The first reactionless thruster?

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The first reactionless thruster?

Postby Iron Warrior. » Sun May 27, 2012 4:58 am

http://www.fastcompany.com/1837966/must ... -invention

I got my hopes up when I heard about the "lifter" that turned out to be just a glorified ionic air impeller, but this looks more promising, and I bet the mythbusters can't bust it.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby Prime_Evil » Sun May 27, 2012 12:26 pm

Iron Warrior. wrote:http://www.fastcompany.com/1837966/must ... -invention

I got my hopes up when I heard about the "lifter" that turned out to be just a glorified ionic air impeller, but this looks more promising, and I bet the mythbusters can't bust it.
If this is genuine, it is an amazingly cool piece of technology that could revolutionise the exploration of our solar system. The linked article does make it sound a bit too much like a 'perpetual motion machine', so I'd love to see a proper write-up of the design in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in order to get a better idea of how it works.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby rust » Sun May 27, 2012 1:15 pm

The idea to use the Casimir Effect for space propulsion is not
a new one, NASA has done some research during its Break-
through Propulsion Physics Program (there the idea was na-
med "Differential Sail"), the German DARA (our equivalent
of NASA) is working on it, and there are certainly other re-
search institutions also active on this field.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby BP » Sun May 27, 2012 1:22 pm

Yep, like rust posted, the concept has been seriously considered. The idea has been around around a long time - making a working experiment (even if 'impractical' energy wise) would be news. A patent - a document about an idea - is not news. :roll:

As Prime_evil posted, the article is weak - and it completely ignores gravity assist besides that an energy source would still be necessary to move the 'mirrors'. Love a source that would describe an actual experiment and results.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby lastbesthope » Sun May 27, 2012 2:51 pm

I particularly dislike the section in the article about the pioneer probes not being where all our science says they should be, and then points out we have figured out why they are where they are.

Bad article, makes it hard to tell how good the science is. Even the hallowed BBC is getting like that these days though.

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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby GypsyComet » Tue May 29, 2012 6:26 am

I'd heard about the Voyager irregularities before, so I knew the background, but this article does present it as common knowledge instead of the months long engineering/physics what-dun-it that only became public a few months ago.

Assuming the idea works in space, the next question would be how it scales: do you build a larger Casimir buzzer, or stack small buzzers together? Would being on a buzzer propelled ship that was out of tune give you headaches? Think of the harmonics...
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby Jronicaing » Tue May 29, 2012 7:01 am

The idea has been around around a long time - making a working experiment (even if 'impractical' energy wise) would be news. A patent - a document about an idea - is not news
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby AdrianH » Tue May 29, 2012 8:40 am

What bothers me about any sort of genuinely reactionless drive is energy. Consider:

Ships A, B and C are strung out in a straight line. Ship B is stationary relative to a nearby planet, ship A is heading toward ship B from one side, ship C is heading toward ship B from the other side. To make the sums easy, all ships masses are 1000 tonnes, and the velocities of A and C relative to B are 100 m/s in opposite directions.

A -> B <- C

Ship B now accelerates toward ship A. Relative to the planet, it is now moving at 100 m/s. Relative to ship A, it is moving at 200 m/s. Relative to ship C, it has decelerated; ship B is now stationary relative to ship C.

Originally the planet saw ship B at speed 0, so it had 0 kinetic energy. Ship A saw ship B heading toward it at 100 m/s, i.e. 0.5 x 1000000 x 100^2 = 5000 MJ. Ship C saw ship B heading away from it at 100 m/s, so also reports it had 5000 MJ. Now ship A reports ship B has 20000MJ, the planet reports ship B has 5000 MJ, and ship C reports ship B has 0. So how much energy does ship B's reactor really need to supply to provide this acceleration?

