Introduction: I originally wrote this back in 2006 and have since learned they are in fact developing something along these lines to propel ships into orbit using some form of magnetism.
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I’m not sure what or how and I will likely update this idea as time goes by, but I’m convinced that we are still in the dark ages with the propulsion systems we use today for space travel. Take for instance the space shuttle. I was watching some random Discovery channel show the other day and they showed the space shuttle being rocketed into space. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful site to see, but honestly I was stuck by the sudden impression that it was as barbaric as a cave man rubbing two sticks together to make fire. Sure his friends think it’s great, but today it’s considered basic.
There has to be more! Blasting people into space using a controlled explosion in flames is not progress. I’ve tried to wrap my mind around what an alternative would be, but don’t really have the education to reach a reasonable hypothesis. Of course that hasn’t stopped me in the past, so here goes.
Idea #1 – Magnets. Honestly I think magnetism is so under rated. Yes I said UNDER rated. I still find it amazing that we don’t use the hell out of magnets in transportation. Take a magnet and put two plus sides together and you have magical levitation. Put these under a vehicle and it would have almost no friction, other than air holding it back. Right? So what happens if we learn how this works and have it apply to some sort of propulsion system for launch things into space. Take a cylinder and put magnets all along it’s sides. The magnets would have to be the kind that are energized and de-energized by electricity, so that they could be switched on and off. Now lower a rocket into the cylinder. On the cylinder you have the same sort of magnetic film or metal covering. Now you should be able to basically turn on the magnets in such a way that you shoot the rocket out at decent speeds.
Ok after writing this I now see several problems with it. One, is the velocity needed to escape orbit would tear the rocket apart after it left the launch cylinder. Second, is how the heck do you maintain the required speed over the vast distance between earth and space?
Maybe the answer is a projected magnetic field that sort of pushes the rocket even after it has left the launch cylinder. Like say, a particle beam accelerator thing.
Idea #2 – Giant rubber bands. Ok, this one is a joke, but it’s almost as pathetic as the solid fuel rockets we use today.
Idea #3 – anti gravity? I know this one is even crazier than the rubber bands, but honestly I think this will happen.