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A Practical Positron Rocket II

Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a story called A Practical Positron Rocket, about Gerald Smith’s work at Positronics Research on a positron reactor. Antimatter is always a hot topic, given its potential for remarkably powerful engines and its implications for deep space work, but the post in question generated responses that ranged far beyond antimatter into numerous other potential solutions to the propulsion problem.

Which is fine, but we may be encountering a bug in WordPress which is keeping more recent comments from appearing properly. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but I suspect that once comments for a given post reach a certain size limit, odd things begin to occur. In any case, I’ve had some anecdotal evidence (not just here) that this is the case.

This post, then, is for those of you who want to keep the ‘Practical Positron Rocket’ thread running. Please use the comments section here to do so, and we’ll retire the old post as a forum for comment.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • forrest noble October 6, 2007, 19:15

    Paul, Thanks! great to have your input. If this is not an Einstein quote then I have Rutherford to thank. My source was:


    this is the section of the quotes where I found it

    It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
    Albert Einstein

    It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
    Albert Einstein

    It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid. ********
    Albert Einstein

    It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man’s insecurity before himself and before nature.
    Albert Einstein

    It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion.
    Albert Einstein

    It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
    Albert Einstein

    Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.
    Albert Einstein

    Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be.
    Albert Einstein

  • James M. Essig October 6, 2007, 21:56

    Hi Forrest:

    Those quotes are absolutely beautiful!! Thanks for posting them!!

    Your Friend Jim

  • James M. Essig October 6, 2007, 23:12

    Hi Paul, Forrest, George, Adam, and Ron;

    We seem to be having a highly active run in terms of postings from a variety of individuals. I think that this active dialogue among us is very informative. I have learned a lot from each and everyone of you. The increase in the number of persons posting is welcomed greatly by both George and I. For a while, as you can see, only George and I would post. Keep up the good work.
    I addressed each one of you by name in my introduction because I value the input received from each one of you.

    I will be back on site by sometime tomorrow.


    Your Friend Jim

  • Eric James October 7, 2007, 4:19

    This looks like a good place to pose scandalous questions…

    In Hawking radiation, there is supposedly a net energy exiting the event horizon. As I understand it, this net energy is observer dependent. That is, the exiting particle appears to become energized as it leaves the time dilation effects of the event horizon. Conversely, time dilation apparently lowers the infalling particle’s energy to the outside observer. However, from the perspective of each particle, their energy doesn’t actually change. Is that correct?

    Does the infalling particle therefore have potential energy with the black hole? Wouldn’t this potential energy be evident to all observers? Wouldn’t it balance the loss of energy evident to the outside observer?

    Now I know that this might foment raucous argument on the conservation of energy law, but consider this first: In very short time periods, conservation violations are allowed (hence virtual particles). Consider the meaninglessness of time, at the event horizon. What’s to stop a conservation violation from being perpetual, relative to the outside observer?

  • Lubo October 7, 2007, 6:16

    When do we see a practical accomplishment?

  • Administrator October 7, 2007, 8:30

    Practical accomplishments are happening, but they’re not dramatic. Right now we don’t know whether things like warp drives or various field drive concepts are even possible, not to mention wormholes, etc. The necessary work at this stage is all theoretical. But it’s important to understand that without these underpinnings, any real breakthrough, it it’s possible, can’t occur at all.

    Think of it this way: Suppose we know for a fact that the first human-crewed starship will go out in 2350. The only way that could happen would be for the people working on these things between now and that date to build the necessary theories and tools. The people who built the foundations of the great cathedrals rarely saw the buildings completed; in some cases, neither did their children. But without their work, the structure wouldn’t have arisen. So we all hope for quick breakthroughs, but however long it takes, the message is the same: Ad astra incrementis. To the stars one step at a time. And the idea is that as we go along, the steps get bigger and bigger…

  • george scaglione October 7, 2007, 12:35

    thank you very much ONE AND ALL!!! that was the longest run of postings that i think that i have ever seen here and… ALL OF THEM interesting! a real pleasure.and yes paul it does seem to take over long to get to the stars.its really very funny but when i was a young guy in college i thought that star ships like kirks enterprise might occur in my life time! now i promise that no i was NOT on drugs of any kind at the time!! patience seems only to come with age. hope to hear alot more from each and every one of you,especially about star ship propulsion just as soon as you see fit! needless to say a special interest of mine.so,for now all the very best ,your friend george

  • James M. Essig October 7, 2007, 15:44

    Hi George;

    Very good and valid comments.

    I thought that I would chime in with an anecdotal account of my own early youth which the Tau Zero readership might find a little useful and probably more likely, a little amuzing.

    I remember as a young teenager, I’d say about age 14 or 15, when I thought that within the following 2 decades, I would work hard to try to gin up some sort of electrogravatic levitation apparatus or develope some sort of the electromagnetic field based teleporation apparatus such as where common in themes of some of the science fiction movies of the day and which were rumoured by UFO ETI visitation enthusiasts to be the forms of propulsion that were alledgedly used by ETI UFOs. As the daunting task of simply trying to understand introductory classical electromagnetic theory as presented in one of my entry level college courses in physics as a freshman, I had a great reality check. Upon buying a very large paper bound copy of a book on gravitation which was authored by Kip Thorne, if I am not mistaken, and then upon glancing thru it, the remnets of my young adolescent dream was shattered when I realized that at some point, by chance, I may have the opportuinity to contribute to the background relavent theory behind such technologies if indeed they are even possible, but that if such technologies are possible, it is probably going to take a long time for civilization to develope them, and then, by people much smarter than I am.

    However, the legacy of that dream remains in me and simmilar legacies will remain in the dreams of many adolescent aspiring physicists. Some of the above ambitions of mine have been tempered with age and maturity, but I hold onto the What Ifs?. What if someone, you, me, or anybody else makes a profound theoretical or experimental discovery that at least leads us as a civilization to begin a practical R&D program in our life times to venture to the stars. At the very least, my dream remains alive in the form of hope that oneday, maybe not in our life time, humanity will become an interstellar space-faring civilization.

    Thanks to you and to all you other folks;

    And keep them ideas rolling!

    Your Friend Jim

  • Ron S October 7, 2007, 17:44

    Eric, it’s sort of an accounting activity. What supposedly happens is this. Virtual particle pair pops into existence. They would normally recombine soon thereafter, except in the rare case where the pair appear at a position and with relative trajectories where one is able to escape to infinity and the other descends below the horizon. Now we have one particle added to the universe at large, so there must be an opposite change to the black hole. That lost particle effectively adds negative energy to the hole. Thus the books balance, and the hole has less mass. Any particle pair that can appear could do this, but it would work best with massless particles like photons since they have a better chance of escaping when traveling at c.

    Of course since they come from near the event horizon, the escaping particle is red-shifted. This gives the Hawking radiation its low temperature. When the black hole gets small enough its temperature rises rapidly and finally explodes violently.

    Unfortunately the temperature of the radiation is so low it’s unobservable for any suspected astronomical black hole candidate. That’s a problem if you want to confirm Hawking radiation. There are search strategies for hypothetical micro-holes that may have formed in the big bang since they would periodically be exploding here and there throughout the universe. Hawking radiation could conceivably be negated by some future theory of quantum gravity.

    On your other question, no, time does not become meaningless at the horizon. It’s a well-understood observer-dependent effect. If it’s you crossing the horizon, time has its usual meaning and flows normally. As least what little of it you have left to experience. Splat! Hope this helps, or if not there’s lots of material on the web or in books that can explain better than I ever could.

  • James M. Essig October 7, 2007, 19:08

    Hi Eric and Ron;

    I have got some blackholes statistics/numbers which are easilly available over the internet. The radiative temperature of a solar mass blackhole is approximately 10 EXP -28 Watts and a solar masses blackhole will last about 10 EXP 67 years before Hawking Radiation leads to its complete evaporation. 10 EXP -28 Watts is about the equivalent of 1 optical (visible) frequency photon roughly every 20 years being emmitted. The larger the black hole, the cooler it is. Supermassive blackholes will last roughly on the order of 10 EXP 100 Years.



