Tom McKendree is now working at Raytheon and has an updated analysis of solar electric ion engines using different levels of molecular nanotechnology (none, simple, complex and advanced)
— Current Technology
— Any Stable Simple Pattern of Atoms
— Any Molecular Machinery, Except Molecular Manufacturing in the Field
Most Advanced MNT
— Any Molecular Machinery
– Molecular Manufacturing in the Field Enables Bootstrapping,Self-Repair, and Very Low Manufacturing Costs
Just using the materials possible with molecular nanotechnology it is possible to get up to 0.08% of lightspeed with 15% of one gravity acceleration using only solar powered ion drives.
Specific Power Feasible with MNT-Based Solar Panels
The key to high – performance from ion – engines is to have very high specific power. GaInP/GaAs tandem solar cells can achieve ~25% efficiency in vacuum at one solar constant of light, with an active thickness of ~5 μm. GaAs has a density of 5317.6 kg/m3, yielding a specific power of ~13 kWe /kg at 1 AU, if only the active thickness of the solar cell is provided. With a safety factor for overhead, ~10 kWe/kg should be achievable with Simple MNT, given the ability to build simple structures to atomic precision, and thus provide a thin sheet composed almost entire of the active layer.
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.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.