Things get messier with a reaction drive, but basically it all balances out. When ship B accelerates by pushing reaction mass out of the back, there's a change in the kinetic energies of both the ship and the reaction mass. The planet, ship A and ship C will diaagree about exactly where the energy went, but the total amount of kinetic energy gained by ship B and its reaction mass is the same to all observers.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby F33D » Tue May 29, 2012 1:18 pm

AdrianH wrote: So how much energy does ship B's reactor really need to supply to provide this acceleration?
The same amount of energy as it took yesterday. The mass of the ship B is what matters. Not the motion of the other observers.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby BP » Tue May 29, 2012 3:53 pm

Jronicaing wrote:The idea has been around around a long time - making a working experiment (even if 'impractical' energy wise) would be news. A patent - a document about an idea - is not news
Hmmm... that line looks familiar? :wink:

[Direct from one of my posts over at travellerrpg...]
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby 2330ADUSA1 » Tue May 29, 2012 4:07 pm

Guys it is a great advancement regardless and if it gets people thnking and dreaming and working for the development of new tech then it is ok with me. Hard science isn't always the best to put into articles for the gerenal public because they wouldn't get it or even care to understand it either.
Last edited by 2330ADUSA1 on Tue May 29, 2012 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby BP » Tue May 29, 2012 4:40 pm

Filing a patent is not an advancement. :roll:

Excuses for the media don't benefit anyone - and sensationalist articles serve to undermine rather than support actual long term interest and investment. Its just the kind of misinformation higher level management will tend to be 'informed' from - directly or indirectly.

Nobody was asking for hard science - just actual reporting of facts, rather than misleading or misrepresenting hype. :wink:
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby F33D » Tue May 29, 2012 4:54 pm

BP wrote:Filing a patent is not an advancement. :roll:
What? M.S.'s One Click Purchase patent didn't advance computer science? :lol:
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby Prime_Evil » Tue May 29, 2012 11:50 pm

F33D wrote:
BP wrote:Filing a patent is not an advancement. :roll:
What? M.S.'s One Click Purchase patent didn't advance computer science? :lol:
Ummm....wasn't that Amazon rather than Microsoft?
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby F33D » Wed May 30, 2012 4:01 am

Prime_Evil wrote:
F33D wrote:
BP wrote:Filing a patent is not an advancement. :roll:
What? M.S.'s One Click Purchase patent didn't advance computer science? :lol:
Ummm....wasn't that Amazon rather than Microsoft?
No.
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby rust » Wed May 30, 2012 8:57 am

2330ADUSA1 wrote:Guys it is a great advancement regardless ...
Actually it is more a sign that the library of the Sohag University
in Egypt does not have a copy of this article published in 2004 in
Foundations of Physics by Maclay and Forward (yep, that Robert
L. Forward):

http://www.springerlink.com/content/m8q0j45487613347/
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby BP » Wed May 30, 2012 5:40 pm

Well, they do come off as pleading for money... :lol:
F33D wrote:
Prime_Evil wrote:
F33D wrote: What? M.S.'s One Click Purchase patent didn't advance computer science? :lol:
Ummm....wasn't that Amazon rather than Microsoft?
No.
Yes - it was Amazon, not Microsoft.
(Apple even licensed for iTunes store, IIRC. Microsoft did file for a patent recently related to app purchases - not the same idea.)
see - http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pars ... PN/5960411

Of course, patents don't advance science - People advance science (and well, machines ;) )

Patents mostly advance special interests... :roll:
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby F33D » Wed May 30, 2012 6:59 pm

BP wrote: Yes - it was Amazon, not Microsoft.
(Apple even licensed for iTunes store, IIRC. Microsoft did file for a patent recently related to app purchases - not the same idea.)
see - http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Pars ... PN/5960411

Of course, patents don't advance science - People advance science (and well, machines ;) )

Patents mostly advance special interests... :roll:
We're thinking of two different patents. I do remember the Amazon one though.

http://www.geek.com/articles/games/micr ... -20100315/

Patents for REAL inventions do advance tech/science as it gives incentive to invest time/money into R&D. Patents given out by brain dead gov employees, don't...
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby BP » Thu May 31, 2012 12:27 am

:mrgreen:
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Re: The first reactionless thruster?

Postby 2330ADUSA1 » Thu May 31, 2012 4:10 am

I would like to see it actually tested for real and see if it can work as they think.
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