# Re: Quick question about a STL trip - and another...

On Aug 22, 11:12 am, David Mitchell <da...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
wrote:
On Fri, 22 Aug 2008 07:45:55 -0700, IsaacKuo wrote:

The key essentially boils down to ensuring that the mass of the
sacrificial propellant is much greater than the mass of the incoming
chip impactor.

That was part of what was misleading me - the term "puff" implied, to me
at least, a small amount, not 4Kg.

Oh, no, it would be much less than 5kg! I only used those numbers
to demonstrate the principle. I chose the numbers for easy math.
The example of a 1kg chip and a 4kg puff were meant to demonstrate
a mass ratio, not scale.

The chip impactors would plausibly be more like very small extremely
thin flakes of foil. With an area of perhaps .1mm by .1mm and a
thickness of 1 micron, the mass of a chip may be on the order of
0.01 micrograms. The thinness of the chips is determined by the
need for radiative surface area; the small size of the chips is
determined
by the need for these thin foil chips to not tear themselves apart
under laser acceleration.

On the other hand, this depends on the scale of the starship. I'd
have to do some math and some guessing around to figure out
the point where you need larger chips to provide enough raw
kinetic energy for a heavier starship.

In principle, you could get the same effect as bigger chips by
having multiple chips impact simultaneously. This seems like a
great technical challenge, though.

Isaac Kuo
.

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