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RE: Space Travel

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Posted by pmb on August 3, 2000 13:54:46 UTC

One of the things necessary is to overcome the atmosphere. Particles such as electrons etc don`t get to far in the atmosphere. Then there is the amount of energy required. It`s energy that we want to minimize right? For an electron (neglecting the atoshpere for the momentum) this is quite small. But for a massive object like the space shuttle (negleting engines) it`s quite large.

However you`re definitely on the right track. In fact there has been research in just this area - thanks to creative physicists! :-)

The device is called a rail gun. It`s more appropiate for use in the moon though and not on earth.

See Far-out Pathways to Space: Great Guns?


Plans also exist for accelerating a payload by magnetic forces on a "rail gun" consisting of parallel conductors, into which a very large electric current is directed. The same problems apply here, plus the added one of storing and then suddenly releasing a great amount of electrical energy. That technology might be appropriate for use on the Moon, in some distant future (as Arthur Clarke has suggested in one of his stories), but it is in an even earlier stage than the space cannon.


re - I have also heard as a particle reaches such high seed that it actually weighs more can any one confirm this - Yes. It`s true. You can see the problem worked out at an MIT GR course homework problem

See problem #2 "Weighing a relativistic body"
Problem Set 5


Solution to Problem Set 5

But note that "mass" and "weight" are different concepts. Whether mass changes will depend on the definition of "mass" and there is some debate in physics as to how to define mass. The "rest mass" doesn`t change. That`s a property of the body itself. However there is an equivalent mass associate with the increased energy. This means the inertia of the body, i.e. the resistance of the body to change it`s velocity does change.

re - can we make some thing very light heavy by moving it close to light speed - Yes. See above.

re - Is a black hole the result to traveling at light speed or beyond ripping a hole in space-time? - No. A black hole is simply a body which is compacted to a very small size. The strength of the field at small distances is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape it if too close (i.e. within it`s event horizon)

re - Could some one tell me were I could find more info on black holes a pulsars - Have you searched the web? Are you intgerested in web sites or books? There are several levels of explaination. There are descriptions for the layman which requires no math or previous knowledge of physics (depending on the book). There are books which require some calculus, and there are books which require you to be well versed in math.

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