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Author Topic: [Science] I'm sailing away.  (Read 1372 times)
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CrayolaSmoker
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« on: June 21, 2005, 03:38:06 PM »

Set an open course for new galaxies.

That is SO cool.  I hope it works.
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2005, 03:40:45 PM »

Quote
The solar sail could reach speeds of 100,000 miles an hour.


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Ron Burke
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2005, 03:45:18 PM »

It can circle the earth in about as much time as it takes to watch American Pie. Think about that.

If this works, and solar sails are used more by NASA, then I think space travel just became a whole lot more economical. biggrin Cool!
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2005, 05:35:56 PM »

This is the first step toward the ultimate thing...

Space Pirates!



Arrrr!
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2005, 06:39:22 PM »

But given how delicate the sail is, how long would it be practically useful?
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2005, 08:16:55 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
But given how delicate the sail is, how long would it be practically useful?

What's going to tear it, space bugs?  I think the bigger limitation is that it can't handle much mass.  I wonder how big a sail you'd need to give something as big as the space shuttle a decent amount of acceleration.
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2005, 10:45:06 PM »

Quote from: "wonderpug"
Quote from: "unbreakable"
But given how delicate the sail is, how long would it be practically useful?

What's going to tear it, space bugs?  I think the bigger limitation is that it can't handle much mass.  I wonder how big a sail you'd need to give something as big as the space shuttle a decent amount of acceleration.


If I understand the principle correctly, you'd need a larger sail for a larger object to have the same acceleration, but since there's "no friction" they'd ultimately have the same terminal speed with identical sails, regardless of mass.

As far as damage goes, there's lots of man-made debris in our immediate vicinity that could rip the sail.  Not to mention that whole belt of rocks near Jupiter.
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2005, 10:45:16 PM »

Quote from: "wonderpug"
What's going to tear it, space bugs?  I think the bigger limitation is that it can't handle much mass.  I wonder how big a sail you'd need to give something as big as the space shuttle a decent amount of acceleration.


Dust, junk, asteroids, 'dark matter', whatever.  Just because it's space doesnt mean it's empty.
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2005, 10:47:04 PM »

I also believe I read somewhere there were ways to force 'wind' into the sail, like using low wavelength lasers or whatever.
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2005, 11:28:43 PM »

Quote from: "unbreakable"
I also believe I read somewhere there were ways to force 'wind' into the sail, like using low wavelength lasers or whatever.


The idea being able to focus a beam of light, i.e. a laser, directly into the sails powers it by constantly bombarding it with light particles. Have several lasers or a few big ones and in theory you can speed up much faster than doing it based off solar light alone. Which is cool. smile
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2005, 03:13:16 AM »

Where'd it go???
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2005, 03:45:11 AM »

Anyone else instantly think of this from TRON, with the sail and focused beam?

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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2005, 05:20:59 AM »

Actually, I was thinking of a similar ship at the end of Attack of the Clones.
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2005, 09:16:24 AM »

it may have gone in the wrong orbit.
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Hrothgar
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« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2005, 01:22:25 PM »

The theoretical problem with a solar sail has always been that there's nothing in space to use to tack.  In other words, the solar wind only lets you sail outwards.  You have to make it all the way to another star, use it to decelerate, then you can turn around and sail back.  Of course, the problem there is the huge distance between stars.  

Some have suggested using chained hydrogen bombs to massively pump an atomic laser, but you'd need to already have it at your destination.  Hybrids could work, but you're stuck with the fuel problem.  Still, it's a very romantic notion.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2005, 12:28:36 AM »

Well, looks like the odds are pretty bad for this thing pulling through.  :(  Here's hoping they go for a 2nd try, anyone have $4 million laying around they don't know what to do with?
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