Friday, June 21, 2013


Three volumes discuss different aspects of a Thought Experiment (TE).
 TE notionalizes a possible future of space travel for the human race.

ASTEROIDAL habitats are discussed in Volume I. Over the next century, mankind will become adept of constructing cylindrical habitats from material already in space (mostly asteroids, but comets have their place). Before interstellar flight, humans will gain considerable experience living in large, orbiting habitats which simulate g-force via longitudinal spin. This experience will prove essential for the long, multi-year cruise periods required for interstellar travel.

INTERPLANETARYflights will eventually become routine (much like airline travel today) because travel time will decrease to a reasonable duration. Furthermore, spacecraft will maintain comfortable Earthlike conditions (gravity, atmosphere, comfortable billets, entertainment, etc) throughout the flight. Volume II considers Einstein's thought experiment about an accelerating elevator. If the elevator accelerates at same rate as free falling objects near Earth's surface, then occupants will feel same g-force as if they're static on Earth's surface. Instead of Einstein's elevator, our thought experiment notionalizes a high performance spaceship to accelerate at rate, g, to produce gravity like force (g-force). A g-force trip to nearby planets will take days or weeks vs. months or years for constant velocity flights. We speculate this can be done with achievable technology.

INTERSTELLAR flights would take centuries. Even an accelerated flight would take years; Volume III discusses this in detail. Furthermore, fuel would also be a problem. Interplanetary flights can easily carry sufficient fuel to accelerate at constant g-force throughout entire flight (for example, going to Mars would take a few days and a few percent of the ship's mass for fuel); however, interstellar vessels would easily consume well over a 100% of its weight in fuel during the multi-year voyage. Thus, interstellar ships need to separate their voyages into three phases:
  • Accelerate to a high percentage of light speed.
  • Cruise for a few years at this speed to save fuel (maintain gravity via longitudinal spin).
  • Decelerate back to an orbital speed to conduct interplanetary operations at the destination star.
Eventually, interplanetary flights will become routine. When they do, the practicality of interstellar flights will become imminent. "Going Asteroidal" (leveraging asteroids for traveling and dwelling) will be an integral part of both interplanetary and interstellar travel.



Post a Comment

<< Home