-Z- (z@gundam.com)
Fri, 8 Sep 2000 19:52:19 -0700

> Absolutely no need to do that. Far better to accelerate at a tiny
> fraction of a gee using a fuel-efficient engine, like the pulse thrusters
> I mentioned above. In order to reach, say, half the speed of light -
> after which relativistic effects start to kick in - you'd have to
> accelerate at one gee for roughly a year. Accelerate at 1/50 of a gee,
> and you'd hit that speed in a half-century. That gives the one-gee guy a
> 25-light-year head start, but after that they're both covering 50 light
> years per century.

At one gee acceleration, it should only take half a year to reach 95% of
lightspeed, which is about the best you can hope for given the increase in mass
that goes with velocity. At 0.95C, you could make it to Alpha Centauri, 4.3
lightyeats away, in about 14.5 years.

The bad news is that, over that distance and time, you'd need about 16 billion
tons of propellant for each ton of payload!


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