Sub Light Speed is Good Enough

Speed is nearly everything, and using Terawatts of energy goes without saying.

By; Brad Guth / IEIS~GASA     updated: June 07, 2004


This is all about our physically going or not to certain places, though of utilizing technology we don't seem to have on the books, nor of the trillions of dollars necessary. This is also about my further justifying upon the safe and sane direction of utilizing applied photon communications, as for using laser cannons to deliver these quantum packets of perhaps UV photons at the speed of light, and possibly even faster if those photons are capable of utilizing the atomic Oort zones of perhaps sodium like atoms.

In the case of our reaching out towards calling Sirius, as opposed to our otherwise accomplishing anything physical, the sustained efforts of our using photons for the task of interplanetary communications are going to cost us at most 0.1% of any probe, and at most 0.0001% of what any significant expedition would cost, as well as for those photons taking at most 9 years to get there or 18 years worth round trip, as opposed to a physical one-way ticket to ride that'll require extremely expensive and of continuing politics and energy related wars for decades to just prepare for, and most likely at least a century worth (if we could average better than 10% light speed) in order to even achieve this goal as a one-way journey. So what's the point in physically going there?

Within the laws of natural as well as artificially induced evolution, I believe travel speed is merely another essential indicator as part of the evolution of life itself. If it's of something that can't move itself about, at least as microscopically within it's shell, such as diatoms, it's probably thoroughly dead, like almost everything situated on the frozen, well pulverised and irradiated to death planet of Mars has either been entirely dead or sufficiently immobilized until the next big thaw, of which the likes of Sirius might not accomplish such for another 60,000 years.

As opposed to our making a few of those relatively dirt cheap LD laser calls (even the Boeing/TRW ABL would be dirt cheap compared to the alternatives of physically going for the likes of Sirius), as well as least spendy for that of even a micro-probe. Though since none other will help humanity as to honestly support the notion of accomplishing interplanetary communications, via the safe and sane methods of using good old reliable and efficient photons, so that remains us with the rather daunting task of our physically sending stuff away from Earth, and subsequently far away from our solar system.

Fortunately, once our probe has accomplished 8% of the way towards Sirius, whereas this nullification point is offering the gravity-well null zone of expanse from within which less energy and the tremendous gravity influence of Sirius should soon make for the increase in speed from a relatively small amount of applied energy, although as for eventually having to slow down isn't exactly helping once we've arriving at Sirius, especially if we're still clocking in at 10+% light speed.

Should our probe or mission towards Sirius sustain this 30,000 km/s (10% LS), and for that effort requiring a rather substantial initial energy of perhaps several terawatts as based upon my initial assumption value of 1 w/m3 per km/sec as per using the E=MV2 that roughly extrapolated into the required amount of energy required. But that was only for my suggesting upon a continual pull of gravity and of friction from within our solar system, and that's simply not going to be the case at all.

Kinetic Impact Energy (KE=.5M*V2)

Surviving an impact with a mere dust-bunny at 10% Light Speed (dust bunny = 2 mg); This sort of impact yields 900e9 joules (900 TJ/sec) as per encountering a mere 2 mg worth at 10% ls. Although, since the impact event is not going to transpire over the span of any one second, but more like a micro second, it seems we have located more trouble in River City than you or I can shake that flaming stick at.

If this potentially nasty impact were that of a large blob of aerogel, as such it would be something all together more survivable than a mere speck of sand, and only much worse off if it's a mere micro-speck of dust. As the smaller the particle of similar mass is where it becomes all that more capable of penetrating whatever amount of physical and/or energy shield. So, in this case the larger object becomes something better off to be running into, as long as it doesn't weigh anything more.


Sirius L1 = 92%, thus our L2 = 8% of 8.64 = 0.7 Light Year

If Sirius/abc mass (of everything including the kitchen sink) were to be 3.5 times that of our entire solar system (again including that kitchen sink), then I believe the L1 of Sirius to be 92%, and the L1 from our perspective being 8%. Thus once beyond this 8% distance between us and them, roughly 0.7 light years along, space travel should either pick up a rather great deal of speed, and/or the amount of energy necessary for sustaining a SOA worth of 10% light speed should eventually drop to an extrapolation of perhaps 1 mw/m3 per 1 km/s, thus the potential 2+ terawatt demand of a rather substantial mission utilizing a craft of 2,000 m3 should become a couple of gigawatts, which is still more than a thousand fold greater energy requirement than anything on our books, at least so far, unless we go for something entirely thermal nuclear.


