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Which is the wierder/cooler propulsion system?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. Which is the weirder/cooler propulsion system?

    • Antimatter drive
      5
    • Kugelblitz drive
      16


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Assuming the Alcubierre drive doesn't pan out, what other propulsion systems could we use to zip through the galaxy in style?

It comes down to these two:

The Kugelblitz drive (Aka, the Black hole drive) which could accelerate a spacecraft to 10% c in 20 days and is just simply AWESOME: http://news.discovery.com/space/powering-a-starship-with-a-black-hole-engine-140114.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_starship

And the Anti-matter drive which could get us to 99.9999999999999999999999% c and could allow us to TIME TRAVEL TO THE FUTURE, as well as getting us to the stars pretty darn quickly. Additionally, it would also be the power source for the Alcubierre drive if it turns out to work due to it's energy density.  Finally, it's in some ways near term, seeing as we could just go to Jupiter for the AM, with the only problems being collecting/storing the stuff.

http://news.discovery.com/space/revving-up-the-antimatter-engine-120927.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter_rocket

Here's a really cool video made by PBS space time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzZGPCyrpSU

Both are really cool propulsion systems, and would give us style points. Now they are pretty complicated, but at least they don't break the light barrier. :)

Edited by Spaceception
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Both have very serious drawbacks, but for a long push, assuming we can build either, black hole makes more sense. Rather than trying to figure out how to mass produce and then store anti-matter, once you have a black hole going, you can just feed it ordinary matter for as long as you like. Just make sure to refuel quickly at the other end and start a trip back, because these things shouldn't be left unfed for very long.

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6 minutes ago, K^2 said:

Both have very serious drawbacks, but for a long push, assuming we can build either, black hole makes more sense. Rather than trying to figure out how to mass produce and then store anti-matter, once you have a black hole going, you can just feed it ordinary matter for as long as you like. Just make sure to refuel quickly at the other end and start a trip back, because these things shouldn't be left unfed for very long.

The way you would create the Kugelblitz Black hole is by focusing a few lasers into a very small area until the space around it collapses, and the energy needed to create the Black hole would be greater than the power output of the Black hole itself, so you'd need A LOT of anti-matter (Plus the power output of the Black hole would be significantly greater than what the world produces in a year).

Edited by Spaceception
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Yes, but it doesn't have to be a Kugelblitz. That just seems like the most reasonable way for us to create a black hole right now. Our ability to use either technology almost assumes that we'd have something way better in terms of ability to produce insane energy densities.

And keep in mind that you don't have to have a way to make a black hole on the ship. I'm picturing this more as something that's built once, installed on the ship, and the ship constantly runs back and forward between a pair of stars.

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2 minutes ago, K^2 said:

Yes, but it doesn't have to be a Kugelblitz. That just seems like the most reasonable way for us to create a black hole right now. Our ability to use either technology almost assumes that we'd have something way better in terms of ability to produce insane energy densities.

And keep in mind that you don't have to have a way to make a black hole on the ship. I'm picturing this more as something that's built once, installed on the ship, and the ship constantly runs back and forward between a pair of stars.

How else do you know how to build a Black hole from scratch for a Black hole drive? And how much energy would you (Roughly) need? Also, the Kugelblitz would only last for about 3-5 years.

Edited by Spaceception
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1 hour ago, Spaceception said:

How else do you know how to build a Black hole from scratch for a Black hole drive? And how much energy would you (Roughly) need? Also, the Kugelblitz would only last for about 3-5 years.

Anything that gets enough energy in one place will make a black hole. You could collide two electrons together if they are traveling fast enough.

And the black hole will last as long as you like, so long as you feed it matter, which is how you'd use it for a ship. If you don't, it starts to output progressively more energy as it shrinks, until it eventually explodes, releasing significant fraction of its energy almost instantly. You really don't want to have equivalent of a few thousand tons of matter worth of energy released in a single burst on your ship. So you keep feeding the black hole and maintain constant energy output from it.

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3 minutes ago, K^2 said:

Anything that gets enough energy in one place will make a black hole. You could collide two electrons together if they are traveling fast enough.

