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To mars and back in 90 days

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posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 02:02 AM
Magbeam Tecnology.

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 Solar Sail. 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 beam.

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.

Advantages include:
- 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 towards earth
especially if its in Low Earth Orbit.


posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 03:16 AM
Sounds very interesting but there are major diadvantages to the idea, namely :

1. The need for two satellites at departure and destination to generate the plasma beams.

2. Amount of power that each plasma beam needs plus how to generate it.

3. Defocusing of the plasma beam over large distances and the interaction of the beam with obstacles and the interplanetary magnetic fields present. Plasma beam containment.

4. Reaction to beam to large solar flares and highly ionised particle streams from the Sun

5. Quality of the intercepting surface on the target modules and their erosion over time whilst in space.

6. Protection of crew and equipment in target module from plasma beam.

and a raft of other concerns that I could list but would make the post too long. No, instead of trying somethng like this, they'd be better off using a newly invented type of ion drive which would get you there and back in the same, if not shorter, amount of time.....called a Helicon Double layer Thruster. See this site for details.....

posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 08:18 AM
Good ol Aussie ingenuity, I'm proud to be one
. I really hope this HDLT is the answer NASA is looking for. Much better idea than the plasma beams, I hope it can provide the same amount of thrust as the plasma beams, if not more.

posted on Sep, 20 2006 @ 10:09 AM
It should be but NASA is working on one of their own competing ideas. It'll probably be the one to get the thumbs up, even though the Aussie system is clearly the superior drive. In actual fact, the chief scientist of the NASA project has been out here to get ideas and some advice. About 10-15 years ago, the NASA scientists came out here to ANU to find out how we were actually doing what we were with ion propulsion, and took back the ideas to build their own new testbed drives.

Just like the JET (Joint European Torus) project in France. Everytime they get into a bit of trouble with the workings of the reactor, they come out here to ANU for advice. Their chief engineer and several of their top technicians were from Oz. I don't know too much about now, though. I think most have left there.

[edit on 20-9-2006 by GhostITM]

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