Thursday, August 07, 2014

Another failed star drive

I was alerted to this piece of excitement by the XKCD cartoon.

Never heard of it. A quick google turned up a breathless Wikipedia article where the experimenters promised:
"a quantum vacuum plasma thruster-powered spacecraft weighing 90 tonnes would be able to reach Proxima Centauri in ~29.9 years at 4 newtons per kilowatt."
I'd definitely buy one of those!

Alas, famed mathematician John Baez put the boot in. Both theory and experiment are all over the place and they probably observed a heating effect.