View Full Version : How fast
2006-May-14, 10:11 PM
How fast can we get a spaceship to go with our curent technologies?
How fast can we get the same spaceship to go if we had all of the suns energy available at our disposal?
To what speeds do we accelerate matter in particle accelerators?
If we had an unlimited supply of energy, how long would it take for a spaceship to accelerate to the speed of light, or at least 85% with our curent technologies?
2006-May-14, 10:42 PM
I'm not sure I know what you mean by "with our current technology". Do you mean with boosters we could buy today and assemble on a launch pad somewhere? Or do you mean given an unlimited budget and access to all the materials and man-power the Earth has to offer? or somewhere in between?
Concerning particle accelerators, electrons get up to close enough to the speed of light that it would be difficult to measure the difference by timing them over a known distance.
2006-May-14, 11:13 PM
well, both figures would be nice...
what i meant by our current technologies was the most advanced propulsion system available today, no matter the cost. so yes...something that we could build and launch within 5-10 years.
And for particle accelerators, what speeds did they get non electrons to go...actual atoms if they even did that at all?
2006-May-14, 11:28 PM
Concerning launching probes, our current rockets could probably get a small object to go about fifteen or twenty miles a second. Using an RTG connected to an ion drive with lots of Xenon, we could probably get up to another 100 miles per second.
An all out, money's no object effort could probably launch something ten years from now that could eventually get up to 600 miles per second using some kind of nuclear reactor powered project.
Next year the Large Hadron Collider at CERN will start accelerating protons to 7 TeV. This is also very close to the speed of light. Accelerators work by accelerating charged particles, so no atoms, as such are propelled by them.
2006-May-15, 01:46 AM
My guess is Anton is about right Having enourmos amounts of money, brings out the world's best con artists. Ten kilometers per second is about right for a 20 ton ion engine, which is mostly propellent mass = xenon or other. If the ion engine accellerates the 20 tons to 30 kilometers per second the first year, with half of the xenon, and a sling shot manuver, it might achieve 200 kilometers per second in the 2nd year with the help of another sling shot manuver near the beginning of the 2nd year. A malfunction is likely if we rush the project, so 5 years is the goal, but 10 years is more likely reality.
I believe gold nucleus have been accellerated to about 0.999c, so perhaps 0.9999c will be achieved in a few years, even faster for light nuclii. Neil
2006-May-15, 04:23 AM
Cover story May 2006 issue of Scientific American.
At Brookhaven National Laboratory, The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC - pronounced "rick") accelerates gold nuclei to 99.99% of the spead of light and collides them head on into each other!
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