Recently we looked at metamaterials for modelling warp drive and the Icarus project to develop detailed plans for achieving interstellar missions. I now read the paper as indicating that advanced metamaterials provides an accurate simulation of the warp drive in the lab but does not actually enable the drive.
I think they have the metamaterials model to find ways to work around instabilities and possibly get around the issue of negative energy density.
It should be noted that Stephen Hawking seems to think that negative energy density is feasible (feasible in not impossible by his understanding of physics).
Nuclear fusion, antimatter, nuclear fission, beamed and hybrid propulsion
I think that interstellar speeds are definitely doable –
Developing fusion propulsion can achieve about 20% of light speed.
The Avatar antimatter spaceship is actually doable but needs around 50 tons of antimatter for 92% of lightspeed.
Antimatter generation with superconductors in orbit could be very efficient. One million of the $900,000 Plasma magnets and superconductor systems in orbit would generate 25 milligrams per day of antimatter. $900 billion.
One microgram of antihydrogen would be theoretically by enough to be the trigger for one kiloton antihydrogen bombs. By not having a nuclear fission trigger the amount of fallout is massively reduced. These would be about the size needed for pulse units for project orion style nuclear pulsed propulsion. Each one of the plasma magnet antimatter traps would be able to produce the antimatter for about 8 antihydrogen bombs per year.
Plus if we can get around the solar system, we can harvest antimatter at the gas giants or find the better spots to do even better antimatter generation.
Solar wind satellites are not too complicated and could also generate power. The distribution of energy is an issue. But we could use the power in and for space industrialization.
Twenty Million tons of Nanotechnology for Kardashev level 1
If we have moderate levels of molecular nanotech or really push non-molecular nanotech so that we can make 20 million tons of the balloons for the Hall Weather control machine
The balloon needs to be somewhere between a millimeter and a centimeter in size. It has a very thin shell of diamond, maybe just a nanometer thick. It’s round, and it has inside it an equatorial plane that is a mirror. If you squished it flat, you would only have a few nanometers thick of material. Although you could build a balloon out of materials that we build balloons out of now, it would not be economical for what I’m going to use it for.
Then that also gives us Kardashev level 1. Current world energy usage and generation is at about 20 terawatts. Getting all solar power means about 2000-5000 times current power levels. We would be 1000 times richer and able to spend 1000 times more on space without increasing the fraction of the overall economy to space. The overall fraction is about 2 million to 20 million times less than overall energy and resources.
Once you are at Kardashev level 1 (K1) with fusion and pretty good molecular nanotech then making the other systems to get to Kardashev level 2 (K2) is just a matter of utilizing the asteroid resources that are easily available at that point. Weather control machine on Venus, would be an easy next step and then more space based collectors.
Supertech factories could also mass produce nuclear fusion generators.
You could not have a Yottawatt civilization just on earth as there would be too much heat.
Project Orion variants would require the least amount of new technology
Yes, various ways to go at a project Orion variant would be the simplest. (I outlined the possibility of clean anti-hydrogen bombs). Except the public and leaders do not really understanding the risks. They think oh no nuclear bombs.
Any ship going 25% of the speed of light … turn that baby around and run it into something and 1/16th of the mass is converted into energy.
So fairytale dreams and tinkerbell wishes could be powering that sucker, but the kinetic energy is still immense.
If I get a few millions tons into space with an inexpensive launch to orbit system and do not have fusion or antimatter drive. Some of that mass can be made into missiles that I can attach to carbon sails and a more modest drive system. I take pieces and arrange for a slingshot around the sun with a close pass of few solar radii. I can take solar gravitational energy and solar sail speedup from near the surface of the sun and with no fancy drive I have something that is going up to about 13% of the speed of light.
Again direct that into something.
As Obi Wan said, give it up Anakin I have the high ground. If you have significant space capability then nuclear bombs do not mean squat. If you are K1, you have 25 megatons of power every second.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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