Ion engines, again

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by G Man, Jul 4, 1999.

  1. G Man Guest

    OK i know theres been a lot of messages about ion engines on here and in all of the replies everyone mentions the "paper weight thrust", however that is using nasas current ion engine. If those particles were accelerated faster, and more of them at once, then a trip to mars or the moon using ion engines would be a lot more feasible. And according to current theories mass increases with speed, and with current technology we can accelerate particles to 0.99999... times the speed of light. Now if a engine was built using those particles accelerators, while it would require more power, there would not need to be as much fuel. Please respond to me if any of this could work
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  3. Plato Registered Senior Member

    You do realise that the particle accelerator we use to get particles to this speed are huge rings with diameters of 30 km or more ?
    Other linear accelerators, like the one in Stanford are more like 3 km long but they don't get the same amount of energy into their particles.
    These things are a bit less practicle when deployed in space. They increase the total mass of the spaceship with several orders of magnitude for one thing. Besides the cost to build it in space (remember the ISS), the mass of the accelerator will be a bit to much for the acceleration gained with the better propulsion.
    Besides the whole purpose of the ion engine is in its performance : with the same amount of fuel an ion engine can produce 10 times more thrust energy then a chemical engine. It doesn't matter how long it takes, not in this stage anyway.

    we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
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  5. MaTTo Registered Senior Member

    Could someone please direct me to more information on ion engines and the interstellar travel topics? Got any good URLS you want to share?

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  7. Atreides Registered Member

    Since you mentioned travel to Mars, here's a weird one for ya...

    Several years ago an ex-astronaut was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The travel. Johnny asked a question which I forget now but the ex-astronaut said "Oh yes, we can get to Mars in 2 and a half days, right now..." Johnny just looked at him for awhile with a real blank look, and switched topics.

    I fell off my chair.

    I checked the papers, news, radio...for days, and nothing was mentioned; nada. Sounds like a gag order in place to me.
  8. Letticia Registered Senior Member


    Do an Infoseek search on "xenon" and "ion engine". You will find plenty.

    Concerning Johnny Carson show - has it occured to you that the astronaut may have been pulling Johnny's leg?
  9. Atreides Registered Member

    Nope, not for a second. This guy was a well known Apollo moon mission astronaut but for the life of me don't remember his name...nobody was snickering, grinning, smiling...deadpan serious. I think it slipped out. What he could have meant was that the technology is there but haven't put the rest of the pieces together.

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