DailyDirt: Sailing Through Space Without Rockets

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

One of the problems with space travel is that the chemical fuels required to get around in space.. really limit how far a spacecraft can go. A spacecraft can only carry around so much fuel, and then once that fuel is gone, the ship is basically drifting in space. There are some creative solutions to this challenge, though. If you aren't in a hurry, you can try to propel an object with the momentum of light. Or you can shoot very small atoms at high velocity to create thrust. But you cannot change the laws of physics! After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
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Filed Under: em drive, ion thrusters, lightsail, planetary society, propulsion, rockets, satellites, solar sail, space, space exploration, spacecraft
Companies: airbus, boeing, kickstarter, nasa, spacex, thales alenia space


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2015 @ 5:44pm

    Don't forget all those 19th century perpetual motion and anti-gravity machines -- most of which have had their patents long since expire.

    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=solar+sail

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 19 May 2015 @ 7:30pm

    wait what , microwaves bouncing where?

    so you are saying my microwave should be running around the room ...oooook

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JustShutUpAndObey, 19 May 2015 @ 7:47pm

    Conservation of Momentum

    Regarding the EM drive and Conservation of Momentum:
    It is important to realize that even some aspects of science are faith-based. The fundamental principle of science is that truth is best approached via repeatable experiments that support a particular theory.
    We have faith that if a particular well-defined experiment yields the exact same result 100 times, it will do so the 101st time and we can draw a reliable conclusion.
    We have faith in the principle of causality (despite evidence from the quantum eraser experiment).
    While there are damn good reasons (experiments and theory) to trust conservation of momentum, that too, at its root, is an article of faith.

    We might be wrong about that. The EM drive may well be bogus, or our understanding or conservation of momentum imperfect, or the EM drive might well work but still conserve momentum in a way we don't understand.

    It is definitely worth further study. IMHO, it's probably bogus, but if it isn't, we need to know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2015 @ 8:00pm

      Re: Conservation of Momentum

      Prediction of future events based upon those of the observable past might be considered by some to be faith based, others not so much.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      iamThomas (profile), 20 May 2015 @ 8:25pm

      Re: Conservation of Momentum

      I am with you on this. Our understanding of physics and the laws that we have written are based on the experiments that we have performed. Therefore we assume the law of conversation of momentum is correct, which is correct until proven incorrect.
      I hope there is something at work here that we don't have the capacity to measure yet and that is what is causing this thrust.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Kal Zekdor (profile), 19 May 2015 @ 7:48pm

    Ion Thrusters

    Ion Thrusters are interesting, but they're not a purely electric propulsion medium. They still rely on a propellant, xenon usually, which is expelled at high speeds. They're much more fuel efficient than chemical propellants, but they still need to carry fuel, which limits the usefulness for deep space exploration. They also tend to generate very low thrust, but by the time that we really need better thrusters that might no longer be true.

    That EM drive, though.... I really hope that it's not just a mistake, and it does operate the way people think.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 4:18am

      Re: Ion Thrusters

      They also tend to generate very low thrust,

      That matches well with the low power available from solar panels, or even RTG generators. it has allowed the Dawn spacecraft to visit both Vesta and Ceres.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 4:47am

        Re: Re: Ion Thrusters

        Solar panels will not do you much good in deep space, and are not presently used in missions beyond Mars.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 12:24am

    there are no air bubbles floating in water, in any "space walk" videos around the ISS right?

    Nor have their "space suits" accidentally get filled with WATER?

    do some research and you have to admit half of the ISS videos are fake!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2015 @ 4:49am

      Re:

      Other than math textbooks, is it common place for someone to make statements and then say that the proof is up to the reader?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 20 May 2015 @ 5:16am

      Re:

      Spacesuits have had problems with flooding because they do contain water in the course of their ordinary use in space.

      Spacewalking is a very laborious activity because the suits are bulky, difficult to move in, and every movement requires the astronaut to brace against something to be effective. (For example, if you're floating and try to turn a bolt with a wrench, you'll just rotate yourself around unless you're braced on something) This means that spacesuits need water for astronauts to drink, because they get sweaty and dehydrated inside the suits (before the need for hand and footholds was recognized, astronauts on spacewalks were known to sweat so much trying to do simple tasks that they'd lose pounds of weight at a time). Also, people generate body heat and therefore need cooling. A suit of mesh underwear is worn under the suit and has flexible tubes filled with water running through it to help carry heat away to the life support equipment in the backpack (and thus provide cooling).

      And of course if there is a water leak inside the suit, because the water is weightless, it can't be made to just run down to the astronaut's feet or something. Even a small amount can float around the helmet (where the astronaut cannot reach to move it) potentially causing aspiration or even asphyxiation.

      The ISS is very real, it's even easy to see from the ground if you know where to look. And footage of astronauts in suits practicing underwater looks entirely different from footage of them in space.

      (Besides, if it were all a conspiracy, and God only knows what the point of that would be, why would the fact of water leaks -- presumably caused by water leaking in from a pool -- ever get revealed?)

      tl;dr -- you're an idiot

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tom, 9 Aug 2016 @ 8:26am

    Congratulations

    I read many blogs and truth that this seems very good, I hope someday to be like you

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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