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Superspeed spacecraft

A huge Gauss\Railgun superspeed spacecraft
  (+3, -8)(+3, -8)
(+3, -8)
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(Please excuse the spelling) A gauss gun is a weapon which resembelse to the Railgun. They both use a magnetic field to accelerate a metalic projectile to high speeds. Using this technology (not as a weapon) , we can make a spacecraft that will accelarate to a near speed of light at once. The spacecraft will be something like a huge Cern lab (the european partical accelaretor). It will be a huge ring, in which, using a magnetic field, the projectile will accelarete, until reaching a very high velocity, and then realeased, giving the craft a hugh push. There are some problems to solve, like the opposite spin of the craft itself, and the fact that it will require a mass equl to that of the ship to bring it to a near speed of light (since we cant possibly accelarate the projectile above the speed of light, and through the euation of p=mv, i dont know how do you call 'p' in english), but all and all, the idea is still nice.
Icarus, Jul 11 2001

what dog ed barked of http://exn.ca/Stories/2000/06/16/52.asp
it's called vasmr [mihali, Jul 11 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Secretlabs http://www.halfbake.../www.secretlabs.net
Your RUNE mod/skin/model HOME [Icet, Oct 04 2004]

Linac information http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/vvc/
[Reverend_Cobol, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Railgun information http://www.railgun.org/physics/
[Reverend_Cobol, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Wikipedia Ion engine info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_thruster
[Reverend_Cobol, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

JPL Ion Engine page http://www.jpl.nasa...y/features/ion.html
[Reverend_Cobol, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Secretlabs http://www.halfbake...idea/www.secretlabs
Your RUNE mod/skin/model HOME [Icet, Oct 21 2004]

Gemmangary12 http://gizmodo.com/...touches-at-5640-mph
This is an earlier model that has been modified for much higher velocities, payloads and distances currently mounted on one of our ships! [gemmangary12, Mar 29 2010]

gemmangary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun
If you thought the first test was vauge this one isnt [gemmangary12, Mar 29 2010]

project HAARP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_HARP
giant gun used to launch shells into space [metarinka, Apr 01 2010]

Project Babylon http://en.wikipedia...iki/Project_Babylon
Attempt to use giant gun to launch satellites [metarinka, Apr 01 2010]

Feasability report of prototype Rail gun launcher http://esamultimedi...d/comp_i_03_N02.pdf
EADS built a 20M rail gun to launch small payloads [metarinka, Apr 01 2010]

dimensions http://www.pbs.org/...ant/dimensions.html
before you start talking about dimentions I think you need to see this [gemmangary12, May 28 2010]

That time I posted this exact idea a year ago... Fe_20Fueled_20Spacecraft
Coilgun accelerated spacecraft [DIYMatt, Sep 18 2011]


       I was assuming the spacecraft itself is the projectile which is accelerated around the circular track, which is not your proposal. If you are accelerating, say, microscopic iron spheres and then hurling them out the the back end of the craft, that's much more doable (in my best amateur opinion). You could solve the inequality of thrust with relation to the craft's center of mass by making a "Mickey Mouse" configuration with two acceleration rings going opposite directions discharging on adjacent sides, or by stacking one ring on top of its opposite.   

       Calculations are needed to find a good estimate of energy needed versus terminal velocity attainable, and I am rotten at them. Anyone?
Dog Ed, Jul 11 2001, last modified Jul 12 2001

       Peter, I don't think they're the same...I think Icarus is suggesting we build the spacecraft itself in the form of a circular Gauss gun, accelerate a magnetic mass (tiny bits of iron, say) to tremendous speeds, and release them from the back of the craft. (I apologize if my first annotation was misleading. I'll fix it...There!)   

       Unfortunately the electromagnets and the energy plant to power them would be pretty massive (barring unforseen breakthroughs in the technology). But I don't know...NASA is experimenting with ion propulsion, which uses ionized xenon accelerated electrically as propellant; seems to me like common iron accelerated magnetically might be simpler. Need numbers, though.
Dog Ed, Jul 12 2001

       10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
thumbwax, Jul 12 2001

       Icarus had a very good Idea for the fourth of July, create a big rail gun and launch explosives out of it!!   

