Magbeam propulsion for interstellar probe ?

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toymaker

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What kind of speed could magbeam propulsion achieve for a probe ? Is it within our technical abilities ? Could we use it to launch a probe to a nearby star ? What kind of power would we need and how it compares to other propulsion systems(for example solar sail)<br />For magbeam propulsion<br />http://www.ess.washington.edu/Space/magbeam/
 
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magick58

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From LEO to the moon probably, Interstellar probably not.<br /><br />It looks like it shoots a plasma beam at a target on the probe, as the probe gets further from the "gun" it gets harder and harder to hit the target. Also with the increased distance more dust and things can get in the way depredating the beams power or deflecting it.<br /><br />As a drive for short distances ya I think it could would but nothing out side of that.<br /><br />As a ship to ship weapons system though..... hmm….. sorry scifi on the brain<br />
 
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vogon13

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Gee! Another opprotunity to plug Orion propulsion concept!<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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toymaker

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Its rather unlikely that Orion will be made within forseable future. Or even longer one considering its psychological influence.Its a fantastic project for space enthusiasts but its that is it.Sort of like unique SF serial for fan boys <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" />
 
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yevaud

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Hmm. It's very similar to the laser-launch system that's been played around with for years. But likely (I would think, though I may well be wrong) less efficient.<br /><br />Interesting idea though. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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jatslo

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<font color="yellow">What kind of speed could magbeam propulsion achieve for a probe ?</font><br /><br />That would depend on how long the beam could stay focused on the target.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Is it within our technical abilities ?</font><br /><br />Yes.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Could we use it to launch a probe to a nearby star ?</font><br /><br />Doubtfull, there are too many unknowns and course corrections involved.<br /><br />Plasma is an ionized gas with varying degrees of temperatures, whereas focused hot plasma is a desired internal propulsion. Cold plasma would make a great external propulsion system; however, Cold plasma might be better suited for short distances, and/or for particle acceleration complexes, i.e. cancer treatment, etc.
 
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nexium

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Magbeam seems to be a less discriptive name for partical beam. Negative ions are atoms with extra electrons. More often atoms lacking one or more electrons = positive ions, are focused electrostatically or magnetically into a narrow beam. In the latter case each partical has a positive charge; like charges repel, so the beam gets wider and thinner with distance, requiring a bigger target at the craft being propelled. A large number of weaker beams originating at different locations can converge at the space craft reduceing the speading problem. If we build thousands of magbeam generators through out the solar system, some of them will be positioned so that they can accelerte the space craft perhaps 1/10th kilometer per second: 100 such pushes totals 10 kilometer per second which will allow the craft to coast the rest of the way to almost anywhere. ie in one billion seconds the craft can travel 5 billion kilometers = sometimes the distance to Pluto. I assumed the average speed was 1/2 as the craft is climbing out of the sun's gravity well. The craft would likely pass near the centari star system in a billion years or so, but that has no utility that I can think of. We can do this about twenty years after we start throwing huge amounts of money at the project. Neil
 
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jatslo

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nexium said, "<font color="yellow">Magbeam seems to be a less <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">descriptive</font> name for <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">particle</font> beam. Negative ions are atoms with extra electrons. More often atoms lacking one or more electrons = positive ions, are focused <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">electro-statically</font> or magnetically into a narrow beam. In the latter case each <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">particle</font> has a positive charge; like charges repel, so the beam gets wider and thinner with distance, requiring a bigger target at the craft being propelled. A large number of weaker beams originating at different locations can converge at the <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">spacecraft reducing</font> the <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">speeding</font> problem. If we build thousands of <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">Magbeam</font> generators through out the solar system, some of them will be positioned so that they can <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">accelerate</font> the space craft perhaps 1/10th kilometer per second: 100 such pushes totals 10 kilometer per second which will allow the craft to coast the rest of the way to almost anywhere. ie in one billion seconds the craft can travel 5 billion kilometers = sometimes the distance to Pluto. I assumed the average speed was 1/2 as the craft is climbing out of the sun's gravity well. The craft would likely pass near the <font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">Centari</font> star system in a billion years or so, but that has no utility that I can think of. We can do this about twenty years after we start throwing huge amounts of money at the project.</font><br /><br />Jatslo said, "<font face="verdana" size="”2”" color="#99FFFF">Oh, you want to set up a daisy-chain along the trajectory. That is interesting. The craft could speed towards medi</font>
 
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jh2001

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Adding to what nexium said...Power for those many MagBeams could be broadcast by microwave from Earth's surface (up to 2.4 TW/year) to rectifiers on the moon.&nbsp; The energy could then be beamed from there to rectifiers on various asteroids that could have the MagBeams.&nbsp; In this way one only needs to mass produce the MagBeams and the rectifiers and one could have access to a great deal of energy to power the MagBeams
 
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