Sirius Sagan

Sirius Sagan
A shirtless male character of mine who has big breasts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Refuting Nay Sayers

I know that there are some nay sayers out there who oppose the concept of future interstellar travel and say that it is impossible.  However, interstellar travel is very real despite what the doubters say.  Interstellar travel may only be impossible if self-defeating assumptions are put in the way.  The now deceased physicist Robert Lull Forward had neatly outlined three artificial roadblocks set up by pessimists.

Stumbling Block 1: A starship must constantly accelerate at 1g.  This is a very inflexible thing to require, for as you get closer to the speed of light, your mass increases and this is wasteful to do.  A starship can accelerate a a lower rate and then cruise at a top cruising speed.  This mass increase is an effect mandated by special relativity.

Stumbling Block 2: An interstellar mission must be carried out with round-trip times of only a few decades.  Again, this requirement can be a waste of energy due to special relativity and is way too rigid.  Round trip is not the only type of interesting interstellar mission, but even if the ship had to return, ti could take many decades at minimum to save energy costs.

Stumbling Block 3: A starship must carry with it all of its reaction mass.  Nonsense, make good use of the hydrogen gas in interstellar space.  Think of light sails and the interstellar ramjet for example.

There are other roadblocks created by opponents of interstellar travel besides the three that I have just listed above.  Here is a list of other artificial barriers created by skeptics.

Stumbing Block 4: A starship must only have one propulsion system.  Nope, a starship can have more than one propulsion system, such as having a primary and secondary propulsion system.  The Project Orion II concept for which this blog is named and another similar concept; Project Icarus, use deuterium-helium3 fusion pulse propulsion as a primary propulsion, but will also have a secondary propulsion system as well.

Stumbling Block 5: The propulsion reaction must be contained in an almost closed space.  Not necessarily, think of nuclear pulse propulsion in which the reactions that propel the craft are either behind the craft or in a very open space.  Light sails are another thing that does not buy into this assumption.

Stumbling Block 6: An interstellar mission must have one big spacecraft.  Nonsense, think of interstellar probes such as Icarus and Orion II.  A better way to colonize another star system is to use more smaller spacecraft.

Stumbling Block 7: A starship must use only one main engine.  Not always, a larger interstellar spacecraft can use multiple main engines to distribute the power of the propuslsion reactions if necessary.

Stumbling Block 8: The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics prohibits travel to a nearby star within a human lifetime.  I really HATE this claim with a purple passion.  To get rid of excess waste heat, a starship could have huge heat radiators to expose more of it to a vacuum.  This assumption is pure hype.

The last five stumbling blocks to interstellar travel come from a YouTube user known as "Bantokfomoki" and his video against fusion-powered starflight.  I block Bantokfomoki on any YouTube accounts that I have because his pessimism is unwelcome, he also made two other anti-interstellar travel videos bashing Avatar.  If you post any comments that contain pessimistic comments that contain any of the aforementioned roadblocks that I listed on my blog, I will get rid of them and not dignify your comment.

However, just because I shun on nay sayers when it comes to the possibility of interstellar travel does not believe that I will believe that handwavium technologies such as FTL drive and stealth spacecraft are possible.  I know that there is a limit to this because there is a difference between mere engineering problems and the laws of physics.  So there is a problem with saying just because skeptics were wrong in the past about things like flying faster than sound in the past does not mean that things like Special Relativity will be wrong about accelerating to or past the speed of light.  The supersonic aircraft and the Project Orion II starship are mere difficult engineering problems, but the light barrier is a basic law of physics like gravity.  Project Orion II will travel at ten percent the speed of light so a trip to Alpha Centauri 4.4 light-years away; factoring in both acceleration and deceleration times, would take about fifty years, less than a human lifetime.  Had Orion II been in the Avatar Universe, it would take a half century to get form Earth to Pandora.  I will make later posts on this blog talking about the trouble with handwavium, which means anything that flat out violates physics.  So don't tell me that just because nay sayers like the now deceased Edward Miller Purcell and Bantokfomoki are wrong about traveling to Alpha Centauri within a human lifetime that it automatically means that faster-than-light (FTL) velocities are possible, because I will not dignify that either.  I have the Atomic Rockets website linked to this blog for more information.

Although FTL is an epitome of handwavium, the Warp Drive form Star Trek is NOT handwavium since it is based on some awesome physics and originates from Einstein's Relativity.  The Warp Drive physics was worked out by Miguel Alcubeirre and others.  Negative energy does exist, it was seen in the lab, but it was too minuscule for a warp drive.  Warp Drive would require an amount of negative energy equal to the mass of Jupiter.  If possible, Warp Drive is centuries away from fruition contrary to the Star Trek timeline in which it was invented in April 2063 (Star Trek: First Contact).  Warp Drive would require a far greater of dark energy; which is the phantom force that expands the universe at an accelerated rate plus major advancements in physics and engineering knowledge.  The warp bubble must be stable or else it would collapse, crush the ship inside, or even create an artificial black hole.  If the Enterprise were real, it would probably look like the image below.

The Warpship; design for a realistic Starship Enterprise
 There is also the possibility of wormholes which like warp drive, has not been demonstrated(yet) and is just an exciting scientific suggestion.  Wormholes have been worked out by physicists such as Kip Thorne who used his work to help his friend and my hero Carl Edward Sagan write his only work of fiction, a novel called Contact in 1985.  Carl Sagan was willing to imagine beings and civilizations far more advanced than we, but he was unwilling to ignore the laws of physics, and that sounds just like me.  Go check out Atomic Rockets because it is an excellent source of suggestion for realistic starship designs.

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