Fri. Jan 21st, 2022


In Paul Anderson 1970s novel The number is zero, A starship crew wants to travel to Beta Virginis in hopes of colonizing a new planet. Ship mode is a “Busard Ramjet,“An actual (albeit hypothetical) way of running that was proposed by the physicist Robert W. Boussard Just a decade ago. Now, physicists have reconsidered this unusual process for interstellar travel A new paper Published in the Acta Astronautica Journal and alas, they found Ramjet. This is possible from a purely physics point of view, but the relevant engineering challenges are currently insurmountable, the authors conclude.

A Ramjet is basically a jet engine that “breathes” air. The best analog for the basic process is that it uses the engine’s forward motion to compress the incoming air without the need for a compressor, making the Ramzet engines lighter and easier than their turbojet counterparts. Renেনে Lorraine, a French inventor, received a patent in 1913 for the concept of a Ramjet (aka, a flying stovepipe), although he failed to create an effective prototype. Two years later, Albert Fono proposed a Ramjet propulsion unit to increase the range of gun-powered projectiles, and finally in 1932 he was granted a German patent.

A basic ramjet has three components: an air intake, a combustor and a nozzle. The heated exhaust from combustion combustion flows through the nozzle. To maintain a steady flow the combustion pressure must be greater than the exhaust exit pressure, which a Ramjet engine acquires at the speed of the vehicle being driven by the external air “ramming” the combustor. Engine. There is no need to carry oxygen on board. The downside is that the Ramjets can only create thrust if the car is already running, so they need a supportive takeoff using their rockets. For example, ramjets are most useful as a means of acceleration, such as to extend the range of ramjet-powered missiles or artillery shells.

Robert Boussard thought the idea could be changed as a way to move interstellar. Outline within the basic foundation His 1960s paper Interstellar protons (ionized hydrogen) are scooped using giants Magnetic field As a “rum scoop”. The protons will be compressed until they form a thermonuclear fusion and the magnetic fields will release that energy to create thrust in the rocket exhaust. The faster the ship sails, the greater the flow of protons and the greater the thrust.

But then scientists discovered that the concentration of hydrogen in the outer space of our solar system is much lower. For this, In a 1969 paper, John F. Fishback proposed a potentially effective magnetic scoop field, taking into account factors such as radiation loss and the thermal distribution of interstellar gases.

In particular, Fishback calculated the speed of the cutoff. “The faster ships go, the more magnetic field lines that focus on their fusion reactors,” the authors of this latest study explained. “Strong field[s] Fishback concludes that an interstellar ramjet can continuously accelerate to a certain threshold speed, at which point it must be throttle backwards, lest the magnetic source reach a breaking point.

This is the solution to the fishback that has been tested in this latest paper. “The idea is definitely worth investigating.” Says co-author Peter Shatsnyder, A Science fiction Author and physicist at Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna). “Interstellar space contains highly mixed gases, mainly hydrogen – about one atom per cubic centimeter. If you want to collect hydrogen in front of a spacecraft, like a magnetic funnel, with a huge magnetic field, you can use it. To speed up. “



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