  • forrest noble October 7, 2007, 22:57

    Eric, Scandalous, outrageous, questions! Stirring raucous intellectual discourse!

    Like most people I provide answers from my preferred theoretical perspective. And usually feel that I don’t have time to discuss other possible perspectives that I’m aware of but do not ascribe to—unless necessary to argue against the beliefs of the other theory. Above Ron S. provides
    comments that seem to be consistent with prevailing mainstream theory concerning particle creation and hawkings radiation, generally anwering your questions. From my theoretical perspective Hawkings radiation is probably true but not created at the rates Hawkings has predicted – accordingly vastly more than he predicted for young galaxies, and less as galaxies age. The problem I believe is that his calculations and conclusions are based upon an incorrect premise, that a Black Hole is a vacuous, single point. I subscribe to a different theory. see link this website and reply below: forrest https://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=1199

    Your first question from the perspective of a particle—according to this theory—that matter near the event horizon is accelerated greatly, and that it interacts often with other matter. At a certain point/ speed near the event horizon all matter is ionized and disintegrated, first into elements and then into atomic particles. For most atomic structure just atomic nuclei will enter the event horizon because many of the electrons, if not all, would be radiated away as this material approaches the event horizon. Any large remaining matter that might enter the event horizon., like stellar material, etc., would simply be attenuated and completely torn apart by the tremendous gravitational forces therein almost immediately. As for the atomic structures there would only be atomic nuclei left. The speed of these particles like those in a nuclear accelerator would be approaching the speed of light. For these particles time would be standing still, i.e. they would have little or no internal motion or spin but not for long. All would be torn apart and their inertial energy as well as the resulting atomic energy would be “digested”. All would be quickly transferred to the Black Hole via the energy of the resulting “quark jets”/ aether jets, aka.dark matter. There would be no loss in energy. The energy would be used for black hole spin enforcement and conceivable vibrations evidenced by low frequency waves beyond the event horizon.— Most fermions being created and that have enough energy to escape, usually exit the galaxy at the poles. When black holes are older they would accordingly radiate more on the galactic plane.

    H Paul and Lubo,
    Humanities accomplishments toward space travel (and everything else) in Paul’s words, Ad astra incrementis, to the stars incrementally/ to the stars one step at a time, A broad range of ideas which are the building blocks of scientists and engineers– enable them to come up with the next incremental step. Those ideas that do not fit with today’s technologies may be perfect for tomorrow. If the majority of thinking is directed toward refining/ replacing major theories then the right foundations could be available for further breakthroughs in research and development. Theoretical testing without ill-conceived experiments.
    George and Jim,
    Like both of you I thought our progress would have been at a much faster pace, when I was about the same age but is seems that the public WILL is not there to fund expensive projects in the timeframes we were all hoping for. With better ideas, better presentations, better marketing, by the large contractors via lobbying, more public interest based upon NASA’s marketing to public opinion, and maybe “selfishly” dumping very expensive police-actions like Iraq—then maybe we and other countries could have the funding to make the bold steps needed to accomplish these goals at a much faster pace—otherwise we’ll have to be grateful for small increments at a snails pace.

    See what you think: a relatively “simple”, aircraft that could leave our atmosphere —fly to the space station—catch another ride to the moon, and using similar technology to tour the solar system. It would be pretty big and relatively inexpensive. I’ll lay down the details in a couple of days, Need a little time to write it up. Your friend forrest

  • george scaglione October 8, 2007, 12:31

    jim,yes! thank you very very much…i too recall those days!but i found out the same you did! recall that i did say that i thought i might see(oh my god…serve on!) starships in my lifetime! oooooh the dreams of youth!very respectfully george

  • george scaglione October 8, 2007, 12:47

    yes forrest we all do see eye to eye on the subject of having been disappointed by things not moving along fast enough! as i just said to jim… i recall the days!! and…ron,liked what you said very much we should keep thing in this kind of direction, might lead to that idea of mine i like to push,i.e. using the energy of the zero point field as a propulsion for starships!! well errr ahhh i know that “my idea” was actually begun long about 1947. two years before i was born! but when i read a book that included it i said,aaah- ha!!! maybe this could be the start of something big!! that i by the way had never heard of before!! as i say ,
    as jim says…”if we all keep thinking and keep those ideas rolling” then who knows!!! but anyhow thanks and i hope i can talk to all of you again soon. your friend george

  • george scaglione October 8, 2007, 12:53

    well, i just double checked to make sure i had done my level best to answer all of the above as carefully as i could…if i failed to comment properly on anything then i do apologize. as i said before,hope to hear from you all one way or the other again soon. george

  • James M. Essig October 8, 2007, 14:29

    Hi George and Forrest:

    Thanks very much for the thoughtful analysis and well expressed wisdom.

    George, it is really neat to see that Practical Positron Rocket II is now up to 215 responses which is close to the number where Practical Positron Rocket left off at. Talk about a flurry of postings during the past week!

    I like very much your idea of using the ZPF for star ship propulsion. It seems that even as the universe continues to expand and its real matter content becomes much more rarified, we will still have the zero point energy fields and the structure of the vacuum of free space available on which to draw energy for intergalactic space-craft propulsion approaching C, perhaps by chance surpassing C as in some of the proposed warp drive concepts, antigravatic concepts, etc.

    Forrest, keep up the good work of your highly independant original thinking regarding astrophysics/interstellar travel concepts. Such is often the cause for paradymn shifts and/or even profound new theories that may at first seem likely to have arisen from little noticed defects within the current well established theoretical systems.

    By the way, supermassive blackholes like the ones that supposedly power quazars could actually have large macroscopic objects like large starships pass close to and through their event horizon with out the tidal forces near the event horizon from tearing the ship apart. What happens afterwad for a rapidly rotating black hole is any ones guess. For a non-rotating black hole or a slowly rotating black-hole, however, it is ssplat! as you mentioned above.

    It would be interesting to see just how large of black holes we are able to find as our observational techniques improve to detect the tell-tale signs of any such blackholes. For instance, might we find blackholes with masses of around 10 EXP 12 solar masses?, 10 EXP 15 solar masses?, or larger composed of largely originally accumulated Cold Dark Matter or perhaps blackholes of such mass ranges as a result of artifacts of the early evolution of our Universe. Its hard to tell right now for sure. The discovery of supermassive blackholes as the powerhouse of quazars with masses as high as 10 billion solar masses, althought not necessarilly a surprise theoretically, had astonished astrophysicists and the intellegent members of the general public with their sheer size.

    If we find even much larger blackholes in the years ahead, I wonder if observation of the tell-tale effects of these lackholes will lead to new discoveries within the field of experimental and observational theoretical physics. It seems that there is ever new physics just waiting to be discovered as the extreme bounding conditions within current theories are tested and/or run up against. Such new physics will, I am almost certain, be of good use in developing manned interstellar travel craft someday.


    Your Friend Jim

  • Eric James October 8, 2007, 14:38


    That’s the way it’s supposed to work, because the conservation laws are expected to hold relative to the outside observer. I’m proposing something a little different.

    My concept is dependent on the very way you described the function of time dilation. That is, time dilation being observer dependent.

  • James M. Essig October 8, 2007, 16:46

    Hi Folks;

    Great Discussion!

    I was curious as to whether the phenomenon of quantum entanglement would hold up for two sources which where made to have entangled states such as by photon splitting, intangled spin atomic states, or what have you, wherein one of the sources would be dropped into a blackhole while the other source would remain safely outside of the blackhole at a distance where relativistic gravitational time dilation would be insignificant.

    Granted, an observer looking at the falling object as it dropped into the black hole would see it as moving ever more slowly close to the event horizon while at the samw time seeing the object in ever frequency red shifted electromagnetic radiation as a result of general relativistic time dilation.

    If the infalling object was programmed to minipulate the photon or atomic state in a controlled manner or semi-controlled manner in a somewhat predictable manner, such as seems to be possible within entangled states used in experimentation within the promissing technology fields quantum computational electronics and/or photonics, would the quantum entanglement still persist for an object that has fallen past the event horizon into the blackhole relative to the object or source located safely outside of the blackhole? If not, how about for the infalling object still outside of the event horizon whose outward traveling electromagnetic emmissions relative to the safe source were so relativistically time dilated such that any extreme boundary conditions for the associated physical principles under investigation would or could be made manifest in such a manner that new physics would be discovered?

