Prabal Nandy (nandy@U.Arizona.EDU)
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 15:09:58 -0700 (MST)
> >something like that. It's more like a controlled chain-reaction of
> >relatively low power over a long legnth of time rather than a giant
> It's a succession of laser-ignited fusion blasts, in which a pellet of
> fusion "fuel" is compressed to the point of fusion. This process is
> technically known as "inertial confinement." The pellets are ignited at a
Oh that silly thing. The SHIVA system.
Nah, that's COMPLETELY different than actually using megaton-range nukes
as propellant. It's never been shown to really produce more energy than it
uses to run.
> rate of a few hundred per second. A magnetic field deflects the blast away
> from the engine. As noted, the same system was proposed for the "Daedalus"
I remember that. But beyond the basic idea nobody's actually come up
with a way to mag-confine particles and use them as thrust. Obviously this
system can't block hard X-rays and other gamma radiation, nor can it
prevent neutron embrittlement and irradiation. Hence you can never use it
in a manned system.
And remember that the power of a pellet is orders of magnitude less than
that of a massive nuclear bomb (PLUTO project, recently declassified).
> > You'd need the mag-field to be as powerful as the nuclear reaction
> >itself! This is no easy feat at all.
> Maybe so; after all, if you could contain a nuclear blast with a magnetic
> field (assuming it emitted only charged particles, a rare circumstance),
It can _never_ be producing 'just charged particles', what kind of
nuclear reaction would that be? After all, we're not fusing "Pladough"
And even if you have a magnetic field, you'll have a tremendous amount
of radiation going up and DOWN the field, i.e., a big thrust 'plume' out
the rear of your ship, and an equally powerful plume of radiation
screaming right down the middle of your ship! You better have something
tougher than a sheet of lead there to block it. (GRIN)
> > And if it _was_ a massive controlled nuclear pulse blast, how come the
> >GP-02 wasn't launched backwards at an incredibly high speed?
> Good points. :-)
Hey, I'm not the Probe for no reason!
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