What-if Star Trek used sails instead of matter/anti-matter?

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What-if Star Trek used sails instead of matter/anti-matter?

Post by LRH90LEBARON » Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:54 pm

Headlines: PASADENA, California (Reuters) -- A privately funded and experimental spacecraft blasted off on Tuesday from a Russian submarine in a venture funded by space enthusiasts who see their solar-driven orbiter as a way to reinvigorate a race to the stars.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/space/06/2 ... index.html

What if Captain Kirk commands: Sulu - unfurl the solar sails! Break orbit. Set course to Vulcan - and remember to tack to the solar wind. 8O
I remember Kirk loves the old 19th century tall sailing ships.

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Post by blindeye01 » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:02 pm

I heard of this, but the speed limit theoretically is like half lightspeed. So getting anywhere would take entirely too long
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Post by LRH90LEBARON » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:11 pm

Speed indeed would be an issue. The article also stressed that the source of the local solar wind comes from our sun, so the range would be restricted to no further than the outer frontier in our solar system. Chug - Chug. Likely, Kirk would have enjoyed sailing in his autumn years. 8)

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Post by Microsoft » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:20 pm

Heres part of a article I read about this...

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Compo ... eld_02.jpg

If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will unfurl its eight triangular sails, each nearly 50 feet long and just a quarter of the thickness of a trash bag. Controlled flight, achieved by rotating each blade to change its pitch, would be attempted early next week.


Solar sails are seen as a means for achieving interstellar flight by using the gentle push from the continuous stream of light particles known as photons. Though gradual, the constant light pressure should allow a spacecraft to build up great speed over time, and cover great distances.

Such a craft would not have to carry chemical fuel to propel itself through space, and, according to advocates, would eventually achieve greater speed than a traditional spacecraft.

Cosmos 1 was expected to orbit Earth once every 101 minutes and operate for at least a month.

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Post by blindeye01 » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:39 pm

The other thing about solar sails is in order to carry anything of importance, they'd have to be ultra ultra light and have sails miles across to carry say a human in a pod. Plus, if a small particle hits it......the sail gets full of holes. Its just not that practical.
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Post by LRH90LEBARON » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:40 pm

I'm all in favor of these baby steps to acheive Earth's orbit to demonstrate the use of sails as propulsion. I read it took a while for us terrans to develop the technology to acheive an artificial satellite to be launched into a stable orbit back in the late 1950's. Time and donations will get the private sector to move a little into space. I've read of several teams and businesses that are creating small sub-orbital vessels and small manned stations around the Earth's orbit in the near future. Tourism, rather than the minerals and manufacturing industries seems to be the leading interest to get to space. Imagine the "Love Boat" makes it to space before an exploratory cruiser of a similar size! :wink:

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Post by JPKTrekker » Tue Jun 21, 2005 7:46 pm

I have heard that a laser beamed at the sail will accelerate it exponentially.
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Post by blindeye01 » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:30 pm

But the speed limit is less than lightspeed, still too slow to get to any star.

Plus who wants a giant laser death ray built to shoot gigantic solar sails to Mars?

Besides us, of course.


Update:

Bad news, it went kerplooey

Signal was lost shortly after launch, they are assuming failure.
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Post by Microsoft » Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:37 pm

In the article they said failure was a high possibility but that they would try again.

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Post by JEDI3112 » Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:50 am

This brings back memories of the TIE fighter, and we all know how much of a beating they could take. And besides those things also didn't have a hyperdrive (apart from some designs), so they couldn't reach lightspeed. Besides I prefer the X-wing or a freighter like the Millenium Falcor or Ebon Hawk anyway. Come to think of it, the TIE is a lot like these solar sailing ships (except the TIE being much more advanced off course). And the TIE doesn't fit in with starfleet's care for life (remember you're not just using the fighter as expendable, but also the crew).

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Post by blindeye01 » Wed Jun 22, 2005 8:51 am

TIE means TWIN ION ENGINE. They had solar cells, not solar sails
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Post by Microsoft » Wed Jun 22, 2005 11:38 am

Russia claims the mission was sucessful. They have been recieving faint signals from it, so they belive it did acheive a low orbit but that they have no idea where it is.

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Post by jolt » Wed Jun 22, 2005 2:56 pm

Well, we have explorered everything on Earth, I think its about time we get into space exploration. If we're gonna leave the solar system in terms of spacecraft (un-manned) this is the century for it.
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Post by blindeye01 » Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:21 pm

Yeah, they lost it, then found it, so they can rescue it.
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Private funding >> future in Space travel

Post by LRH90LEBARON » Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:23 am

LRH90LEBARON wrote: Time and donations will get the private sector to move a little into space. I've read of several teams and businesses that are creating small sub-orbital vessels and small manned stations around the Earth's orbit in the near future. Tourism, rather than the minerals and manufacturing industries seems to be the leading interest to get to space. Imagine the "Love Boat" makes it to space before an exploratory cruiser of a similar size! :wink:
http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/bi ... 40927.html

"Robert Bigelow, chief of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, is apparently setting higher goals for private spaceflight endeavors with America's Space Prize, a $50 million race to build an orbital vehicle capable of carrying up to seven astronauts to an orbital outpost by the end of the decade, according to Aviation Week and Space Technology."-By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 27 September 2004 www.space.com

Awards are such a good idea that NASA is putting up a series of awards too.

"NASA has announced its own intentions to offer cash prizes for private space accomplishments through its Centennial Challenges office, which may offer prizes that range from $250,000 to $30 million. Potential challenges could include soft lunar landings and asteroid sample return missions, NASA officials have said." - ibid.

Such incentives should give a kick to our quest for activities in space.

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