    Also I have wondered just how far the process of quantum mechanical intanglement would perdue in interstellar or intergalactic free space. Quantum theorists have often been quoted that such entanglement would perdue over infinite distances instantaneously. However, it would be nice to arrive at experimental data for sources seperated by large interplanetary, then interstellar, followed by intergalactic, and finally by sources seperated by regions of cosmically expanding space wherein the regions are receeding from each other due to cosmic expansion at velocities greater than C. I wonder if some passage of time would be noticed for the entanglement process for objects seperated by such long distances.

    Now the special relativists would say that the signal, if that is what you can call it, cannot travel faster that C as no signal according to special relativity can travel faster than C. However, I wonder, if as our time measurments for distant related objects becomes more precise whether or not we will ever encounter delays in quantum mechanical entanglement processes or delays in the transmission of such effects over large distances.

    Perhaps any short temporal delays could be viewed as quantum mechanical entanglement being mediated through the socalled compactified higher dimensional space of string theory and brane theory. Note that according to some versions and nuances of string theory, these higher dimensions are compacted to a size on the order of the Planck Length while other interpretations hold that the compactified dimensions may be rolled up on the scale of a sizable fraction of a millimeter.


    Your Friend Jim

  • forrest noble October 9, 2007, 1:39

    Hey Jim,

    I’ll wait for someone else to jump in here. I’m familiar with current experiments and interpretations which I don’t agree with. I have a relatively long answer that includes a URL of the recent experiment 6/07 and mainstream interpretation. Quantum Mechanics is great! obviously the best system of predicting quantum particle behavior that we have. Quantum Theory on the other hand– the theory that tries to explain the details of QM was according to Einstein and countless others– many of the most respected theorists of the last century ( and I concur) was/ is pure BS — not discounting QM at all. I, like you Jim, would like to see a mainstream answer to your questions. If you want to see a mainstream URL and see an alternative theoretical answer, request: forrest_forrest@netzero.net. I don’t want to burn up this site with my theories that few may want to hear.

    your friend forrest

  • george scaglione October 9, 2007, 17:13

    hello jim,forrest,all… a real pleasure to see so many ideas now so well expressed in a section of the site which for too long was only the jim and george show! well errrr ahhh 98% anyhow. thank you jim for your comments on what i wrote about using the zpf for propulsion.any other ideas on that anyone!? and forrest,happy to hear your theories anytime buddy! type away! here is one of mine,i think the oldest one… you know how gravity accelerates things at 32 ft per second per second? well i once said ,”what if a space craft could lock onto the gravitational field of a star? then use its gravity to fall toward it at an ever accelerating rate?” a true,gravity drive! wrote that idea up in a snail mail once and sent it off to carl sagan.and holy smoke! he answered me!!! i think he said that it was a good concept but he could think of no way to do it.still have the original letter downs stairs in a safe place.well it goes without saying that i’d sure like to hear from anyone who thinks that they might know a way to realize that particular concept. all the best one and all ! your friend george

  • James M. Essig October 9, 2007, 19:38

    Hi George and Forrest;

    George, your stellar infalling concept is a good concept. I can imagine how a spacecraft could be set on a path wherein it would be routed from one star to another gradually receiving gravity assists and making slight changes in direction with each encounter with a star for a path that would take it around and around the milky way galaxy untill it approaches C for egress into intergalactic space. Such a system might be good for large space arks for gradual accelleration wherein desired terminal velocities approaching C is desired.

    Near the Sun’s surface, the escape velocity is 617.5 km/sec so that a spacecraft could recieve quite a boost if it used a near solar surface approach to start its gradual interstellar journey. Now the escape velocity of a stellar body is Ve = [2GM/r] EXP 1/2 where G is the universal gravitational constant, M is the mass of the body whose escape velocity is Ve at a distance r from the center of mass of the body of mass M.

    Nuetron stars have an escape velocity of about 150,000 km/sec whiich is about 1/2 C. Blackholes have an escape velocity of C at the
    event horizon. If one could build a star ship with suitably fantastically strong materials and with an intraship cargo tidal force cancelling or reduction mechanism, then gravity assists from nuetron stars, of which their are many within the Milky Way could approach a sizable fractional increment of C for each of the first few nuetron star passes. As the craft speed approached C, gravity assists would still add considerable relativistic kinetic energy increases to the craft provided the craft approached the star very closely.

    Gravity assists from stellar massed blackholes given the same materials of ship constuction or stronger materials of construction and better tidal force cancellation mechanisms could approach a large fraction of C with the first pass.

    Very large or supermassive blackholes could provide an even larger gravity assist because of their extensive super high g levels which are much more extensive than that for stellar mass blackholes. In fact, the radius of a blackhole is directly proportional to its mass. As a result, supermassive blackholes afford a greater length of spatial path for which accelleration can be maintained. Now craft recieving gravity assist from a blackhole of such a mass would probably need some sort of super high thrust level matter/antimatter drive while accellerating toward the blackhole, however with such a gravity assist should in theory approach C-e where e is a small to very very small fraction of C. Given enough matter/antimatter fuel or perhaps some as yet undiscovered more exothermic fuel, the amount of gravitational assist based velocity increase should be able to virtually approach C arbitrarilly closely as long as the craft can get back out of the blackhole gravity well, thus the reason for using matter/antimatter fuel or even more mass specific exothermic yet to be iscovered fuel.


    Your Friend Jim

  • george scaglione October 10, 2007, 9:15

    jim thank you very much that just goes to show you why i ask all the time for everyones comments etc. you took my idea and ran with it! in a way that i myself never thought of! really cool thank you. george ps intergalactic! nice touch! i do not see too much about that often but wow intergalactic! there you are talking about DISTANCES!! makes a mission to mars look like a walk around the block! could such a thing ver be practical!? maybe by space ark but even then THE TIME IT WOULD TAKE!!!!!!!! could that ever be worked out?? i wonder.might be “easier” to use some kind of advanced worm hole system! what do you think? jim? forrest? everybody? again,thanks george

  • James M. Essig October 10, 2007, 23:24

    High George;

    Thanks for the good comments and wise council.

    My imagination was quite active this evening and so I have the following concepts to mention.

    The idea of building a galaxy wide or even observable universe wide network of electromagnetic travel tubes occurred to me as an interesting topic of discussion.

    First, one can imagine a 10 EXP 15 meter long launch tube being constructed that could exert and average force on a manned projectile of 10 EXP 8 newtons or about 10 EXP 7 kg force i.e., about 10 EXP 4 metric tons of force on a 100 metric ton manned spacecraft. As a result, the muzzle relativistic energy of the craft as it left the far end of the tube would be (10 EXP 15)(10 EXP 8) joules or 10 EXP 23 joules. This is the equivalent of 1,000 metric tons of mass. Thus the craft would achieve a gamma factor of 10 and a time dilation factor of 10 upon leaving the tube.

    Now imaging a simmilar tube 10 EXP 10 light years long or about 10 EXP 26 meters long with the same average propulsion force. Upon leaving the tube, the craft would have obtained a gamma factor of 10 EXP 12 and the traveler would have aged only a small portion of a normal human life span craft’s reference frame. If one were to increase the propulsive force by 3 orders of magnitude to 10 EXP 11 newtons, the terminal gamma factor would be 10 EXP 15 at the end of the tube for the exiting craft.

    If there were some craft based acceleration force cancelling mechanism, the person within the craft could take a brief cat nap starting on the journey and be most of the way accross the radius of the observable universe by time he awoke.

    How might one power these tubes? One way would be to have cosmic microwave background radiation to electrical charge energy storage mechanisms placed along the length of the tube every few to 1000 kilometers. The capacitors would be gradually charged up over long periods of time by electrical power supplies which derive their power from the CMBR.

    Alternatively, such capacitors could be powered by captures ambient starlight with large area photovoltaic membranes that collect interstellar starlight photons and convert them to electrical energy for storage in electrostatic energy form.

