Rocket thrust

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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Postby KitemanSA » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:29 pm


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Postby 93143 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:30 am


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Postby KitemanSA » Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:06 am


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Postby Betruger » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:19 am


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Postby kunkmiester » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:24 pm

You have to consider the economies of scale here. When you're traveling a couple million miles, a bigger ship will work better than a smaller one. I don't see a three or four man Mars mission. I see a ship with at least a few dozen, with half a dozen or more heading down at some point or another. Infrastructure wouldn't be too terribly difficult--drop a few robots to clear, pack, and mark a runway suitable for your machine. If you really need to, you can bring them back up and drop them somewhere else to make a new strip.

It would be somewhat like Star Wars. You'd have smaller ships like the Millennium Falcon that can not only travel between planets/objects, but also land on them. Most effective ones though will be like the Star Destroyers--big massive machines carrying massive amounts of stuff, and taking it down on smaller shuttles.

Skylon or something would take people/stuff up to either build a ship or meet one. Transfer over, then go to Mars. Switch again to a "Skylon" made for Martian atmosphere and conditions, and head down.

Make sure you're trays are in the upright position, and don't forget to declare fruits and vegetables. :D
Evil is evil, no matter how small

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Postby DeltaV » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:10 pm


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Postby kunkmiester » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:20 pm

Evil is evil, no matter how small

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Postby 93143 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:51 pm

Yeah, it's probably reasonable.

Two things, though:

First, I'm not really comfortable with having parts of the vehicle that you can't point at inhabited areas/other vehicles. Fly one of these under a cloud and you could give a Cessna pilot who wasn't paying attention to his radio a severe case of radiation sickness without even knowing it. Several seconds of exposure at 500 m from an unshielded 6 GW core could exceed the yearly maximum dose for a civilian (mostly due to X-rays)...

Second, you don't really save all that much mass until you do go to straight-up shadow-shielding, which makes the no-step area quite large indeed. If the mass saved by not shielding above and below the reactor is important enough to make or break the design, then IMO the design is insufficiently robust.

Note that I've been fiddling around with conceptual variables and radiator pumping schemes rather than running complete sets of design numbers, so take the above opinion with a grain of salt...



Regarding minimal-mass shadow-shielding of the crew compartment, or the even lower-mass chairs-and-computers-only approach, it's still a problem because it instantly means everything else on the ship needs to be rad-hard, payload included...

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Postby Stoney3K » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:25 am

Because we can.


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