       I don't think launching iron balls around in space is a very good idea for space travel, let alone for the poor saps near the launch site. A better idea would be to build a ship, launch it from the rail gun, and then let it whirl around the sun for a while to pick up speed, then off you go!   

       (i think you mean f=mv in english (force=mass*velocity))
omega_scientist, Jan 17 2002

       Scientists are extremely confident at this stage of the game that they can get a space ship to near light speed. What worries them is the effects it will have on the human body. Since there are no vehicles currently able to get this speed, they continue to do testing at supersonic speeds, in hopes of coming to some kind of solution. We black out at around mach 9, around 6300 miles an hour, and that is far short of the speed of light.
1STDude, Mar 21 2002

       Only if you're suddenly accelerated to that speed. Going from 0 to 60 in an instant can cause problems. But most cars can't do that, and you can go as fast as you like, provided you get there slowly.   

       Getting there all at once would turn the passengers into strawberry jam, and all the generic radiation <heat, light, natural background radiation> suddenly being red-shifted into gamma or worse, it'd be strawberry jam on toast.
StarChaser, Mar 21 2002

       I read in Scientific America a few years back that NASA has hired a company to see if it is feasible to use a linear acceleator to accelerate a craft into space. Their idea is to build the accelerator up the side of a mountain.
zephyr_prime, Mar 22 2002

       I don't see the advantage of trying to create the acceleration instantaniously - it would tear the ship apart and flatten any human crew. Why not just accelerate individual atoms and chuck those out the back one at at time. That is baked, though - it's an ion engine.   

       Icarus: p is momentum.   

       omega_scientist: The equation that you are mis-stating might be F=ma. F=ma and p=mv are correct. f=mv is not.   

       ISTDude: Stop talking rubbish. mach speeds are irrelevent outside the atmosphere. It's acceleration not speed that makes people black out. (and check out the orbital speeds that the apollo craft reached. You'll find them significantly higher than your stated max speed)
st3f, Mar 22 2002

       Isn't escape velocity somewhere around 25K mph?
bristolz, Mar 22 2002

       I never could figure out exactly how that slingshot effect around the sun worked. Okay, you spiral in, and then somehow suddenly change course. Seems to me you'd lose exactly what speed you gained in the first place.
RayfordSteele, Mar 22 2002

       Should have been baked by now, but sadly not.   

       Humans can withstand 14 gs provided they are equipped with liquid breathing apparatus and appropriate launch containers. Railgun propulsion is cheaper than most other methods by at least a factor of 100x. One problem is I don't think you can put ferromagnetic materials into the device (e.g. iron, most steels).   

       Modern capacitors have a charge density 1000x that of conventional, everyday capacitors. A railgun of this magnitude is certainly feasible for a very modest outlay.   

       This is an absolutely great technology whose time has come, and points the way for low-cost access to space.   

       When it comes to light speed, this tech doesn't stand a chance. You need far more energy than this system can provide, not to mention the logisitics. Escape velocity is 11200m/sec. You'd need perfectly straight rails for millions of kilometers, even at obscene g-forces to get to a fraction of the speed of light.   

       DoD has some contracts with suppliers for railguns. Sub-orbital, unfortunately. But maybe they've got secret military launchers -- anyone know about this?
khurtiz, Aug 06 2002

       A few quick calculations tells me that you would be going the speed of light if you accelerated at 1G for just under 1 year.... That's IF you believe as I do that a given amount of energy or acceleration results in the same speed increase regardless of how close you may be to the "speed of light"- however that is really defined besides being 186,000 miles/sec. I interprete special relativity a little differently than some in that regard.
Autonome, Sep 02 2002

       RayfordSteele: I believe the purpose of the "slingshot effect" is not to gain speed (you don't gain any speed once you're the same distance away), but to change position/velocity without using fuel.
bookworm, Sep 03 2002

       Jules Vernes had something like this, and you'll find the same idea again (baked, sadly) in H. G. Well's _Shape of Things to Come_ - and even illustrated in the 1938 film _Things to Come_ - big phallic looking space canon that goes 'boom!' and it's one giant leap for mankind. Hate to think how many Gs that'd be... from 0 to 60 indeed, StarChaser - spatula optional.   