    Yet another method would involve collecting interstellar gas gradually and when a large enough supply has been built up at each generations station, a fusion reactor would be periodically activated at each sight until each collected supply of interstellar fusionable gas was processed and the resultant electrical energy generated converted to stored electrosttic energy.

    Yet another method would involve beaming the required energy from remotely located stellar energy harnessing facilitites powered by photovoltaic, thermoelectric, photo-thermal-turboelectric, optically pumped lasing, thermally pumped lasing, etc., facilities. Planetary system based nuclear fusion or perhaps even chemically powered generators could make use of the vast resources of fusionable elements or even chemical reactants to power laser, microwave, and/or massive particle beams which would then be directed to the various charge storage units along the length of the electromagnetic tube.

    Note that meaningful voyages across distances of billions if not trillions or more lightyears could be facilitated by such transport mechanisms. To see why, it is good to consider that circular tubes having a diamter of a large fraction of the observable universe could house societies on very large buses or space zondes moving within the tubes with a velocity commensurate with a relativistic time dilation factor ranging from 10 EXP 9 to 10 EXP 12 depending on the diamter of the tube while at the same time requiring only 1 g of angular accelleration to keep them on a circular track inside path and away from contact with the inside wall of the transit tubes. Thus, societies inhabitants who stayed back could live to see their loved ones travel to a distance of billions if not trillion of lightyears away and come back all within a couple of stay at home reference time frame years of less.

    Why build such a system? The reason could be that the energy used to accellerate the craft could be removed from the craft and restored in the system’s or tube’s energy storage capacitors and resused over and over again to accellerate and decellarate craft until processes would gradually bleed off energy in the form of electromagnetic losses to the surrounding interstellar media. Another reason could be that the tubes could be evacuated of all interstellar dust, gas, and other debris which such ultrarelativistic craft could otherwise run into and be destroyed in an instant.

    How massive would such tubes have to be to function? If one allowed 100,000 metric tons per km of length, then a 10 EXP 23 km long tube would have a mass of 10 EXP 28 metric tons or the mass of a few times that of the sun, in short the mass of a typical medium large sized star. Thus the tube would be in no danger of collapsing by its own gravitation.

    What might such a tube be made of? Perhaps superstrong superconducting carbon nanotubes or other simmilar materials with the requisite strength, abundance, and electrical properties. Note that superconducting materials in the construction of the walls of the transit tubes could be used to contain electromagnetic emmissions within the tube by the tube and/or the transiting crafts.

    If one such tube could be built, why not a whole highway system of such tubes,-in short a huge observable universe wide network of trillions if not quadrillions of such tubes and a comensurate number or circular tubes for extremely relativistic living quarters or buses (or space zondes if you will) for “stay at home folks”.

    Regardless of the number of tubes, they could propel a spacecraft or tubecraft by sequential or precisely timed tubular section electric or magnetic propulsive field activation as the craft passed through that particular length of tube. As the craft existed one differential segment of the tube, the segments propulsion fields would be shut off and the next segment would be activated and so one for energy use effeciency.

    How might the tubes be maintained in a non-stressed manner? The tubes might optionally have ion thrusters, magnetic field generators, electron thrusters etc to gradually push, pull, and/or torsion the tubes to reduce stretching, compression, and other forces imposed by the interstellar and intergalactic medium and also those due to the expansion of the spacetime across the distance to which the tubes are laid. Perhaps if carbon nanotubes are not capable of the mechanical properties demanded by tubes which may need to stretch along with the expansion of the universe, extremely strong very high stain materials might be imployed; perhaps some exotic form of matalic hydrogen or other exotic high temperature solid hydrogen compound or simmilar atomic or molecular compounds might be utilized if they have the required properties for use in structural material contents of the tubes.

    Alternatively, as the tubes would need to elongate with the expansion of the cosmos, perhaps nanotechnological means of self assembly could be used to process material collected from the interstellar or intergalactic medium into bulk material to be incorporated into the tube walls to elongate them in a gradual lengthening process as required.

    The tubes might be protected from interstellar debris by automatic laser, ion, electron, or microwave beam cannons which could be used to destroy incoming large particulate matter or clumps of matter. Alternatively, some means of moving the local portion of the tube out of the path of an incomming external projectile could be provided perhaps in the form of magnetic field interaction with the extenal ambient cosmic magnetic fields, or some sort of thruster could be utilized such as an ion thruster, electron thruster, or mass driver etc.. In the case of the mass driver, the mass could optionally have a return mechanism such as some sort of very large and very long lastic band, an driven mass on board return rocket such as an ion rocket, electron rocket, fusion rocket, chemical rocket, or matter/antimatter rocket, etc..

    We might start by building a high way of such tubes in the simple humble form of an Earth to high Earth orbit “bean stalk” system according to the popular concept of such in the 1980’s and 90’s. Next, we could build such a network about our solar system followed by networks into the Kuiper Belt, Oort Cloud, an then out into interstellar space and to our nearby stellar neighbors and then outward from there, perhaps eternally outward during the entire future of the cosmos. As tube system power source and energy storage density improved as well as the electrical and mechanical properties of constuction materials improved, the acceleration levels of the crafts or cars could be improved thus leading to even higher relativistic velocities and associated gamma factors.

    Know if we can only build such tubes into higher dimensional space, hyper space, or any existent higher string or brane theory dimensions or into any possibly existent parallel histories or words according the the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory, or other universes altogehter, we might essentially have what could evolve into wormholes or perhaps something even better.

    That’s all for now.


    Your Friend Jim

  • george scaglione October 11, 2007, 10:47

    jim, good well thought out ideas! but i balk a bit at the concept of building such LARGE structures and god knows i am the last person here to ever throw cold water ON ANY IDEA!!! well what the heck my friend! i too have become carried away from time to time.why not? people do that on subjects about which they are passionate. thank you your friend george

  • James M. Essig October 11, 2007, 17:13

    Hi George;

    Thanks for the feedback and critical review. The structures I described above might take billions if not trillions of years for us working with ETI civilizations to build. There must be better methods of producing observable cosmos-wide space-based infrastructure then outlined in my concepts above. My imagination got a little carried away last night, but still I like to dream.


    Your Friend Jim

  • forrest noble October 12, 2007, 0:45

    Hi George,

    This gravity acceleration/ assist was first proposed to NASA in 1963 by an acquaintance of mine Dr. Michael Minovitch. He did the calculations on a bank of computers (in those days) as a gravity assist for interplanetary flight, a gravity booster/ whip. It was soon thereafter adopted by NASA and has been used by NASA ever since. Still talk to him once and a while. He is a good friend of a good friend of mine.

    We have used Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn for these whips of acceleration sometimes using 2 or 3 planets for one flight. So yes, it was a great idea that you proposed George.



    Wow– it many not take that long if our species survives for a while– at least to build some (if it would be the best technology), but as they like to say in Scotland, it will take a wee bit of time.
    I’m an optimist. I believe planetary “tubes” formed with particle beams (no walls; could be built within 300 years. Maybe the primary advantage might be very great speeds reducing the chance of impact with extraneous material.

    With these tubes we could also use the siphon method to transfer planetary materials/ atmospheres, unwanted materials, etc. and spacecraft.

    all for now, your friend forrest

  • James M. Essig October 12, 2007, 9:04

    Hi George and Forrest:

    Forrest, thanks for the critique and additional insight on the tubes system ideas. You made the idea even better by suggesting using particle beams. It is neat how one idea can be developed and refined by multiple individuals. I like your siphoning concept as well.

    Some additional manned interstellar concepts occurred to me as follows.

    1) The first concept involves using single pole magnetic particles that theoretically exist but have not yet been discovered known as monopoles as the magnetic field equivalent of electrically charged particles according to symmetry arguments between electric fields and magnetic fields.

