Brian Wang has Started Writing Some Regular Articles for Universe Today

I will be writing some regular articles for Universe Today. Of course, I will still be writing my regular amount of Nextbigfuture articles. I will write about once per week over at Universe Today. My first article is about the most promising ways to start traveling faster than 1 million miles per hour. This is for larger spacecraft and not just ultra-light sails.

The top two projects are the laser-powered lithium-ion drive and the positron catalyzed fusion drive. Both have NASA NIAC funded projects right now.

The US military is spending billions to enable combat lasers. Those lasers will reach megawatt and multi-megawatt arrays.

The Lithium-ion drive will have 50,000 ISP. This is 100 times more than chemical rockets and ten times more than current ion drives. NASA Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) will prototype the first 50,000 ISP lithium-ion drive within 4 months.

The design will power-beam 6000 volts of megawatts of energy around the solar system. This will enable direct use of the power for the lithium-ion drives. This will keep the system low weight with high acceleration.

The positron catalyzed fusion system design avoids all of the huge problems with achieving antimatter or fusion drives.

The huge problems are being unable to produce, store or use antimatter.

The positron or anti-electron approach uses isotopes (Sodium or potassium) which naturally produce positrons. Isotopes can be bred in a process similar to uranium breeder reactors. Neutron sources are used to make more isotope.

There is no storage of antimatter or anti-electrons. The propulsion system will use the positrons immediately.