limping to the moon.

1. A modern heavy lift chemical rocket (Saturn V or larger)
2. Some form of nuclear thermal propulsion.

Once we've mastered that and we've got people routinely visiting Mars and asteroids we can think about moving onwards to anti-matter propulsion to take us further out.

Theres a workable middle ground between the tech of the 1940s and the tech of Sci-Fi channel. Unfortunately the companies with lobbying power have a vested interest in just churning out chemical rockets because the big contractors are in the business of selling chemical rockets.

The more we bang on about warp drives and dark matter the more likely we are to get ignored and therefore be stuck with whatever it is easy to churn out. Politicians just want pork. They don't care whether it achieves anything or not. Any achievement is always a happy by product sneaked under the radar by engineers.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:06 PM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 


Free ranging requires new propulsion systems?
What about the recent launching of the US military’s top secret X-37B shuttle? Since it has no crew it can theoretically range anywhere it wants.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:18 PM
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In orbit yes. However, to go anywhere else its going to run into the same limitations as current NASA vehicles. it takes an age to get anywhere.

Its just a small robot shuttle. The x-37 is cool and has great utility as a space weapon/espionage tool. Its not a space exploration tool though. Which is what i thought the thread was about.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by justwokeup
 


How about a free ranging craft within our own solar system not interstellar?



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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Originally posted by SLAYER69
...My big question would be how would it be powered and what type of engine would it be?...


Perhaps ion-thrust engines? (which NASA has now).

The point of "free-ranging" means engines that can be started and stopped numerous times to allow the craft to move from place-to-place/numerous destinations. Right now, at least 95% of all the thrust a traditional chemical-fueled spacecraft uses is spent on lift-off. After that, the ship mainly drifts (with maybe a little fuel saved to maneuver).

A free ranging ship will be more fuel-efficient -- i.e., it won't be a chemical rocket. It will be some sort of electrical propulsion, like an ion thruster, that can be shut off at one destination, then turned on again to go to a second destination.

For example, the Voyager spacecraft were chemically fueled. They only did very fast "fly-bys" of each destination -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. The Voyagers could not go into orbit around those planets and later be able to "move on to the next".

However, if a craft was "free ranging" (with electrical propulsion), it could go into orbit at Jupiter to get a good look, then got to Saturn (and stop there to get a good look), then move on to Uranus (and stop there), etc...

Ion Thruster
Ion Thruster Wiki
Electrical Propulsion Wiki


edit on 9/28/2010 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:22 PM
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Originally posted by justwokeup
In orbit yes. However, to go anywhere else its going to run into the same limitations as current NASA vehicles. it takes an age to get anywhere.

Its just a small robot shuttle. The x-37 is cool and has great utility as a space weapon/espionage tool. Its not a space exploration tool though. Which is what i thought the thread was about.


What I was referring to is the technology that's available now in the X craft not necessarily a weapons platform etc.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:34 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


You could but why bother? Its not going to be any faster or any more flexible then anything we've sent out previous. Its still hobbled by the fact its using chemical propulsion. If something has a transit time measured in years to anywhere theres little point making it a spaceplane.

We can do better. All the sensible options require more power than you can get from batteries, solar or RTG. We need space based fission reactors. Without that we're stuck in the back yard.

The reasons we haven't are political rather than practical.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by justwokeup
Its still hobbled by the fact its using chemical propulsion. If something has a transit time measured in years to anywhere theres little point making it a spaceplane.


That is the whole point IMO. It is unmanned, taking a few years to get anywhere without worrying about food, water and medical care for a crew would be no big deal. Store one or two of these guys in it.


NASA to Launch Human-Like Robot to Join Space Station Crew

WASHINGTON -- NASA will launch the first human-like robot to space later this year to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station. Robonaut 2, or R2, was developed jointly by NASA and General Motors under a cooperative agreement to develop a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, whether they are astronauts in space or workers at GM manufacturing plants on Earth.

The 300-pound R2 consists of a head and a torso with two arms and two hands. R2 will launch on space shuttle Discovery as part of the STS-133 mission planned for September. Once aboard the station, engineers will monitor how the robot operates in weightlessness. Throughout its first decade in orbit, the space station has served as a test bed for human and robotic teamwork for construction, maintenance and science.



posted on Sep, 28 2010 @ 03:47 PM
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Thats conceptually no different than what we've been doing since the 70s with older robot probes. Nothing wrong with it. It depends on what your long term goal is.

If its science for science sake yeah, do it at a slower pace with robots, its cheaper (I agree that robot is very cool).

If the goal is getting humanity established on other worlds and controlling our solar system to prevent being struck by an asteroid we need better propulsion tech.

I understand where you are coming from. I'd just invest in propulsion as an enabler now.



posted on Sep, 29 2010 @ 09:40 AM
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i know this concept sounds crazy, but it does offer a practical solution to getting around in space at moderately higher speeds compared to our space probes and can be made using technologies that we have today.



Project Orion


edit on 9.29.10 by toreishi because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 29 2010 @ 12:45 PM
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Cool video. I first came across Orion while reading a SF book called Footfall in the 1980s. It was only later on I realised it was actually a real concept from the cold war !

The version in the video at least uses chemical rockets to leave the atmosphere. The original concept has it nuking its way into orbit as well....not exactly environmentally friendly.

Its probably our only option if we ever need to launch some Battlestar Galactica sized contraption in a hurry, it has brute force going for it. Its actually pretty wasteful of energy though. A lot of the energy just goes uselessly off into space. Nuclear Thermal is a better idea.

en.wikipedia.org...

We could do this if we wanted. Only a lack of will stops us.



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