Fission/fusion hybrid and pulsed fusion propulsion have been shown to significantly reduce the trip times for space travel. The specific approach being pursued at UAH PRC is called z-pinch. Jason Cassibry has been funded by Limitless Space Institute to study and advance 100 kev nuclear pinch propulsion. They have a near-term goal of scaling to 3000 kev nuclear pinch.
SOURCES- UAH, LSI
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
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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9 thoughts on “Pulsed Nuclear Fusion Pinch Propulsion”
If a "wormhole" could provide such a connection, the constant 1G ship to set up the connection would be nice but not really needed. Suppose you can only ;^) send the ship at 10% c. It takes a few decades to set up a wormhole link between near neighbor stars, but over a few centuries you get a nice little interstellar empire.
Well that depends on which physicist you ask. As of 2021, there is no strong consensus on whether it’s practical, given sufficient technology, to create and/or manipulate one such that you can traverse it. Beyond that is the question of whether there is value in a traversable wormhole, and many physicists do still view them as providing an instantaneous connection between two points in space and time. However I have seen the recent work from Harvard that suggests that a wormhole may not in fact be faster than travelling at light speed between the two ends the long way. I’ve seen various summaries of their work, but haven’t seen the paper they presented.
Anyway it’s academic as I did preface my post by saying it was a staple of hard sci-fi, since not only don’t we have “fast” wormholes, but we don’t have a “space drive” that can propel us at a constant 1G for years without needing a propellant!
You do know that there's no reason except SF dreams to believe the trip through a wormhole would be shorter than the trip outside it, right?
Always jump to a trip to the stars. Forget that. Build the power supply and the engine first. Its doable. When you have done that and it works then you have my full attention.
It’s a staple of hard sci-fi that someone develops a reaction less engine drawing unlimited power from the vacuum or a long lived fusion reactor , and constant 1G ships open up not just the solar system, but the entire galaxy. The latter as long as you don’t want to tell your friends back home what you saw at the galactic centre! Or go a step further and create a wormhole, leave one end here, and use such a ship to drag one end to your destination, and then enjoy instantaneous travel between the two ends. Of course nobody needs to stay onboard while the ship travels to its destination as people can nip to and from the travelling ship via the wormhole while in transit. Hey ho, we can but dream!
Ah, much faster! I'd jump aboard that spaceship. Now, where did I leave my mass….
I wish someone would do a chart showing how quickly one could reach the planets traveling at a constant acceleration of 1g – 3g (briefly), with 1g – 3g (briefly) slowdown by flipping the ship and decelerating prior to reaching the destination. This is roughly the limit of most human's capacity & what we should be aiming for.
Multi-year human trips are pointless to consider, since the size of inhabited space would be prohibitive to power. If we can only send a dozen or so humans into space in a 10,000sf interior space, it would take so much fuel that it's probably the same as just using that much fuel for acceleration for a shorter period of a much smaller payload instead.
"The Expanse" type space travel is the only kind that will lead to meaningful scale migration.
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