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Re: [OT] Re: shuttle disaster

On Mon, Feb 03, 2003 at 10:26:57AM -0600, Ron Johnson wrote:
> As much of a fan of "space" science fiction that I am, the pragmatist
> in me must wonder if space planes will ever become practical until
> some new, relatively compact and light-weight, thrust generating energy
> source is invented.


> Also, the *incredible* re-enrty speeds and friction will have to some-
> how be ameliorated.  (We're all impressed when the SR-71 travels at
> Mach 3 at 26,000 meters, and it's titanium body expands so much to seal
> the fuel tanks, but Columbia was traveling at Mach 17 and the nose of
> the craft was so hot that it turned the atmosphere into plasma!)


> And it goes w/o saying that artificial gravity (that can be powered by
> the same enery source that propells the ship) will have to be invented
> so that man's skeletal system won't fall apart during prolonged space
> travel.  (Also, imagine how huch easier it would make eating, sleeping,
> shaving, deficating, etc...)

That sort of "artificial gravity" can be adequately simulated by
spinning things - no problem there.

"Real" artificial gravity would be very useful, so you could
accelerate to relativistic speeds in a reasonable time without turning
yourself into a monatomic layer in the process.

And of course it's probably the key to building a "warp drive" (Star
Trek, not an HDD with an IBM OS on it)


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