Re: [gundam] Civilian Space Travel
Mon, 5 Apr 1999 17:59:14 EDT

In a message dated 4/5/99 6:32:31 AM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> Cold Fusion *might* be that close. OTOH, it might turn out to be something
> that just doesn't work. Has anybody come up with a satisfactory
> of Cold Fusion, or are we all just p***ing in the wind here?

Cold Fusion is the combining of atoms in a way that creates a larger atom by
kicking off a neutron, and then having that neutron then break down another
larger atom into two smaller ones that can then recombine back into a larger
one by kicking off another neutron. The whole process produces heat energy
and radiation. What makes "cold" is that it is done at less than stellar
temperatures. Hot Fusion works the same way, but at stellar temperatures. We
can currently sustain Hot Fusion for up to 10 mins before reactions stop. The
goal is to extend this time frame by as much as possible. For Cold Fusion,
the goal is the achieve the same results but at a much lower temperature,
even near room temperature or lower. We are still waiting on Cold Fusion,
since Hot Fusion is a bit too cost prohibitive.

> To put it another way - the Wave Motion Engine from Yamato - after all it's
> as good a concept for an FTL drive as any other that's been suggested -
> probably couldn't be produced just by throwing money at the problem.

Wave motion may just work, but without actually experimenting in it, neither
you nor I can truly say whether or not it will work.

> Some things won't happen anytime soon - regardless of the effort put in:
> communications/drives are a good example of this.

Theoretically, the math is already there, but we still need a reason to
develop the technology. No reason, no money, no technology.

> Define 'real space travel.' In some ways the technology is already there
> [Hotol, for example, assuming it actually works] and could possibly be
> brought in much sooner. [How long did Concorde take?]

Real space travel is actual travel in space, not orbital travel or even
jaunting to the moon. Real space travel is actually going to Mars in a manned
ship that is more than capable of returning. Real space travel is say that we
want a ship that is at Mars or Earth to go to Jupiter or Mercury, and expect
it to get there fine on its own. As to Hotol, what is that? It took two
decades of design work a technological development to build the three
Concordes, but they are still too expensive to fly on a regular bases or even
to build more of them.

> <sigh> You don't mean that [not literally] and I'm the only one picky enough
> and dumb enough to argue. Impossible *does* exist - perpetual motion
> machines that do useful work - FTL travel [for now] - conventional
> microchips operating at 5000 MHz - turning lead into gold [cost effectively]
> [Demi Moore making a film and *not* taking her clothes off : )] - VHS tapes
> that never wear out. Lots of things are just plain impossible.

Just because something doesn't exist now, doesn't mean it won't exist ever.
The Pyramids, at one time, did not exist, but they were built at impossible
odds. The Great Wall of China, at one time, did not exist. The technology for
traveling to the moon and back did not at one time exist and were seen as
impossible. Computers, at one time, did not exist. True artificial
intelligence still does not exist, but is it impossible? Bipedal, piloted,
giant robots do not exist at this time, but bipedal computer controlled human
sized robots do. In the case of a 5 gigahertz processor chip, it may not be
here now, but it is just around the corner. Smaller integrated circuit
geometry's are needed for greater processing speeds. At one time, processor
chips were unheard of, now we have 1 GHz chips. Is 5 GHz all that over the
top? X-ray lithography with bring the geometry's down past the 0.19 micron
size that Intel is currently using on the P3's. Chemical vapor deposited
copper will replace plasma vapor deposited gold or nickel-vendadium. Cell
phones are getting smaller. Palm top computers are getting better.
Cybernetics are now real. The Greeks would have seen brain surgery as
impossible, but the Aztecs didn't.

Impossible may be in your vocabulary, but it isn't in mine.

Gundam Mailing List Archives are available at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Tue Apr 06 1999 - 07:02:14 JST