Push coming down to shove means that we'll be needing lots of energy

In order to fly ourselves, or just that of a substantial probe, off into free space (exiting our solar system at 10% ls), such a spacecraft must first overcome the gravity pull of mother earth, then the combined pull of our entire solar system. The escape velocity of Earth being roughly 11 km/sec seems relatively fast, however, Earth itself is traveling along at 30 km/s, and one of the best delivery rockets currently available was only able to impart enough kinetic energy for the Cassini spacecraft as to accelerate it's departure to about 4 km/sec, though as the Cassini probe heads toward Saturn it will eventually reach speeds of 5.2 km/s (11,700 mph), and of the ESA's Rosetta being of roughly a 3625 kg package that's capable of obtaining 39+km/s is only achieving this goal by way of being solar gravity assisted, which of course is having to travel itself multiple times in the wrong direction, and of taking more than a decade just to get where it's supposedly going, which is still a location that's situated deep within our solar system. Thus, we're currently able to barely accelerate stuff, and only those of relatively small packages like what we sent off to Mars and Saturn, though as for otherwise exiting our solar system, as to perhaps obtaining at best a mere 3 km/s (10% of Earth's speed) or 0.001% ls is about as good as it gets.

Required Thrust is E = MV2 or perhaps at least KE = .5MV2
In other words, in order to double a given speed requires 4 times the energy.

KEEPING it SIMPLE (estimate of spacecraft energy requirements):
Just for a little further argument sake (as though anyone actually needs to be prompted as to argue against absolutely everything I've got to say); If this task were to be taking 1 watt/m3 (1 w/t or 1 mw/kg) in order to sustain a 1 km/s rate of advance, as for exiting our solar system and thereby for overcoming physical and gravitational drag, and where each m3 further represented a hefty 1 t in overall associated spacecraft and occupant mass, this following table is a presumption as based upon sustaining this sort of spacecraft at various speeds of advance, as if starting off at 1 km/s and departing from the LSE-CM/ISS, which offers the mutual gravity-well null zone of our Earth/Moon.

Sustaining a spacecraft speed of advance (SOA):

  1 w/m3          =    1 km/s
  4 w/m3          =    2 km/s
16 w/m3          =    4 km/s
64 w/m3          =    8 km/s
256 w/m3        =   16 km/s
1024 w/m        =   32 km/s
4.096 kw/m3   =   64 km/s
16.384 kw/m3 = 128 km/s
65.536 kw/m3 = 256 km/s
262.14 kw/m3 = 512 km/s
1.0486 MW/m3 = 1024 km/s
4.1942 MW/m3 = 2048 km/s
16.777 MW/m3 = 4096 km/s
67.108 MW/m3 = 8192 km/s
268.43 MW/m3 = 16,384 km/s
1.0737 GW/m3 = 32,768 km/s

Even though my starting off point of requiring 1 watt per sustaining an advancement of delivering 1 m3 at the rate of 1 km/s should be considered a bit excessive, though if we stick with this notion it'll at least offer some clue as to what it's going to take in order to sustain a speed of 30,000 km/s, in which case it seems clear that it'll require roughly a GW/m3, and/or per tonne of spacecraft in order to sustain the momentum of 10% light speed. And, of course we don't actually have anything even on our drawing boards for sustaining much over 32 km/s, so that all we'll need is another 1000 times greater capability and a million fold more energy and we're still but crawling our way at merely 10% ls towards the stars, roughly at the speed of a turtle, not to mention Earth being trillions further in debt and subsequently polluted to a fairlywell.

Since even a highly compacted craft or coffin/pod for accommodating a manned mission is overall going to take up at least 10 m3 per individual, and that's only if they're individually packaged within this compact sleep-coffin module format, as otherwise they'll need at least 100 m3 per soul as could become necessary if they were free to roam about their massively shielded spacecraft. Thus lo and behold, if allocating 10 folks, and all of them awake and thrashing about within a relatively snug but otherwise shielded craft by way of their obtaining a relatively minimal surround of clumping moon dirt, that's obviously involving an envelope of another 10 X 100 m3 = 1000:1 energy factor above the estimated 1 GW/m3, thus it looks as though we'll be needing at least 1 TW in thrust, and that's just for sustaining a speed of 30,000 km/s, especially if the density of space isn't of something below 1e6 atoms/m3 and apparently God only knows how many of those photons (alive and/or resting) need to be displaced, and of dust-bunnys that simply need to be avoided at all cost.