    The idea involves the production of vast quantities of monopoles and then storing then within some very dense very, strong materials such as white dwarf dense materials, solid neutronium, or solid quarkonium, and/or the like. The idea involves the notion of producing a single pole monopole based magnet which could be shielded electromagnetically by some sort of superconducting cage or shield, perhaps made from superconducting neutronium, and then uncloaked within the presence of interstellar, galactic, or intergalactic magnetic fields. As a result, the spacecraft containing such a magnet would accelerate in a loop of increasing radius around the milky way or other galaxies magnetic field wit ever increasing velocity. Given enough stores magnetic field energy per craft rest mass, the craft should be able to approach C arbitrarily closely, or at least C-e where e is very small, fairly quickly.

    Now, if appropriately strong nuclear dense material or quarkonium is used to contain the monopoles, then perhaps a magnetic field stored energy density of between 1 to 50 percent or more than the equivalent rest mass of the monopole storing neutronium or quarkonium, thus allowing very intense magnetic fields to emanate from the craft in the form of permanent monopole magnets. Perhaps some very high bulk modulous and/or high tensile strength material of ordinay types such a diamond, carbon nitride, or carbon nanotubes could act as some sort of binding matrix to contain the monopoles although such would not permit nearly as strong of the monopole based magnet as would the as yet fanciful materials described above. However, ordinary matter matrix materials would have a much lower density and therefore a much lower mass.

    Note that magnetic field configurations might be set up from such a mechanism as mentioned above wherein the magnetic fields would be intense enough to induce a dipole moment in atoms or nuclei within the surrounding interstellar medium in such a way that such interstellar media could be used as a reaction mass or a medium for the space craft to perpetually react against as it accelerates through space. Perhaps this action could be used to augment acceleration effects produced by reaction against the general background interstellar, galactic, or intergalactic magnetic fields.

    2) The second concept involves using some sort of super high critical current, critical magnetic field, high temperature super conducting coil to store enough circulating electrical current such that the energy contained within the stored energized coil system could perhaps be equal to several to hundreds or thousands of times the rest mass of the spaceship containing the coil. The idea here is that the spacecraft would accelerate within the local interstellar, galactic, or intergalactic magnetic field gradient by reacting with such magnetic fields while gradually using stored magnetic field energy and thus the inertial mass/energy equivalent of the stored magnetic energy as the current and associated magnetic field emitted by the coils are depleted. Thus the kinetic energy imparted to the craft would not simply be a function of the conversion of onboard magnetic energy to kinetic energy, but rather additionally be related to energy extracted from the interstellar or other space-based medium thus increasing the efficiency of the space-craft kinetic energy gain process.

    I can imagine that since the energy of reaction of the craft would come from the energy stored within the coils and from the space-based medium, the efficiency of the system could surpass the efficiency of 100 percent efficient matter/antimatter annihilation systems wherein all of the matter and antimatter to power such systems would be stored on board the craft as fuel. Perhaps some sort of very low mass cosmic string like material can be used in the construction of the ship based superconducting coil. If not, then perhaps some sort of superconducting neutronium or quarkonium could be utilized for such.

    3) The third concept involves in-flight energization of the intense magnetic field coils described above in section 2 by very efficient matter/antimatter reaction powered electrical generators in order to yield an effective efficiency surpassing the conversion of the matter/antimatter mass into energy by reaction with the interstellar medium magnetic fields and extracting energy from such fields.

    4) The fourth concept involves the continuous adjustment of very strong permanent magnets affixed to a spacecraft wherein the polarity or orientation of such ship based magnets would be configured so that the ship would gradually accelerate along the magnetic field gradient within the interstellar, galactic, or intergalactic space adjacent to the craft. To achieve meaningful acceleration, the permanent magnets would need to be much stronger than those we currently are capable of manufacturing because the interstellar magnetic fields are generally on the rough order of 10 EXP – 10 tesla or less an so are very very weak. The very weak ship interaction with the interstellar or other space-based magnetic fields could be used to gradually accelerate very large space arks or space zondes for long duration space journeys.

    5) The fifth concept is not necessarily related to the previous 4 concepts above and involves having a multistage spacecraft utilizing multiple, fusion, fission, or matter/antimatter stages for added terminal velocity for interstellar and perhaps intergalactic travel in the case of matter/antimatter stages. The idea here is that each stage would be a useful space craft in its self and would have its unique mission or space travel route wherein the stages would each be 90 to 99 percent fuel and would utilize the most or almost the most efficient propulsion plants available or possible with respect to the type of fuel being used.

    Note that a matter/antimatter rocket first stage that has an efficiency approaching 95 to 100 percent and which contains 99 percent of its mass as matter/antimatter fuel should be able to obtain a gamma factor of at least 10. Such a ship might utilize some sort of magnetic breaking such that it would not need a reverse thrust mechanism to slow down to reach its destination. Alternatively, the ship could use some sort of reverse thrust interstellar ramjet mechanism to slow down.

    Nuclear fusion powered space craft first stages with efficiency approaching 95 to 100 percent and which contain 99 percent of their mass in the form of fusion fuel should be able to raach a sizable fraction of C wherein time dilation effects would be relatively modest but not insignificant for promoting ship based crew compatibility and other ergonomic factors. Note that a ship based time dilation for a 30 year trip Earth reference frame to stars within 8 light-years of Earth that shaves off an extra few years ship time can be important in the sense that a return mission for a such a trip could be reduced by as much as ten years from the 60 years that it otherwise would take if time dilation did not occur. Given the current life expectancy of about 85 years for peak condition individuals who would be selected for such precursor missions, this can be an important factor for maintaining crew contentment and confidence that they will live to see the entire mission accomplished. Note that both fusion and fission powered ships could also utilize magnetic breaking or reverse thrust interstellar ramjet techniques for slowing down.

    Note that Lorentz forces could be used to stear the ships in direction misaligned from the magnetic field gradients in which the ships travel thus promoting a greater variety of travel routes


    Your Friend Jim

  • george scaglione October 12, 2007, 9:32

    forrest: that gravity drive idea i proposed dates back to january of 1981. i just ran downstairs to check my records as it where! so if the idea was already proposed in 1963,lol i “missed the boat” by a little bit! yet i am aware of the method you describe and was undoubtedly aware of it then.my concept was a whole different thing,probably a little more advanced.good reason that nobody could think of how to actually do it back then or…lol i guess now for that matter! and…one more thing… about those tubes mentioned above,as ambitious as it seems of me to say so.faced with this concept i still think that it would be just “as easy,if not easier” to develop traversable worm holes! it is just that as you say it will take “a wee bit of time”!!! will mankind in his infinite wisdom survive that long? another question.but at any rate forrest have a very good day and thank you very much for your input! george

  • george scaglione October 12, 2007, 9:45

    jim,thank you for the good ideas,but again,as regards those tubes,i stand by what i just told forrest above! i do not forget for a moment that in the case of either project we are talking about a loooong time in all probability before one or the other could be realized! in fact for right now we are talking more “science fiction” than anything else.but i do very much appreciate that kind of discussion! will very happily read any further comments from anybody on the tubes the worm holes or something that is in someones mind something better.that after all is the purpose of this site. respectfully to all,your friend,george

  • James M. Essig October 12, 2007, 14:21

    Hi George;

    Thanks for your candid assessment and wise council regarding the tubes ideas. My mind sometimes can get a little out there with currently impractical ideas or even ideas that will remain impractical for a very very long time. It is good to be grounded back in reality from time to time on what are more practical approaches to manned interplanetary and manned interstellar travel. Afterall, if we have any chance of launching precursor interstellar manned missions within our life-time, our children’s lifetime, or within the lifetimes of the following one or two generation afterward, it will need to be something practical.

    My hunch is that the first interstellar manned voyage to say Alpha Centuri or Bernard’s star will involve either matter/antimatter rocket propulsion or more likely, a very effecient fusion drive system that would reach a terminal velocity of about 1/3 C and then be slowed by magnetic breaking so that the space-craft does not need to carry extra fuel to slow down. The space craft might optionally have a means to refuel with hydrogen, deuterium, or helium after reaching its destination for the return trip home. I think that if we as a global civilization went on a high paced mission to develope such a fusion powered manned spacecraft, we could launch the mission towards the end of our lifetimes assumming we live another hopefully 40 to 60 years, or perhaps even sooner.

