Re: [gundam] Civilian Space Travel
Fri, 2 Apr 1999 01:58:37 EST

In a message dated 4/1/99 11:10:33 PM Mountain Standard Time,
nandy@U.Arizona.EDU writes:

> As far as nuclear pulse engines, it's a cute concept based on a
> desperate idea that is based on a theory that simply can't work for this
> particular application, at least, not for self-sustaining power. The
> problem is in maintaining the 'reaction chamber,' I have as yet to see a
> viable scheme for maintaining the chamber, supporting the fusion, much
> less radiation hardening, etc. But that's okay, nuclear space propulsion
> for this type is still at least 50 years away. For now, new Hall-Effect
> thrusters seem to be proving themselves the wave of the future for
> space-propulsion of satellites and automated systems.
> -Probe

Just because there is no one yet willing to work the problem out now, does
not mean the a solution is impossible. Breaking the sound bearer used to be
impossible. And you are probably right that nuclear pulse travel will never
be used do to it being overly harsh, but neither you nor I can truly say for
sure in any case as to whether one will ever be invented. As to a Hall-Effect
based thruster, I would need to know more. The tools I maintain use
Hall-Effect sensors for determining rotational speed on rotating magnet
assemblies. How that can be used for thrust, I an unsure. So please, do tell.
Is it another way of describing a Bussard Ram?

> Back to aircraft pulse engines: I don't foresee this system as producing
> reliable thrust for commercial or military aircraft, nor is it quite
> durable enough for long-range missiles, etc. Ship-to-ship missiles and
> stuff like that? Probably, but probably never for manned aircraft.
> Aurora? Bullocks!

We were talking about spacecraft, not aircraft.

> Well, it's a matter of perspective then. One could similarly propose
> that a squid's propulsion system and Axis propulsion system are the same,
> since they're also pulsed. An even better comparison would be to say that
> Archimedes's steam engine is the same as a nuclear-submarine's.

Given a perspective, yes. Perspective is always good when braking down a
mechanism into component parts. A squid does draw water into a "plenum," than
release it in a pulsed action. So, in effect, a squid uses a "pulsed" drive.
As to Archimedes's steam engine being the same as a nuclear-submarine's steam
engine, I was unaware that nuclear subs used steam turbines. I was under the
impression the electrical engines were used with marine nuclear reactors.
But, if so, steam engines haven't changed significantly since Watt's design.
Water hits a heat source, turns to steam, is forced through a piping system
to a rotary section. The rotary is moved by the steams forced flow, causing
the rotary to move. Through proper gearing, one then uses the rotary motion
to then "power" mechanical motion. Romans used steam engines to power toy row
boats, so I would say that, yes indeed, a modern day steam powered nuclear
vessel is powered in the same way as the Roman toy. Again, perspective.

An open mind in all things isn't required, but it is helpful.

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