Excluding the multiple launch phase and of getting all of that sufficiently beyond Earth L2 in the first place, such as for this mission being situated at the LSE-CM/ISS, and as for the daunting task of our getting this spacecraft up to 10% light speed, and without this initial acceleration effort taking all year to accomplish, saying that we strive for a 0.1 year timeline of achieving our primary acceleration goal, that which should require at least another terawatt applied for the duration of 36.5 days worth of acceleration. That's now become a total delivery of 2 TW in thrust energy for the initial 36.5 days and otherwise having to sustain the 1 TW capability for the mission duration of perhaps 90.5 years (give or take a decade).

Of course that's so far been with respect to the net thrust energy, so we'll need to attribute at least something as for energy losses, whereas the utmost energy efficient thruster I've identified is 85%, of which this clearly places the input at 2.4 TW. Of course we'll have to produce and/or extract that energy from something, such as from a nuclear and/or a tether dipole element which might offer what's needed. Either way there's certainly going to be more drag and thereby further energy losses involved, and at least another metric tonne worth of things that could go horribly wrong, which seems to indicate that in reality a 3 TW capability is what could be needed for at least the first month, then tapering off to perhaps 1.25 TW for the likes of any 90.5 years worth of transit between our solar system and Sirius, then having to apply the fully over-boosted retro-thrust of perhaps 10+TW for at least a month or so, as necessary for breaking.


Of adding a little further energy demanding insult to this endeavor for accommodating the provisions of O2, food and water (mostly in the form of beer and pizza), for 10 folks and 100 years worth = 1e6 kg (1000 t), of which this factor alone should suggest upon yet another terawatt, because it represents further displacement and thereby drag as well as additional compensation of initially alluding the pull of our solar system gravity. Of course, at roughly 8% towards Sirius is where the tremendous Sirius/abc gravity should take over from that of our solar system, as then the only concern becomes stopping once we've arrived, as 3.5 times the mass should indicate that we'll be in desperate need of at least 3.5 times the energy of our leaving Earth and subsequently obtaining 10% ls.

Although, if I were of Sirius and had detected upon anything coming my way, especially from such a thoroughly dumbfounded and certifiable insane planet such as Earth, I'd hit those bastards with everything I had. The very last thing Sirius needs is being infected with the inferior and mutated DNA from Earth, much less from it's pathetic excuse of humanly justifiable morality that applies conditional and/or skewed laws whenever it's necessary to snooker and/or exterminate other folks.

Making trades worthy in exchange for our lives;
Our team (second or third generation crew) having but what's left over from their stash of 100 years worth of beer and pizza (plus a few tonnes of Prozac and Pot) on board, this certainly doesn't give us much of any bargaining option but to trade and/or beg for whatever those folks of Sirius might have to offer on behalf accommodating the return flight. In other words, as for getting rid of us, it's more likely than not that Sirius folks have mastered far better than 10% light speed alternative, in which case the return mission could be a whole lot faster, especially expedited if our expedition butt was being summarily chased out of town by some nuclear powered STINGER.

Obviously, for this sort of spacecraft outfitting, as for accommodating mere humans throws a couple of other monkey wrenches into our need for speed, in that we've more than doubled upon the spacecraft parameters by having to toss in those provisions necessary for keeping folks alive, along with having something left over. As now we must apply at least another 1000 t as for the auxiliary energy unit and thrust modules and, lo and behold, we may have arrived at 3000 t, and as such, obviously we're in need of 3 to 4 times the raw energy of initial accelerating and of perhaps demanding twice as much for sustaining speed and as for keeping the crew alive, as fortunately the internal and overall weight isn't a sustaining energy factor, as much as for the overall m3 size of everything becoming perhaps 3000+ m3.

