Photon Propulsion Breakthrough

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docm

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Want a real deep space drive? Check the Z-Pinch post. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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strandedonearth

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<font color="yellow">MT was metric tons</font><br /><br />I keep thinking that the metric system needs to be used to its full potential, like it is with computers (kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, megahertz, gigahertz, etc). Then a metric ton (1000 kg) would be a megagram, Mg. 1000 metric tons would be a gigagram, Gg. So much less confusion that way.<br /><br />I now return you to your regularly scheduled thread...<br /><br />
 
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vulture2

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This idea is ingenious, but a key constraint is that the two spacecraft that are being pushed apart must be close enough so that photons can be reflected thousands of times between the two mirrors without being lost. It's not easy to see this being workable beyond small satellites flying in formation at a range of a few tens of meters. This would not work for primary propulsion, only to push two nearby spacecraft apart.<br /><br />The author suggests this device could be used for formation positioning, with maneuvers in the opposite direction being accomplished by a tether between the spacecraft. Unfortunately this means some physical structure must bridge the gap between the spacecraft anyway. <br /><br />If two components of a spacecraft formation must maintain a fixed distance, the simplest solution would be an extendible boom; this would be heavier than a tether but maintains orientation in all axes and doesn't require power. It's not easy to see why the combination of laser, mirrors and tether would provide an advantage over separation distances small enough for the photons to be trapped.
 
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