       As for ion propulsion (st3f's suggestion) - Wells again comes to the rescue (at least I seem to recall it in the book as well as the 1953 movie), _War of the Worlds_ where the Martians use some kind of variable magnetic repulsion to keep their ships hovering off the ground. It ain't a-gonna happen in my lifetime, but cute idea. ANd why don't all scientists look like Gene Barry anyhow?
waistcoat, Sep 03 2002

       Even if you got going the speed of light wouldn't it be kinda tough to decelerate? Like everyone says, the acceleration all at once would be nice for making gold leaf but thats about it. This idea might be nice if the was a gravity well at the front neutralizing the gravity of acceleration but making gravity is alittle far out there to me.
Venkiro, Nov 21 2002

       Even if you got to the speed of light how would you slow down? to make the instant acceleration work you would need a gravity well in front to counteract the Gs of acceleration.
Venkiro, Nov 21 2002

       I like this Idea very much, it is in my opinion something that should have been undertaken by nasa a LONG time ago. it's extremely effecient in the fact that there is a lot less fuel that needs to be launched with the craft. also, I think it to be much less risky then the current method of getting shuttles into space. it's also effecient in the fact that the most energy you will need is electrical, and electrical power can be generated by an almost unlimited amount of sources. I think it should be a circular track with some sort of End switching techniq like is used in railways today, once the craft has gone around the circle enough to gain it's escape velocity, the track is switched to a strait one that curves up the side of a mountain and eventually goes almost strait up. and whatever speed cannot be gained by the "Rail" the shuttle uses it's OnBoard Hydrogen rockets to get the rest of the way. the cost of building this "Rail" would be the most expensive but I'm sure, that once completed would MORE then pay for itself. besides, corperations pay Billions to get a Satelite into space I'm sure the money would come out of the woodwork. the fact that the United States has NOT Pioneered this technology leaves us vulnerable in this industry.
Delta101, Apr 27 2003

       [RayfordSteele] You are correct when you say that slingshotting around the sun would be fruitless. However, slingshotting around planets is beneficial, as you steal a bit of their orbital momentum as you fly past. As a result, they slow down in their orbits around the sun an infintesimal amount.
rapid transit, May 11 2003

       Um... This idea went three ways at once. Particle vs. mesoscale (original idea?) vs. macro seems to be the differential. Sure, why not? ...I always thought slingshot effect don't care what gravity well it slings around, you just shoot deep enough and fast enough angle. Right? [Venkiro] You are right. Put a gravity well in front of something, and keep it there, so it moves toward it. Works fine... ("Making gravity" is what (nearly) every one of these high-energy facilities (like CERN) has been gathering data for, one way or another, at least since the turn of the 20th century, and, aside from being the big/fun problem for physics, making gravity is key to a variety of transportation solutions (including, but not limited to, time transport, space transport and space-time transport).)
cloudface, Sep 28 2003

       when you slingshot around the sun you WOULD get faster, and escape velocity is around 11 km/s with orbital velocity at 8 km/s.(which is for earth) the reason that you would get faster is in an orbit (which is what you would be in), you are actually "falling" but missing the planet. You are going just as fast as the curvature of the planet slopes away. say you fire a bullet, and after 1 second, it drops 9.78 meters. but the bullet has flown so fast that after 1 second (if it would continue to go straight) it would be 9.78 more meters ABOVE the ground because the earths curvature has sloped "downward". the earth is said to lose 9.78 meters every 8 km. so you would continue to "miss" the earth unless something acts upun the object. basic physics. as you accelerate TOWARD the sun, the gravity will speed you up by whatever the gravity of the sun is, you would be going fast enough to orbit it(if you don't melt) and sense you are closer to gravity its affect on you is greater. speeding you up jus enough to orbit it. to get out of the orbit you have to fire thrusters and exceed the escape velocity, but you get free acceleration. NASA used the same technique to get apollo 13's crew back to earth quickly. they used the moon for an added boost.
Falcion, Oct 08 2003