And the black hole will last as long as you like, so long as you feed it matter, which is how you'd use it for a ship. If you don't, it starts to output progressively more energy as it shrinks, until it eventually explodes, releasing significant fraction of its energy almost instantly. You really don't want to have equivalent of a few thousand tons of matter worth of energy released in a single burst on your ship. So you keep feeding the black hole and maintain constant energy output from it.

Like trash? Or terrorists? (jk) Also, I thought it'd just dissipate after awhile.

Edited by Spaceception
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13 minutes ago, Spaceception said:

Like trash? Or terrorists? (jk) Also, I thought it'd just dissipate after awhile.

Hawking radiation (The thing that's giving off energy here) increases the smaller the black hole is. So while a conventional fire gives off more heat and light the bigger it is, a black hole gives of more energy the smaller it is. Since emitting energy makes it smaller and thus more energetic, things get explodey towards the last few hundred tons of matter. You don't want to be anywhere near a black hole that's tearing itself apart.

Black hole drives are totally fail-deadly. If you screw up and can't feed it for a few months, you are royally boned. In the last second of its existence that black hole will pump out energy equivalent to 100.000 Tsar Bomb's.

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10 hours ago, K^2 said:

Both have very serious drawbacks, but for a long push, assuming we can build either, black hole makes more sense. Rather than trying to figure out how to mass produce and then store anti-matter, once you have a black hole going, you can just feed it ordinary matter for as long as you like. Just make sure to refuel quickly at the other end and start a trip back, because these things shouldn't be left unfed for very long.

Just make sure it doesn't get out of control! (on the other hand though, this IS a problem for Antimatter too.)

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Feasibility aside, I think a black hole drive will have a greater output for the same propellant mass... I don't know though, I mean how would one confine AND ACCELERATE a black hole, even confining antimatter is hard...

Very O/T : you don't scare us with bangs... people just watch the battle going XD totally unaware of the danger !

 

Edited by YNM
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There's another method.  Kind of a hybrid.

Ship is a long set of electromagnets + payload.  Almost no onboard fuel, almost no onboard power generation.

A gigantic gun - an enormous mass driver - in the starting solar system begins firing tiny iron pellets at a rapid clip.  Ship decelerates the pellets and this is a momentum transfer - each pellet slows down as it hurtles through the electromagnet line on the ship (there's timing and switches and stuff, it's a little more complex than I'm making it sound) and the momentum is transferred to the ship.

Ship accelerates and accelerates and accelerates.  No human crew, so it might be accelerating at 10 + gravities, the limit is on your engineering ability for the mass decelerator.  It eventually hits a cruising speed of 20% or more of the speed of light.

At the other end, for deceleration, the ship remanufactures itself into a new configuration.  Now, half the pellets catching up with the ship are anti-iron and half are iron.  The decelerator just slows down one of the 2 pellets so they slam into each other at an engine in the front of the ship.  Since antimatter pion particles are going about 70% of the speed of light, and the ship is only going 20% (so for the pellets to "catch up" they have to be going just a little faster than the ship), the ship can extract thrust from this and net momentum loss.  

Anyways, the advantages of this are :

1.  No need to control black holes

2.  No need to carry hundreds of tons of antimatter onboard

3.  You can easily consume thousands of times the ship's mass in fuel without having any problems with mass ratio

4.  Extremely high acceleration as the ship always accelerates like a rocket with empty fuel tanks

5.  No consuming fuel to accelerate the fuel

The disadvantages are :

1.  You would need intermediate waystations in interstellar space to correct the pellet aim, probably have to have "lenses" thousands of kilometers across to focus the pellet fire well enough

2.  Ship is completely dependent on host civilization continuing to fund the expedition until it arrives, ships are not independent vehicles but more like cars riding a railroad.

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14 hours ago, SomeGuy123 said:

There's another method.  Kind of a hybrid.

Ship is a long set of electromagnets + payload.  Almost no onboard fuel, almost no onboard power generation.