As you can imagine, by adding those further m3 to the spaceship only adds further insult to injury, that is if we still intend to make 10% ls or better, as increased drag and/or displacement is certainly a significant factor. Though not having a sufficient particle shield is going to nullify this mission anyway because, unless we've surrounded this craft with at least another 10,000 tonnes of clumping moon dirt, or even a 100,000 tonnes worth, chances are that it'll never make it much past go.

Impacting a dust bunny at 10% Light Speed (dust bunny of 2 mg)
This encounter offers 900e9 joules (900 GJ) per encountering this mere 2 mg at 10% ls, whereas an actual grain of somewhat micro sand at 20 mg is obviously becoming a 9 terajoule event, and so forth, of which I rather doubt that a solid probe of diamond as such probably couldn't survive, especially since that sort of impact energy will transpire within a micro second.

Of course, after we've invested decades and a mere billion dollars per tonne, we're now at three trillion bucks and counting, and of having nearly nothing to show for at least another 90.5 years worth, except for having to accommodate all the technical support and infrastructure that's running at least another billion per year for yet another 100+ years to come, as continually plotting and devising various mission support and rescue missions, and of otherwise trying remotely as to keeping those ten crew members from killing off one another.


Clearly the above outline is a rather crude yet spendy and a damn risky notion, especially lethal and insane if not accommodating that additional 10,000 t worth of moon dirt just for an adequate shield (physical as well as radiation), not to even mention upon being decades away from even getting this sort of mission under way, plus nearly another century transpiring before obtaining our first results, whereas the following notion is somewhat less than dirt cheap, and about as safe as exploration gets, with the maximum timeline being less than 18 years before there's "proof positive" that we've managed to piss off another Muslim and/or Islamic world, worse yet if they're Cathar and can't seem to wait for having their next Pope visitation.

As compared to our physically going there, it seems rather obvious of our delivering upon my laser cannon packet calls, even if starting off at a modus thousand dollars per hour is almost embarrassing, as that's less than the hourly budget for NASA's toilet paper. Even if that effort were unlikely as to becoming 24/7, we're still only talking about 8.74 million per year. Pushing the envelope to a wild and crazzy budget worthy of $10,000/hr and we're capable of sucking up 87.4 million per year, while consuming at most 1 GW as based upon an all-inclusive global team effort.

A GW class laser cannon of 0.05 milliradian or better, if that item were to be operated at 10% duty cycle, we might be taking about 300 MW in terms of hourly input. Three of those synchronized upon Sirius is still less than the 1 GW/hr basis.

Of course, to otherwise be focused upon something that's within our local laser area code, such as Venus, shouldn't take but a few KW, and perhaps not even 0.1% the laser cannon investment of doing Sirius.

Don't let my silly notions fog your superior thoughts as to why we shouldn't even bother with the likes of Sirius, much less Venus, as I'm sure that your NASA moderated education and "all knowing" expertise is fully aligned with the mainstream status quo collective, which must have already stipulated that no matters what amount of available energy there is to being had, nor of how many hundreds or thousands or perhaps millions of years there was for other forms of evolution or of terraforming, as well as for survival intelligence to kick in, that no matters what there's absolutely no chance of any other life existing elsewhere except upon this thoroughly dumbfounded and subsequently polluted planet, which by the way we Americans have been polluting along at the good rate of creating 20 annual tonnes worth of artificial CO2 per person (all 265 million of us), and that's not even inclusive of launching stuff into space.

Just because Venus keeps coming back around for yet another near miss, so close that relatively common-place lasers will suffice, and of existing astronomy will more than detect whatever replies, much less what the superior optical and thereby magnification capability of TRACE and of a few other space platform instruments, such as SOHO that should easily detect upon illuminations from the nighttime and even daytime season of Venus, at least those BAA folks seem to have no problem whatsoever (I'm excluding anything Hubble because, it's apparently not allowed to participate in anything that could possibly make NASA look any more like the sort of Club Jackass Astronomy of being any more dumb and dumber than they already are). I'm also excluding anything OSETI because, Venus is simply way too close and too affordably obtainable for anything worthy of those SETI/OSETI folks and besides, they seem to know for a fact than any planet worth receiving signals from are restricted to primitive radio. KECK-II on the other hand has accomplish terrific images of the nighttime season of Venus, though obscured by some strange green illumination glow that's lighting up their entir season of nighttime.