       Ok, now we're mixing technologies here that don't like to be mixed. Rail guns and particle accelrators are physically very different bits of machinery. Particle accelerators manipulate BEAMS of charged particles (like electrons) via oscillating electric and magnetic fields. Railguns accelerate ferro-conductive SOLID SLUGS via sending massive pulses of current through your rails AND the conductor, which is then forced down the rails via an induced Lortentz force. A particle accelerator uses lots of little pushes, a railgun uses one big push.   

       For now lets assume a linear structure (i.e. no rings). Look at the relative mass differences twixt the spacecraft (your rail gun) and your projectile (a small bit of iron). You're going to have a massive support structure for the accelerator, and a tiny acceleration mass (AM) (for a railgun, one slug, for a linac, a particle stream).   

       Newton says equal but opposite forces, so sure, your AM flies out of your accelerator at wicked velocity, with some force X. That same force X pushes backwards on your accelrator, which happens to be 1000x more massive than your projectile. Imparted velocity on your accelerator: very little. For a railgun you'd have to be continually firing slugs, a process which quickly eats away your rails and requires retrofitting of new rails. Not really ideal for your engine to eat itself at this rate for interstellar travel. A linac (linear accelerator) is a little better here since we could envision a (somewhat)constant stream of particles providing thrust. Basically a glorified (and probably less efficient) ion engine, which has it's own problems, namely low thrust (see link).   

       For ring-type structure (circular railgun or cyclotron) you've got another major problem. Think of swinging a weight on a string, and then letting go. You don't go flying in the opposite direction. At least not very much, this is because you've already imparted most of your momentum during the acceleration process. In releasing the confinement on the beam/slug so that it flies free you're essentially getting a much smaller one time push as you stop applying confinement forces. You've already absorbed your acceleration forces, and probably as a result induced a backwards rotation of your ring.   

       So once again, the idea is somewhat sound, it's just the same old problem of generating proper forces and power in a (relative to your projectile) small enough package to actually use it. See links for more info on above rant.
Reverend_Cobol, Nov 04 2003

       hmm... even if the acceleration in a ring shaped linear accelerator was gentle as to not squish astronauts and their tin can, you'd be limited in speed as centrifrugal (centripetal acceleration is a more accurate term) forces would become rather uncomfortable for astronauts, creating the aforementioned strawberry jam.   

       So a solution perhaps would be to only subject the occupants to say 20 G (which is sustainable if the astronauts are immersed in supporting fluid). Linear acceleration could be decreased as centripetal increases, as to not exceed 20 G.   

       However, your not going to get any great speed out of a ring say a mile across. Orbital velocity no more perhaps.   

       In the far future we may have the capacity to build a accelerater right around the diameter of the moon. Such a large circle means a fraction of the speed of light could be reached before forces become unbearable. Someone else do the math...
venomx, Jan 13 2004

       Ah yes... BOTE calculations give me 10 G of centrifugal force at around 1300km-s in a accelerator around the circumfernce of the moon. About 0.5% of c (speed of light) taking 860 years to reach the nearest star, proxima centari. Accelerating at 10G that speed would take 3.6 hours to reach. The combined acceleration would peak at 20G just before the capsule departed the rail. Such a object would carry a kinetic energy of about 150 times it's own weight in TNT.   

       Should a one tonne vessel head towards earth instead of interstellar space, it'd collide with the atmosphere with the energy of a 150 kiloton nuclear warhead. The effect being much like the Tunguska event where an exploding comet flattened a area of forest in sibera bigger than mexico city.   


