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anything better than good old chemical rockets??

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posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 10:09 AM
Hey there...

I'm wondering if chemical rockets are really the best solution for manned interplanetary travel out there. Let me explain....

Chemical rockets are really a bit slow for manned interplanetary travel. We could go to Mars, but for further missions it would be much better and probably cheaper to have some faster spacecrafts.

Ion propulsion is faster, but not so much and on small distances not so faster at all (also for small distances it would be better to have faster crafts).

Solar sails are very cheap, but have very slow acceleration.

Nuclear thermal rockets are very interesting, but sadly they contaminate the space. The last thing I want is to have contaminated space, so we would have to build protected (and very heavy) ships.

The use of shielded nuclear powerplant to power lasers or some other heating equipment is not an option, since it would weight way too much (small nuclear reactor weights 500 tons, Saturn V S-IVB weighted 120 tons). I was wondering whether it was possible with nuclear fusion (when we make fusion reactors), since the product of fusion is just a neutron, which could be easily shielded??

Solar thermal propulsion rockets are interesting, but they require quite some time to propel a spacecraft to a respected speed (just like Ion engines).

Any serious ideas (not propulsions that violate the laws of physics) ???


posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 10:12 AM
Ion thruster is the best we have right now i think...and even thats pretty crap for such distances,the key to travelling such vast distances is to not travel at all.Teleportation...many people say this would kill a human,but if rearranged properly..since its instant i dont see how it would.

And it doesnt violate the law of physics...scientist have already teleported an atom,no propulsion system is capable of travelling across the galaxy nevermind the universe..unless time isnt a factor,cryogenically freezing the passengers etc

[edit on 8-12-2008 by Solomons]

[edit on 8-12-2008 by Solomons]

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 01:05 PM
Well it's a long way to teleporting. And I know Ion thruster is the best we have, but what is possible, but we don't have??

posted on Dec, 8 2008 @ 03:01 PM
reply to post by sovietman
VASIMR - Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket. Aside from having a way-cool techno name, it bridges the gap between low-thrust, high specific impulse ion engines which are unsuitable for manned missions, and high thrust, low specific impulse chemical engines. It can operate variably in either mode, hence the name variable specific impulse. That's exactly what's needed for the next generation of interplanetary propulsion suitable for manned flight. Ion engines take far too long to build up speed for a manned flight. Chemical engine burns only last on the order of minutes, and while that's nice, it'd be ok to extend that out to hours instead of minutes if you could trade off thrust for impulse. VASIMR should allow us to do just that. The catch is that the power needed to operate such an engine is far more than a typical spacecraft's solar panels could provide, it'll need a nuclear reactor.

For the first manned test we'll probably attach one to ISS to tap into the solar array's power just as a proof of concept, though ISS itself is far too massive and generally too fragile for an interplanetary mission (small reboosts are done over several minutes to avoid stressing the joints - imagine trying to do an earth orbit ejection, not going to happen). Naturally, we've never launched a full-blown nuclear reactor before, let alone for a manned mission. It'll be extremely heavy and require quite a booster to get the engine into orbit by itself, the manned section(s) will probably be attached on a later launch.

[edit on 8-12-2008 by ngchunter]

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