Friday, March 11, 2011

Shooting Down Nay Sayers

I have just found a website called the Velvet Rocket via a Google Image Search of images of nuclear pulse spacecraft like Orion and Daedalus.  I added that website to my links and I will outline the artificial barriers to starflight set up by nay sayers and the opposite problem, FTL believers.

Nay Sayers' roadblocks:
  1. A starship must complete its mission within a few decades: Not necessarily the case, it can take many decades and spend decades studying the target star system.  Special Relativity sets a cosmic speed limit known as the speed of light.
  2. A starship must carry all of its reaction mass: Nonsense, make use of the interstellar hydrogen, light sails, interstellar ramjet, electrostatic drag, mag sails for deceleration, and so on.
  3. A starship must always accelerate at 1g: This is wasteful, as you approach the speed of light, mass increases, and takes more energy to accelerate.  Just cruise when at target speed.
  4. An interstellar mission must have one massive starship with a payload the size of like a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier: Bollocks, it can be an interstellar probe.  Even if it were a habitat ship mission, broken up into multiple smaller spacecraft, mass is your enemy and many smaller things are way better suited for colonization than just one big thing.
  5. The reaction must be contained in a rocket engine: Bollocks, think about my favorite propulsion concept, Nuclear Pulse Propulsion where you ride the reaction like a wave, thus saving energy and reducing stress etc.
Nay sayers are not the only obstacle to starflight, there is the opposite which is equally a problem, people who believe in FTL drive, despite the validity of Special Relativity and the Lorentz Transformation equations.  A barrier set up by the FTL fans is that we need FTL to go to the stars, similar to one of the roadblocks set up by the nay sayers about mission time span.  Once we admit the silliness of these barriers to starflight, we will be able to better solve the engineering problems of interstellar travel.