    Whatever the propulsion methods for the first manned missions to our interstellar nieghbors, we will be doing manned planetary mssions in the mean-time as well as perhaps have some unanticipated breaktroughs in practical propulsion techniques. Either way, the next few decades I think are going to get real interesting.


    Your Friend Jim

  • george scaglione October 12, 2007, 17:14

    jim yes i think you are very correct about the next few decades! also i agree that we do need some practical form of propulsion like matter anti- matter or fusion! also i agree that when the first star ship goes its way there will also be ALOT going on regarding manned space flight here in the solar system ! that should help us develop the propulsion we will need for interstellar too,or i sure hope that it would ! anyway thank you very much your friend george

  • forrest noble October 13, 2007, 0:49

    Hi my friends,

    This is the subject where I “threatened” to “reveal” Oct. 7, above, what I very much hope could be a practical and relatively easy/ inexpensive way for satellite repair, satellite placement, and hopefully lunar, mars, interplanetary, interstellar, etc., mode of transportation.

    It starts like this. A 747 or airbus carries enough fuel to fly half-way around the world or close to it when it is fully loaded with passengers/ cargo, maybe 11,000 miles. Their cruising altitude is roughly 30,000 feet almost 6 miles. They can and do go higher but must increase air speed to maintain stabilization because the air becomes thinner. At increased speeds their fuel efficiency goes down/ profits, etc. My reply Sept. 30 discussed a positron propulsion system where oxygen nuclei in combination with positrons could propel a space vehicle. In the same way in today’s world a “simple” aircraft like a 747 could be converted to receive oxygen from a oxygen “beam” (when the air becomes too thin) from earth. Space / orbit is little more than 100 miles up. A rocket may have to use as much as 3 times as much fuel as an aircraft, 2/3 of the fuel is needed to stabilize the aircraft and only 1/3 for propulsion. Stabilization can be acheived by adding additional jets toward the tips of the wings, etc.

    So it might be simply designed by replacing/ eliminating all the side windows in a 747, putting in a new/ different front window that could contain 14.7 sq. in. inside pressure within the vacuum of space in orbit. This aircraft could fly to about 40,000 feet and at that time receive a beam of oxygen nuclei. From Earth the craft at that time would have almost their entire fuel supply which would enable the craft to potentially go to mars and with that much fuel even fly back. A landing craft if not separate would need a Harrier-Style landing system. Interplanetary travel requires only initial trajectory speed and little or no other fuel except for only a trivial amount for trajectory adjustment, and life support systems. Of course in reality there would be many unstated factors/ problems but none that I am aware of beyond the scope of present technology.

    On the internet I investigated nuclei acceleration but found little that I could use regarding this idea, excepting that it is difficult to keep an “open particle beam” (unprotected/ not enclosed) together within our atmosphere for more than a few hundred miles– also that by adding positrons such a beam remains stable for a greater distance. This of course is more than enough distance for this spacecraft and more than enough fuel to lift satellites, I still haven’t talked to a particle physicist regarding an “oxygen beam”. It seems reasonable to me that some of this info man be classified because particle beams can be used as a weapon.

    Aside from this factor– it seems to me that all that may be needed for sure is to perfect this beam and its delivery system. If this is or could be perfected in the near future it could be the first type of non-staged space craft that could do almost anything. Besides the oxygen being beamed to the craft, so could a separate beam be sent for other fuel constituents. Also as I discussed before positrons seemingly could also be beamed with the oxygen adding additional fuel posibilities.

    I intend to investigate this further– talk to particle physicists and see what limitations, if any, they may be aware of. What do you think?

    your friend forrest

  • george scaglione October 13, 2007, 10:18

    forrest,wow to say fantastic idea would be a gross understatement! please keep us all advised on how this may come out upon closer study!i’d love to hear! your friend george and ps by the way ,have a great week end!

  • forrest noble October 13, 2007, 16:48

    Hi George and Jim,

    This is the most applicable info that I’ve been able to find for weapons application– however it does have some direct relevance to an oxygen ion or neutral particle beam. The following info was taken out of context. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/aureview/1984/jul-aug/roberds.html

    “There are two broad types of particle-beam weapons: the charged-particle beam weapon and the neutral-particle beam weapon. The charged-particle variety would be developed for use within the atmosphere (endoatmospheric) and has a set of technological characteristics that are entirely different from the neutral particle beam weapon that would be used in space (exoatmospheric). Primarily, the extremely high power and precisely defined beam characteristics required for a particle beam to propagate through the atmosphere distinguish an endoatmospheric device from a beam weapon designed to operate in space.

    The technological problems associated with exoatmospheric weapons are considerable also, but they are not as difficult as those associated with endoatmospheric weapons. Here, the greatest challenge is in the area of directing the beam: the weapon must be able to focus its energy to strike a target that may be thousands of kilometers away. There are two aspects to this challenge. First, the weapon must create a high-intensity, neutral beam with negligible divergence as it leaves the accelerator. Second, the weapon must have a system for aiming its beam at the target. This system must be able to detect pointing errors in a beam (which is itself very difficult to detect because of its lack of an electric charge).

    As far as I can surmise the next step would be a feasibility study, which could begin as soon as the funding is approved.

    That’s all for now, your friend forrest

  • Adam October 13, 2007, 17:37

    Hi forrest

    I’m not sure that’s a terribly practical system as the ground track of a spacecraft accelerating to orbital speed can be thousands of kilometres. You’d be punching holes through a lot of air with that beam so the ionisation losses would be incredible. Plus you have to cool the beam in order to use it in an engine.

    Surely there’s an easier option?

  • forrest noble October 13, 2007, 17:51

    This web site had specific info indicating what I had previously read, that oxygen is one of the easiest nuclei to accelerate.

    “……….(the atomic accelerator at) CERN has long been known in which beams of single particles, such as protons or electrons, are accelerated around a large ring and then either collide head on with particles circling in the opposite direction or are aimed at a fixed target.
    The record-breaking energy achieved here, beginning last September, is extremely high because atomic nuclei consisting of many particles are accelerated.
    So far, it has been oxygen that has been accelerated to high energy. Its nuclei are formed of eight protons and eight neutrons. The nuclei are boosted until the energy of each (nuclear) particle is 200 billion electron volts. The total energy of the nucleus is therefore 16 times 200, or 3,200 billion electron volts.”

    Your friend forrest

  • Adam October 13, 2007, 18:16

    Hi forrest

    No denying that, but particle accelerators work in a vacuum. Natural particle accelerators are light-bolts and you can see how much energy is lost in the atmosphere when they go off. The positrons mixed in your beam would be annihilated by all the electrons of atoms ionised by the oxygen nucleii beam.

  • forrest noble October 13, 2007, 19:10

    Hi Adam,

    You’re probably right about the positrons being lost in the quantities I initially propose, but from what I’ve read positrons in a “heavy” nuclear particle beam for some reason stabalize the beam– keeping it more together.

    There has been much work with particle beams moving through the atmosphere as a result of weapons development. Indications are that the 50-100 mile distance that is needed is well within the capability of current technology. In space the beam would still spread out but such beams could be re-focused by satellites for more distant flights.

    see above URL

    “Another problem of propagation is possible beam spreading. An increase in beam diameter would result in a decrease of the energy density (intensity) of the beam as it travels toward the target. Over short ranges, a slight beam divergence can be tolerated, but the very long ranges that would be required of the space weapon place a tremendous restriction on the amount of beam divergence that is acceptable.

    Use of a neutral beam in space would ensure that the beam would not spread due to mutual repulsion of the beam particles. Divergence would come strictly from that imparted by the accelerator. In the atmosphere, however, even if the beam particles were neutral, air molecules would strip the surrounding electrons quickly from the beam’s neutral atoms, turning the beam into a charged-particle beam. The charged particles within the beam would then tend to repel one another, producing undesirable beam divergence. But as the beam propagates through the air, it would also strip electrons from the surrounding air molecules, creating a region of charged particles (ions) intermingling with the beam. The result of this phenomenon is to neutralize the overall charge of the beam, thereby reducing the undesired effect of mutual repulsion among the charged particles in the beam that is a cause of beam spreading. Another force that tends to prevent beam spreading is a surrounding magnetic field, created by the current of the charged particle beam. This field wraps itself around the beam and produces a conduit that inhibits beam divergence.

