Sep 5, 2022

Ramjet Propulsion and the Near Impossibility of Interstellar Travel

Posted by in categories: alien life, particle physics

Human space exploration has had its share of successes, with our probes going far into interstellar space. But humans themselves haven’t made it past the Moon yet. If we’re ever to find other Earth-like planets or alien civilizations we have to be able to traverse the immense span of space much quicker. One potential invention that could make this a reality is a theoretical space drive known as the “Bussard collector” or “Ramjet propulsion”. A recent physics paper published in the journal Acta Astronautica considers the feasibility of this technology.

The thrust from the jet would theoretically allow the ship to reach relativistic speeds, while carrying no onboard fuel. The concept is based on the presence of high-energy particles in space, with hydrogen especially existing in an ionized state that can be affected by magnetic fields.

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