A gigantic gun - an enormous mass driver - in the starting solar system begins firing tiny iron pellets at a rapid clip.  Ship decelerates the pellets and this is a momentum transfer - each pellet slows down as it hurtles through the electromagnet line on the ship (there's timing and switches and stuff, it's a little more complex than I'm making it sound) and the momentum is transferred to the ship.

Ship accelerates and accelerates and accelerates.  No human crew, so it might be accelerating at 10 + gravities, the limit is on your engineering ability for the mass decelerator.  It eventually hits a cruising speed of 20% or more of the speed of light.

At the other end, for deceleration, the ship remanufactures itself into a new configuration.  Now, half the pellets catching up with the ship are anti-iron and half are iron.  The decelerator just slows down one of the 2 pellets so they slam into each other at an engine in the front of the ship.  Since antimatter pion particles are going about 70% of the speed of light, and the ship is only going 20% (so for the pellets to "catch up" they have to be going just a little faster than the ship), the ship can extract thrust from this and net momentum loss.  

Anyways, the advantages of this are :

1.  No need to control black holes

2.  No need to carry hundreds of tons of antimatter onboard

3.  You can easily consume thousands of times the ship's mass in fuel without having any problems with mass ratio

4.  Extremely high acceleration as the ship always accelerates like a rocket with empty fuel tanks

5.  No consuming fuel to accelerate the fuel

The disadvantages are :

1.  You would need intermediate waystations in interstellar space to correct the pellet aim, probably have to have "lenses" thousands of kilometers across to focus the pellet fire well enough

2.  Ship is completely dependent on host civilization continuing to fund the expedition until it arrives, ships are not independent vehicles but more like cars riding a railroad.

Interesting Idea, no idea how long the gun would need to be, but it's cool. Also, how are you going to get "Anti Iron"? Why can't we just use positrons or anti-protons, or anti-hydrogen?

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38 minutes ago, Spaceception said:

Interesting Idea, no idea how long the gun would need to be, but it's cool. Also, how are you going to get "Anti Iron"? Why can't we just use positrons or anti-protons, or anti-hydrogen?

You get anti-iron by making anti-hydrogen then fusing it until it is iron.  It would take a lot of steps.

The reason for anti-iron is it's a solid even at high temperatures and magnets interact with it strongly.

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We can barely fuse Hydrogen, how long will it take to get to the point of being able to fuse enough "anti-elements" into anti-Iron? It's probably easier to just go straight into "raw" anti-matter rockets. You have a really good idea, but it'll take a long time to actually do.

Edited by Spaceception
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2 hours ago, Spaceception said:

We can barely fuse Hydrogen, how long will it take to get to the point of being able to fuse enough "anti-elements" into anti-Iron? It's probably easier to just go straight into "raw" anti-matter rockets. You have a really good idea, but it'll take a long time to actually do.

Problem with raw antimatter rockets is...well..ok, inside our solar system, you just need a few grams of antimatter to get around.  They work fine in that case.  But when you are talking about an interstellar journey, to keep antihydrogen cold enough so it doesn't wander around your fuel tanks and blow your rocket to kingdom come the temperature is measured in milli-kelvins.

The slightest little disturbance is going to free it.  And you need most of your rocket to be made of antimatter to get a good mass ratio.  

So whether you carry the antimatter or you fire it from a gigantic gun, you really need to convert it to a form that is safe to carry, and that means anti-fusion.

 

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6 hours ago, SomeGuy123 said:

Problem with raw antimatter rockets is...well..ok, inside our solar system, you just need a few grams of antimatter to get around.  They work fine in that case.  But when you are talking about an interstellar journey, to keep antihydrogen cold enough so it doesn't wander around your fuel tanks and blow your rocket to kingdom come the temperature is measured in milli-kelvins.

The slightest little disturbance is going to free it.  And you need most of your rocket to be made of antimatter to get a good mass ratio.  

So whether you carry the antimatter or you fire it from a gigantic gun, you really need to convert it to a form that is safe to carry, and that means anti-fusion.

 

You don't superfreeze anti-mater, you contain it magnetically.

And anything that uses anti-matter will not be sate to use.

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