How Hard is Space Travel, in Principle?


Wed, Dec 8th, 2010 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Michael Nielsen thinks that our understanding of space travel is flawed because of our Earthly-experiences. Our current logic: it takes ten-times more energy to travel 10 kilometres as it does to go 1 kilometre. By that same logic, getting to Saturn, which is 4,000 times further than the moon, must be 4,000 times more difficult.

Nielsen notes that "in space, where there is no friction, this intuition is entirely wrong". In this essay, he presents the reader with some important caveats showing how space travel is far more favourable. Most importantly, that it doesn't take all that much more energy to get to the outer planets than it does to get to low-Earth orbit. A worthy read for any Starship Captain Wannabes.



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