Menu

Blog

Dec 20, 2021

Science fiction revisited: Ramjet propulsion

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, space travel

In science fiction stories about contact with extraterrestrial civilisations, there is a problem: What kind of propulsion system could make it possible to bridge the enormous distances between the stars? It cannot be done with ordinary rockets like those used to travel to the moon or Mars. Many more or less speculative ideas about this have been put forward—one of them is the “Bussard collector” or “Ramjet propulsion”. It involves capturing protons in interstellar space and then using them for a nuclear fusion reactor.

Peter Schattschneider, physicist and science fiction author, has now analyzed this concept in more detail together with his colleague Albert Jackson from the USA. The result is unfortunately disappointing for fans of : it cannot work the way Robert Bussard, the inventor of this propulsion system, thought it up in 1960. The analysis has now been published in the scientific journal Acta Astronautica.

Leave a reply