I don't mean to sound sarcastic but, at this point yes I do in fact mean to be sarcastic, in that I'm stipulating upon Earth's humanity having from the very beginnings of time utilized illuminations of artificial means and/or of taking advantage of artificially reflecting solar photons as message packets, as for a matter of fact humanity had been communicating via light tens of thousands of years prior to anything radio. As in duh! and double duh!, light can easily be viewed on Earth over great distances, as even between two absolutely dumb and dumber and totally incompetent humans and as well as by numerous other creatures, such as for 100+ miles between mountains is within what's doable, and that's without the aid of technology nor of anything radio. Add the technology of laser or merely that of xenon like focused beams and you've got your hands upon interplanetary capable communications, and all of that's in spite of all the anti-everything under the sun sorts of folks doing their dog-wagging level best as for covering NASA's sorry butt.

With damn little applied physics/technology, light can even be transmitted for millions of miles, offering spectrums as visible to humans as well as using other spectrums visible only to creatures having evolved with their vastly superior nocturnal visual capabilities, like more than 1000 other species and sub-species that already exist as living right here on Earth. With applied physics and the associated technology of existing lasers and CCD detectors at hand, certain spectrums of light well beyond human capability are greatly detectable in spite of any harshly illuminated environment as surrounding or as background, such as that created by our sun, and of this fact is no joke, though it seems our cold-war NASA has been a bloody joke.

Of course, if there's no intelligence on the receiving end of things, then what's the point, or perhaps our having the absolute total lack of intelligence within our NASA should soon become re-specified as yet another "so what's the difference?", as in exactly what our resident warlord offered on behalf of justifying thousands of dead folks supposedly hiding all those WMD, and of a few too many of our own folks and allies that'll just have to settle for jack squat rather than honesty.

But, don't let me be the one telling you what you must already knew, as that would be suggesting that a good number of our cloak and dagger folks have been giving this interplanetary communications aspect as much "spin" and dog-wagging "damage control" as possible, rather than admit their defeat, and perhaps that's even a good sort of thing because, 9 out of 10 employed by NASA/NSA/DoD are those within those various S&DC divisions, thus butt covering and of ultimately their own job security becomes the tallest order of their day.

My being the messenger from hell and all, obviously I've been suggesting the lesser cost of our making those LD laser packet calls, as opposed to our actually gong to such places, in as much as it seems my notions are not only operating at the speed of light, vastly cheaper and but way more biologically safe and thereby morally sane, than of what's been the case of what our NASA and their incest borg like collective has been up to.

Calling Venus (if we're not being allowed to officially look at Venus, much less research nor even openly discuss the possibilities, then it certainly can't possibly hurt focusing a few laser cannons upon it);

If you're perchance the sort of individual that's more interested in the truly viable prospects of our achieving interplanetary communications (contacting ETs without utilizing radio), as for that relatively simple and extremely cost efficient quest, I've added lots of notions, if not a little too much in the form of quantum packet information into this following page;
http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-interplanetary.htm

Here's a few of the latest deliveries upon what other is new, and of what's certainly hot, as offering a bit more than you may need to know of what my three brain cells can deliver on behalf of Sirius terraforming the likes of Mars, Earth and Venus.
**** http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-earth-venus.htm
http://guthvenus.tripod.com/synchronized-moon.htm
http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-sirius-trek.htm
Updates and newest pages: http://guthvenus.tripod.com/updare-242.htm


For those interested more into the future, rather than having to continually muck about within the Apollo space toilet of our past;  Much of my lunar or bust interest has been in regard to establishing a focus upon achieving the LSE (Lunar Space Elevator) and/or GMDE (Guth Moon Dirt Express) depot notion, as for offering humanity a perfectly valid means/gateway to an end (actually supporting many obtainable ends), of which seems lately to include the rather worthy fusion hot prospect of obtaining He3 or 3He, as well as for further accommodating those folks intent upon trekking off to the likes of Mars or Venus: The Lunar Space Elevator http://guthvenus.tripod.com/gv-cm-ccm-01.htm
To the INDEX page: GUTH Venus (with loads of recently posted UPDATES)
alternate URL's: http://guthvenus.tripod.com  and  http://geocities.com/bradguth
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