by Peter Rasmussen

Escape velocity

Posted by Peter Rasmussen on March 6, 2007

LightcraftCurrently the most expensive part of any kind of work in space is getting stuff up there. The space shuttle has to reach eighteen times the speed of sound to fight Earth’s gravity well just to reach orbit.

There are some ambitious alternatives on the horizon that hope to make this safer for a fraction of the cost. One of the main problems with the present system is that a tremendous amount of fuel is needed just to carry all the fuel to make the rocket go so fast. It’s a catch 22. The following are some of the more serious alternatives being explored.

The Space Elevator is a tether that reaches from the Earth’s surface to a geostationary counterweight (satellite) in orbit hundreds of miles up. The main concern is that the weight of this tether is beyond its breaking strain if made from currently existing materials. The Space Elevator plans to use a ribbon made of “Nano Tubes”. This ends up being something as light as aluminium foil but twenty times stronger than steal.
For more detailed information go to.

The Lightcraft looks just like a flying saucer from “Mars Attacks” but the science is very solid. And it works. The power source stays on the ground. It’s a Laser canon that generates a vertical beam. The beam hits the underside of the craft. Parabolic mirrors under the craft focus the light so that it heats the air it’s moving through to the temperature of the sun. This transforms the air into a plasma. Th continuous explosion or expansion of the plasma drives the craft up.
For more detailed information go to.

The Magnetic rail launch system uses the same idea as a magnetic levitation (Maglev) train that floats over a powerful magnetic track. The track just needs to be long enough and powerful enough to make the projectile fast enough.
For more detailed information go to.

Serious Anti-Gravity research has been conducted independently by both NASA and Boeing. A mathematician has worked out that it is theoretically possible to shield a craft from the Earth’s gravity.
For more detailed information go to.


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