    A charged-particle beam will tend naturally to spread apart, due to the mutually repulsive forces between the like-charged particles constituting the beam. The electric current created by the moving charges will generate a surrounding magnetic field which will tend to bind the beam together”.


  • forrest noble October 13, 2007, 19:27

    Sorry I missed this in a previous reply of yours,

    In this system you wouldn’t need speed because you have a continuous fuel supply and have stability jets on the craft. Maybe a few thousand miles per hour or less would be adequate for orbit. After that you could accelerate depending upon where you wanted to go. A high-altitute (mountain top), or satellite beam- transfer station could relay the beam so that conceivably the plane could follow a stationary beam in to space.


  • Adam October 14, 2007, 1:09

    Hi forrest

    Orbit is an inertial trajectory. A powered flight is not “in orbit” regardless of how it’s sustained. Your idea is fair enough if you have the power supply, but kind of pointless unless the vehicle is boosting vertically to escape velocity.

    I’m still trying to figure out where your idea is going. Tell me exactly what the advantages are supposed to be because it seems very power hungry.

  • george scaglione October 14, 2007, 12:36

    forrest i have a question. think these particle beam weapons would outdo the famous “phaser banks” we have all heard so much about? and more importantly they would be a source of great energy…so,what’s the first thing i think of? you guessed it! could this then be used in any way as a form of propulsion?! i know the logic in star trek was that the ship and crew did need some form of self defense out there…but in real life… i do not think that it will be all that necessary as it does not look like (sadly) that the universe is literally “crawling” with intelligent space fareing societies.anyhow what do you think? respectfully your friend george

  • forrest noble October 14, 2007, 17:50

    Hey Adam,

    Bottom line is that escape velocity is necessary only for an un-powered bullet/ rocket. This initial speed is necessary because the rocket has no power. If the initial speed like a bullet does not attain escape velocity i.e. about 17,000 miles per hour min. it cannot go into orbit. If a craft however has unlimited power/ fuel it could reach a freeway speed of 70 miles per hour or less and effortlessly go into orbit (if you like the slow lane). The most efficient way/ the only way we have now is to “shoot” it out without fuel when staging is complete and escape velocity has been reached. Our craft on the other hand needs no acceleration only to a speed of a few thousand miles has been reached. At that point only enough propulsion is needed to maintain its speed by counteracting gravity.

    You wouldn’t accelerate until you were completely out of the atmosphere and in orbit. Remember this is only an aircraft and isn’t built for heavy atmospheric resistance.

    It is also critical when coming back. You would use your beamed fuel to slow down the craft from maybe 100,000 miles per hour back to 2,000 miles per hour. Then you would need your fuel like a Harrier jet to approach our atmosphere again. You could then fly down normally like an airplane. No heat shield would be needed because you would not be a flying rock. Again, high speeds are only needed when you do not have power/ fuel. The point is that if you have power/ fuel going into orbit could be achieved at any speed above 0 mile per hour. For our craft I believe this speed would be roughly 2000 mph.

    Hi George,

    The power/ energy component of the beam itself, aside from the oxygen or other fuel within it, could be used by the “catch device” / aircraft to add forward thrust to the craft, but only I think a very minor percentage because of the weight of the craft. I believe the engines would need to be numerous and much smaller than a 747, more like a bank of smaller jet engines. This is because a large engine requires a large volume of gas to operate, as in our atmosphere we have about 70% nitrogen which when heated ads the necessary thrust to the engine. Also the volume of the resulting oxygen beam may be inadequate for a 747. Then multiple beams or a smaller craft would be the solution. In the case of a smaller craft then the push factor derived from the beam energy would be a larger factor.

    As far as intelligent life out there, if there were only one in a billion stars that had “intelligent” like such as us, that would still be 300 other “civilizations” in our galaxy alone. Multiply that times the number of galaxies just within our view, you would have a pretty big number. I myself think they’re out there.

    Your friend forrest

  • Adam October 15, 2007, 3:02

    Hi forrest

    I still don’t get the point of putting such a slow vehicle into space – not orbit, just space – unless you’re going to accelerate to your interplanetary cruising speed there and then. Otherwise the reaction mass required is ridiculous and the power required to beam it to the vehicle.

  • forrest noble October 15, 2007, 15:34

    Hi Adam,

    You need to read all the material that I wrote above on this subject. This craft is much faster than anything that we have now. The difference is that the majority of acceleration begins after you’re in orbit—because conventional aircraft can’t withstand “high Mach speeds” within our atmosphere. This propulsion system could conceivably have unlimited fuel, might accelerate to maybe 100,000 miles per hour or a lot more if we wanted to reinforce/ rebuild the craft (not use a 747 etc.). The point is it’s an aircraft. We have the technology now. We could save maybe 100’s of billions of dollars in initial construction, repairing satellites, launching satellites. You could fly to the moon, mars – land, come back—go there 2 times faster or more, etc..

    Everything that we currently want to do in space could be done much sooner with this kind of propulsion system if it works. We could have many craft, many new designs, in many countries, doing all kinds of cool things. There is no limit. Conventional spacecraft systems have to carry huge quantities of fuel, a great amount of weight, and they are very expensive. There would be no limit in the near future to what we could do if this system works. All I would like to see now is a feasibility study to see what problems there would be, now, to develop such a system. Also to consider the other uses other than military, for such a beam.


  • James M. Essig October 15, 2007, 19:08

    Hi George, Forrest, and Adam;

    I just got back from Chincoteage Island, VA and had a wonderful weekend vacation and so I have not yet had time to digest the previous dozen or so postings.

    However, I had some additional concepts regarding interstellar flight that I wish to mention that I wrote up just before I left last Saturday.

    1) The first concept involves either taking a planetary sized body without an atmosphere such as the moon or Mercury or constructing one with tubes that extend thru the body for huge as acceleration chambers to accelerate large spacecraft to relativistic velocities in a single jolt.

    One can imagine a body with the mass of the Moon about 10 EXP 22 Kg wherein 1/10 to 1/2 of the mass of such a body would be in the form of capacitors capable of storing 10 EXP 9 joules of electrical energy per kilogram. The system would in essence be a huge electromagnetic gun with incredibly string magnetic field capability for launching space ships.

    Ideally, the system would be at least 10% efficient or more at converting the entire stored electrical energy into space craft energy or muzzle energy. At a capacitor mass of 1/2 of the body with the mass of a Moon sized accelerator, the low end of this energy to space-craft transfer range would be (0.1)(1/2)(10 EXP 22)(10 EXP 9) joules. For a 100 metric ton spacecraft, the gamma factor of the spacecraft leaving the launch tube would be 5 x 10 EXP 7. With capacitors able to store 10 EXP 12 joules/Kg, the gamma factor would be 5 x 10 EXP 10.

    For an acceleration star having the mass of a white dwarf and similar density to such, given the same efficiencies stated above, but an electrical energy storage ability of 10 EXP 14 joules/Kg, the muzzle energy would be approximately (1/2)(10 EXP 30)(10 EXP14)(0.1) or (1/2)x !0 EXP 43 joules.

    For a 100 metric tone spacecraft, this would yield a gamma factor of 5 x 10 EXP 22 thus permitting the spacecraft to travel 5 x 10 EXP 22 Light-years in one ship year assuming no cosmic space-time expansion. In reality the craft would travel a distance of many orders of magnitude greater away from its origin due to cosmic space-time expansion in an open universe. The final recessional velocity would be many orders of magnitude greater than C relative to the point of origin because of the cosmic space-time expansion in an open universe.

    Alternatively, a 10 EXP 12 metric ton space craft could have a terminal gamma factor of (1/2) x 10 EXP 12, permitting the craft to travel 10 EXP 14 L-Y in one human generation ship time assuming no cosmic expansion. In reality due to cosmic space expansion in an open universe, the distance traveled would be several orders of magnitude greater and the recessional velocity would be several orders of magnitude greater than C.