       Maybe it wasn't an exploding comet but a stray alien spacecraft hitting the atmosphere too fast hehe.
venomx, Jan 13 2004

       Venomex, is that calculation correct really? could you explain that formula to me please.... its the first time i seen anybody presenting any figures about a moonequatoraccelerator.. im not very good at math, but what i can see from your calculations, it seems that such device would be the best way getting around in our own planetary system....and mars have a very thin atmosphere..we could build a even more effective catapultdevice there...oh my god...there are many moons aviable so we can make this "motorway of heaven":)
psychoticus, Mar 29 2004

       I am very dissapointed that this conversation has turned to "high-minded" and "peaceful" applications. A railgun would make an excellent device for interplanatary water-ballon fights.
eyeguy, Mar 29 2004

       If we could launch the entire space vessel into orbit with this device, the acceleration would have to occur almost exclusively in the launching process; the craft, while leaving orbit, would not be accelerating any more. If we were to get the craft to launch with the propulsion being generated exclusively by the gauss cannon, no human could likely survive the sudden super-acceleration involved. We would need to launch it at a speed that would create only about 3G's for the pilot and then propel it via onboard systems. The implimentation of the spacecraft as the Gauss cannon would make necessary a constant expulsion of metal from its engines; no one would ever allow tons of metal to come raining down on people from thousands of feet in the air.   

       However, it would be possible to have the Gauss cannon fire the spacecraft as a projectile without killing the human inside, even without onboard engines. What if we could inject an ionized substance into the human's bloodstream? We could then have the human's entire body be ionized to a given polarity. By doing so, we could have magnetic field of that same polarity created so that the human's body could be repelled in an even, consistent safe way, thereby making the human inertially compensated. We could successfully remove any extra G's, or make the human weightless if need be. I dunno, tell me what you think.
eupoth, May 20 2005

       This idea is half-baked. I assume that you are not talking about the ship being the projectile in the rail gun, because as noted previously, it would hurt. The idea of firing projectiles as a means of thrust is old. Using a railgun is new, but still suffers from a similar issue. You have to carry the projectiles that you fire till you fire them. The acceleration is then tempered by the amount of fuel(ammunition) you are carrying and really only modified by the speed of the exhaust and the weight of the rest of the space ship. For this reason ion drive do exactly what the iron balls would do, just there are many more much smaller projectiles do the same task. The other side of this that is thought of, but not baked, is what is called a particle fountain. You could do this by mounting your particle cannon to the ground and then have a ship which is just a tube that magnetically harnesses some of the energy of the passing balls to accelerate. This is one of the ideas for building a space tower, which is supported by an internal column of projectiles fired up at the base. Also remember that F=ma and such are non-relativistic formulas and really are just approximations that work as long as you don't approach the speed of light. If you do, you leave Newton's and move into Einstein's freaky neighborhood.
MisterQED, Oct 18 2007

       If you accelerate at one g (9.8 meters/second squared), it would tyake almost one YEAR to reach the velocity of light...therefore this idea is impractical...the way it is worded now...
Wily Peyote, Oct 19 2007

       // If you accelerate at one g (9.8 meters/second squared), it would tyake almost one YEAR to reach the velocity of light...therefore this idea is impractical...the way it is worded now... //

It doesn't matter how long you accelerate, you'll never get to light speed. But from your perspective on board the ship, you'll seem to exceed it. Continue to accelerate at 1G and eventually you'll be cruising from start to star in just a few hours, ship time. But if you turn around and go back home, you'll find that everyone you knew is dead.
ldischler, Oct 19 2007

       Hello everyone, As we all know the military already has a operating rail cannon capable of firing a 500 lb projectile to distances of over 400 miles. Now, if that can be acomplished, then, why not using a 15 mile long rail gun set to angle to the escape angle of an orbital point with a heat shield breaking off at a certain height of course to launch a already fueled vehicle,then the shield breaks off and the main engines kick in. Then why not use this course of action. As for the Linier accelerator, dont use Iron use a charged gas in not 1 donut but counter directed donutes, syncronized of course. Once out of orbit go to the astroid field and using a focused sun beam as a light pump turn the iron/ nickel into a charged plasma gas and use it as fuel.
gemmangary12, Mar 27 2010

       // As we all know the military already has a operating rail cannon capable of firing a 500 lb projectile to distances of over 400 miles.//
Nope, missed that one. Please link.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 27 2010

       Personally I think everyone needs to look very closely to just what Einstein said in all his special relitivaty theory's the faster you go the more mass weighs and since E=MC 2 that = to a vast ammount of energy the faster the objecy is traveling thus more energy.
gemmangary12, Mar 29 2010

       See links,   

       HAARP, Project Babylon and the european space agency have all built various projectile launchers to reach reach LEO.   

