March 29, 2010

Carnival of Space 147 - update on black hole starship, fusion powered space planes and more

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Carnival of Space 147 is up at Weird Sciences

This site provided an article about how an earth orbiting superconducting array could concentrate and trap antimatter at a cost 100,000 times better than current ground based systems

This site also provided an artible about using near term dense plasma focus fusion systems for powering rockets and space planes.

Centauri Dreams has a post by Adam Crowl about Black hole starships

Three Crane papers covering these ideas are Implications of the Quantum Theory of Gravity, Starships and Spinoza and Are Black Hole Starships Possible?

Nextbigfuture looked at the Are black Hole Starships possible paper, but Adam has covered the additional papers

According to the high-energy equations used by Louis Crane the actual energy produced by a million ton black hole is 56 petawatts, the equivalent of 0.62 kilograms of mass-energy radiated away per second, meaning a lifespan of less than 17 years. To keep the black hole operating it has to be continually force-fed new mass, else it will eventually decay, exploding in an immense blast of high energy particles.

Louis Crane is sceptical of the suggested alternative space-drives – for example wormholes and warp-drives – since the negative energy needed to keep such distorted space-time stable has yet to be demonstrated in such large amounts. To colonize the Universe, Crane believes, intelligent life will need to create and control black holes, thus completing the circle which created that life in the first place.

Crane’s current research is to apply quantum gravity theory to the finer details of the process of creation and decay of low-mass black holes. The possible creation of miniature black holes by the LHC will help refine and constrain quantum gravity theory, perhaps even give us clues towards creating matter annihilating black holes. Another important area of research is the question of how to convert the intense radiation output from a black hole into a useful exhaust stream. The finer practicalities may well take centuries to achieve, but the implications go well beyond even the lifetime of our Universe, affecting the evolution of countless more daughter universes we may create in the aeons ahead

Ian O Neill of Discovery Space News looks at the difficulties of using nuclear bombs to deflect asteroids

Weird Warp looks at the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan

21st Century Waves looks at the Mars moon Phobos and the possible future value of putting a manned base on Phobos

Weird Sciences looks at the speculative use of Dark Matter for interstellar propulsion.

Colony Worlds look at using the Vasimr plasma rocket to reach Mars

A Vasimr rocket or better would be needed to reduce the trip time from Earth to Mars from 6 months one way 39 days or less. This will make the radiation exposure to astronauts easier to manage. Although a magnetic shield will likely still be needed.


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