    Now some method would be needed to prevent the acceleration of such values for the ship from obliterating the ship and its cargo. Perhaps some sort of G force cancellation electric field , magnetic field, electro-gravatic field , or other gravatic field patterns could be set up within the ship to cancel the tremendous forces due to acceleration to such high gamma factors in so short of acceleration path.

    Perhaps the electromagnetic gun system could utilize massive solid neutronium or thin quarkonium super-conducting cables for the guns electromagnets or other electrically powered field generating mechanisms. Some sort of negative or imaginary mass might be required to hold the tubes open against collapse by the planetary massed or stellar massed accelerator bodies own gravitational compression which would otherwise crush the muzzle of the accelerator. Alternatively, the tubes could be made of solid neutronium or quarkonium. For small accelerators with the mass of a large asteroid, say that of Ceres which is the size of the State of Texas, perhaps all that would be necessary to hold the tube open would be some very high bulk modulus material such as diamond, carbon nitride, and/or the like.

    2) The second concept involves using the electrical or magnetic fields of electromagnetic radiation beams to accelerate a space-craft wherein a set properly superposed wave trains of linearly, circularly, and/or elliptically polarized electromagnetic waves would be of the proper relative phase in the vicinity of the spacecraft such that a static or propagating magnetized or electrified region of space within which the craft travels would be maintained at the location of the craft as it approached C from its stationary initial state.

    To facilitate this roaming magnetic or electric field, perhaps beams from different angles could be directed towards the craft in order to enhance this effect. For large craft, long wave microwave or radio-frequency radiation might be utilized. For extremely large craft, very low to ultra-low frequency electromagnetic radiation might be utilized. Note that the frequency distribution of the component beams may be broadened, narrowed, or varied in time to facilitate this effect depending on the specific application required. The frequency spectrum may also be temporally varying. Collimated beams could be used for travel and acceleration over planetary or interstellar distances.

    Note that this proposed effect is distinct form the general effect of light or electromagnetic radiation pressure exerted on a surface or body based on the momentum transfer of incident photons on a physical body such as , for example, would or could be used for a solar sail space craft.

    3) The third concept involves the construction of materials out of slowed or cooled neutrinos if such can be made to exist. The idea here would be to slow neutrinos down to zero or near zero velocity and some how bind them amongst them selves through the use of the electroweak interaction to produce quality material having very exotic properties. Such materials, if they can be constructed, might be able to pass through many light-years of solid lead without interacting with the lead or getting stuck or trapped within the lead. Thus one can imagine spacecraft and human bodies composed of such materials able to ply the cosmos at highly relativistic velocities without the need for collision avoidance mechanisms except for the potential encounters with black holes. Perhaps the quantum mechanical states that define the linkage of the human soul and/or consciousness to the body could be transferred to the neutrino material as a new or temporary mind/body link for such space travel.

    It is interesting to note that the alleged ethereal qualities of so-called energy bodies or spirit bodies claimed to exist by advocates of the notions of near death out of body experiences, astral-projection, and the like might be duplicated by artificial neutrino body creation for extended space-time travel. Could, for example, such naturally occurring energy bodies or spirit bodies actually be composed of material made from slow neutrinos wherein the electroweak interaction processes that occur within the human physical body among its charged particles, infrared photons emitted from within the body, and the low frequency electromagnetic waves generated within by electrochemical processes actually form and modify the shape of such energy bodies. Some individuals have actually claimed to have notice a sudden drop in the weight of a cadaver on a sensitive scale of on the order of a gram or less and have interpreted this as the separation of the soul from the human body. It is interesting to note that the ratio of this small mass to that of a typical human body is roughly the same as the ratio of the weak force to that of the electromagnetic force. Note that a Nobel prize was awarded for the successful unification of the electromagnetic force with the weak nuclear force in the electroweak unification theory. Could the above ratio have any correlation with this alleged mass difference or mass loss.

  • forrest noble October 15, 2007, 21:11

    Hi Jim,

    Glad to see you’re back. Commenting on your second idea, electrical/ magnetic acceleration from a beam may be feasible now, except I don’t have a design concept in mind, it still seems feasible to me. Your third concept about neutrinos, according to field theory that I adhere to (which means it’s a matter of opinion) almost the entire energy of a neutrino is tied up in its energy the same as a photon. Take away that speed and you’ve taken away maybe 99% of its energy/ potential. After that it would accordingly become an inconsequential part of the background field, aka dark matter, 0-point field, aether, etc. At this point I don’t believe it could be profitably converted into anything else.

    All for now, your friend forrest

  • george scaglione October 16, 2007, 10:24

    hello one and all thank you very much for the good ideas above.frankly this has been one of those unusal weeks where i have become so busy that i had very little chance to go on line right now i’m sorta playing catch up so also forgive me if i have in any way missed the “gist” of anything that may have been said above! frankly…still a little harried for time but expect everything to revert back to normal in the next couple of days! look forward to much better discussions and comments by then…sincerely your friend george

  • James M. Essig October 16, 2007, 13:31

    Hi George, Adam, and Forrest;

    Forrest, thanks very much for the critical review of my previous posting. By the way, I think your high altitude to orbit propulsion concepts are fascinating and intriquing. The idea of a craft as such that could accelerate to 100,000 mph or more would be fantastic, a great way to reach orbit and tool around the solar system.

    George, since you are a reader of Popular Science just as I am, in the latest issue there is an excellent article (about 4 pages) of NASAs ideas of wanting to do a manned mission to a NEO asteriod to study its composition inorder to learn more about them just in case we need to destroy or divert an incomming asteriod. Also, it has been suggested that asteroids may in some cases be a gold mind, pun intended, for various precious metals and also for their mineral content. They may even contain water in some cases which could be utilized for other space based deeper missions for the oxygen and hydrogen that could be provided by the water content’s electrolytic dissassociation. I read the article last night and found it very encouraging.


    Your Friend Jim

  • James M. Essig October 16, 2007, 20:23

    Hi Folks;

    Forrest, I remember my brother Mike showing me a book that he bought from a discount book store that specialized in dated books wherein the book describe some guy’s ideas about using laser beams or other beams to focus on say the underside of an aircraft wherein the energy would be further concentrated into a chamber to superheat air which would then expand out of a jet or rocket chamber through a nozzle to provide thrust for aircraft able to travel at hypersonic velocities.

    Also discussed was a craft that would travel near the edge of space by this method that would reach several times orbital velocity so that the g force of the craft traveling around the Earth would force the crew to experience several outwardly directed G’s. The idea here was for such crafts to make excellent rapid jet fighters with atmosperic air intakes. But they could also make excursions out into the solar system at velocities perhaps upwards of 100,000 MPH.


    Your Friend Jim

  • forrest noble October 17, 2007, 14:55

    Thanks for that Jim,

    It certainly has similarities to my idea above. I believe that one of the main differences is that in the above design we’re not just beaming energy; primarily we’re beaming a missing fuel component, oxygen. This beam would be used when the atmosphere was too thin to get enough oxygen out of it. Instead it would use the oxygen from the beam. Also at that point the aircraft would still be nearly full of fuel but because the air becomes increasingly thinner, stabilizing jets would be needed (like a rocket). If we would use an aircraft in the first place like a 747 as I suggested (because it’s already available, a lot cheaper and quicker to build) the downside would be structural limitations to its acceleration capability/ stability until it’s out of the atmosphere, then it might be accelerated to say 100,000 mph or more.

    Once the craft is at orbit distance it must be accelerated to orbit speed, say 40,000 mph. After that the energy component, as George pointed out to me, could become an important component of the beam, while the oxygen from the beam at that time could be stored as the beam continues to accelerate the craft. Maybe one-half or more of the remaining 60,000 mph acceleration might come from the energy component of the beam, i.e. its speed, ¼ C or more, similar to your book.

    Based upon the info above all this technology appears to be available now—except for the beam delivery system (cannon) which also might be available as classified military equipment now, and the beam receiving device and fuel integration components the would have to be designed for the aircraft. The beam would initially come from a major particle accelerator, CERN etc. It appears to me that this is today’s technology that could be designed and built today. Of course a completely new spacecraft could be designed for this purpose but it could take a lot longer. (and I want it (lol) ASAP, really!!!.)