       Its possible and relatively cheap, they don't do it because there's not much demand to launch sub 30KG loads and it doesn't seem feasible to scale to human size. The EADS project did launch a projectile into orbit using a combined rocket and rail gun for about $45,000 launch cost.
metarinka, Apr 01 2010

       I was thinking a vast ammount larger than 30mm, more like 3000 tons and 12 shots per year. We waste more energy per year than a set of launch's like that would take.
gemmangary12, Apr 02 2010

       it is possable to use a liquid to breath its called perfluorocarbons. Now if you use this inside a pressure suit, then put him inside of a chair that has hydraulic shock absorbers and have anouther hydraulic fluid he could probably sustain more than 20 G's. Do that for a long time and you would reach the speed of light faster 20 times faster to be exact! As a matter of fact Einstein's special relativity say's that something traveling faster would have to do so in another plain of existance, not to mention wormholes. Your still thinking just like the old churches that said the earth was the center of the universe. Start thinking outside the normal BOX. Then you will probably see that the Heisenberg Uncertainty theory is just what we dont understand now.
gemmangary12, May 23 2010

       // another plain of existance//
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 23 2010

       // another plain of existance// [marked-for-tagline]   

       Yes he said that nothing moving faster than light could not exist in our dimmention, he however did say that other faster than light particals could exist in other dimmentions ,where light is so slow it can not exist
gemmangary12, May 24 2010

       //nothing moving faster than light could not exist in our dimmention// Therefore it would have to be in another dimention!
gemmangary12, May 27 2010

       //dimmention// "dim-men-shun": 1) v.t., to speak darkly of [someone], 2) v.t., to annotate [an idea] during global night or darkness (halfbakery jargon). 3) adj., dementia (corrupt form, absolute). 4) n., a non-Euclidean, non-Newtonian, non-relativistic or other utopian milieu, generally referred to by exclusion ("other dimmention") which may be attained by ungedankenexperiment, dimmentia (q.v.), or error.
lurch, May 27 2010

       The thing is, once you'd sent this superspeed spacecraft on its way, research back on Earth would continue until it became possible to build a superduperspeed spacecraft, which could be launched and would overtake the superspeed spacecraft en route, thereby making it redundant. But...
MaxwellBuchanan, May 27 2010

       Just do a reverse thrust and cut off the FTL drive. simple!!!
gemmangary12, May 28 2010

       By the way before you start even to understand dimensions , I think you need to see this link.
gemmangary12, May 28 2010

       - Thankye
- Och, dimmention it.
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 18 2010

       Which field is stronger? magnetic as taught in physics or gravity.
gemmangary12, Sep 15 2011

       The way I understand by the physic's laws is magnitic field propultion " with the exception" of items that use Kashmier affects, otherwize known as "zero point energy". Which in itself and enough plates could accually be the Exotic energy that could bend space, by expanding the fabric of space and antidotes on this idea? itself
gemmangary12, Sep 15 2011

       The only problem with useing exotic energy in expanding the space behind is this kind of hyperdrive would need an exotic mass in front of the craft to = the exotic expantion of the exotic force behind it, and 1 heck of a magnitic field to keep all particals from hitting the craft like the earth uses IE magnetic shield.
gemmangary12, Sep 18 2011

       A photons may travel at 299,792.458 kph but on the x ray and the gamma ray spectrim it seems that it travels faster, also photons have a partner called a neutrino and it according to CERN travels faster than light, not to mention that a wave guidemagnetic field travels at almost 2 times C now comes the tachions that can travel 1,000,000's of times C and we are now talking about time travel and ftl to boot . look it up in wikipedia IE FTL & time travel oops I think i just let the cat out of the bag.
gemmangary12, Oct 25 2011


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