View Full Version : Which is safer? Rocket vs. Ion Drive

2003-Aug-23, 06:03 PM
Recently, a Brazilian rocket malfunctioned and exploded, killing 21 people. This brought me to the conclusion of which is safer, rockets or Ion Drive? I believe that Ion power is safer and more effecient, but thats just my opinion. Please share your ideas, thanks.

2003-Aug-23, 06:55 PM
They're two different things. An ion drive is much safer and more efficient, but it can't produce the kind of thrust that will take things into orbit. You need something that can fire out enormous amounts of thrust, and for now, that's a chemical rocket. A nuclear rocket is an improvement in efficiency, but they're fairly untested so far.

2003-Aug-23, 08:40 PM
Oh yes, i'm aware of that. But I mean in space too. :)

2003-Sep-13, 12:40 PM
When it comes to heavy lifting, nothing beats the rocket.
In space, well I think its more complicated. Ion drive can provide continuous burn, which is good for long distance voyage. So I suppose its better than rocket, which can only provide the initial burst. And its of course much safer.
So I guess the best thing to do is to have a hybrid system:
Launch with rockets, when in space use secondary rockets for push off, then switch to ion drive for rest of the journey. Use rockets again when destination reached for breaking. This should achieve maximum speed. :)

2003-Sep-16, 12:57 AM
I'd read somewhere that Ion drives are very efficient, at least once you're in space. Is this true or false?

2003-Sep-16, 08:37 PM
They are efficient. With a chemical rocket, you have to lug up all the fuel with you as you climb into space. With an ion drive, you accelerate single atoms in an electric field. They're fired from the spacecraft at a high-velocity. The other trick is that they're solar-powered, you get the energy from the Sun through solar panels as you need it, so that's efficient too.

I've heard the number "10x" more efficient thrown around.

All in all, they're a much better way to scoot around the solar system.

2003-Sep-18, 09:50 PM
They're just much slower?

2003-Sep-25, 08:39 AM
They are slower to begin with deepeye, however because they can thrust continuously for long periods of time, they can actually get to much higher speeds than a chemical rocket.

2003-Sep-26, 04:39 AM
And what about nuclear rockets?


2003-Sep-26, 09:01 AM
There will never be interstellar travel by the biological life-forms. The life spans are too short and not resilient enough to withstand the effects of long-term exposure to negative gravity and mentally, isolation. Think beyond this. It really doesn't matter what form of propulsion you want to talk about. It will have nothing to do with real space travel. Interstellar space travel, intergalactic and even universal space travel will be achieved by radiation! Novel idea, huh?

What is the human body? It is 98% water and 2% trace elements tied together in a neat little package we call homo-sapiens. The engine that runs this creation is your brain which processes elcetrical current, just like your Pentium 4. Electrtical current is the conduit of all the processes of the human being no different than your desk-top computer. It is the "information highway"of the human species. Is it so outrageous to think that we won't soon tap into that "biological internet?". I firmly believe that we are on the verge of doing just that and it will open up the possibilites of light speed travel. You could actually copy and paste your very essence to a computer and convert it to an electrical code and transmit it as a radio signal.

My hypothesis takes out of the equation the problems of trying to transport huge weights of material products and biological life forms. You would only be limited by the power of the radio equipment that transported you. Think about it

2003-Oct-22, 02:16 AM
I have a weird one. Like a light house, a spectral beam of differant wavelengths is pointed at a target, needs an amazing array of power no doubt, but it is the only idea I can come up with for exploring stellar distence, a photonic probe, the results are picked up by observatories XMM SIRTF HUBBLE COMPTON etc. First pratice on asteroids, the moon, the solar system, as you get used to timeing point it at where you expect a extra solar planet you could get result within twenty years. The idea came from those lasers you can point and get a temperature at 30 meters with. One reason I shelved it (other than sounding like a nut) the last thing i would want is a neigbouring stars to take a photo of me at the x-ray or cosmic ray level of energy!
Certifiable? :unsure:

2003-Oct-23, 09:24 PM
G-man, that sounds just like a transporter beam. B)

2003-Oct-24, 04:05 AM
I think of it more as a (camera) flash, at different wavelengths, diferent cameras :D

2003-Oct-24, 09:23 AM
An ion drive is much, much slower on short trips (eg, to the moon), but on longer trips they become faster compared to their chemical buddies, and they use much less fuel. But the acceleration rate is very slow.

Nuclear Rockets have a thrust of 14,000 N/kg/sec.
Normal liquid chemical rockets have a thrust of 3,900 N/kg/s (some reach 4,400 N/kg/sec ).

So a controlled nuclear rocket would be much, much more efficient than a standard chemical rocket, but, it is much more dangerous. There are also 'photon' engines which fire photons out, but they would provide an extremely small amount of thrust, not even enough to escape the solar system.

I don't know what the thrust of ion drives are. Does anybody else know?