Thursday, December 25, 2008

This post is sort of a collection of alternative fusion techniques (vs. tokamak) . I'll add more as I find them.

Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) reactors - aka "fusors"
The primary researchers as of late have been Robert Bussard (deceased) and George Miley. I met George at a Lockheed colloquium at the Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto. He was trying to pitch a modified IEC that would basically have holes poked in it to create a thruster. I think his hope was that Lockheed (et al) would fund him, and then he would eventually get them to realize that, oh, by the way, if this is scaled up it's a fusion reactor! He recommended p-B11 as the fuel, because it tends to be aneutronic.

Levitated Dipole Experiment, (LDX) - MIT project that uses large suspended electromagnets.

Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF):
Saw this in the latest issue of Popular Science.
The company profiled in the article is General Fusion in Canada, led by Michael Laberge.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Plasma Propulsion

It turns out that the plasma cannon we were envisioning at our last meeting is pretty similar to a VASIMIR engine - notice the use of radio waves (similar to microwaves) to excite the plasma:

General definition of plasma propulsion engine:

Also, here are is an excellent paper on plasma propulsion - it has some other interesting ideas like using the magnetosphere for propulsion, and creating a mini-magnetosphere on spacecraft to protect from radiatio/cosmic rays, etc:

And then there's this recent story that's been going around, which Travis pointed out:

Also, here is an interesting site about using LTA (Lighter Than Air) technology to get to orbit, using a three step approach - A robust V-shaped wing craft to get to a floating station at 140k ft, where a lighter and more delicate (and streamlined) V-shaped wing craft with ion engines to slowly get to orbit in 5 days. It's a little hard to glean too much from their website, I had to buy their book "Floating to Orbit" to figure out what they were really up to:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cool Science Toys Site

A potential source of future projects:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Lifter Link / Plasmoid Containment Idea

Lifter Link
This one's been around for a while too:
Amercian Antigravity

And hey, right at the top, there's a link to Bob Bussard's last lecture about fusors. It's all interconnected man...

Plasmoid Containment Idea
Have an idea regarding the microwave plasma experiment - possibly contain the plasma with an inverted lifter where the sides form a three-sided pyramid. Where the three planes of air currents converge, at the apex of the pyrimid, is where I imagine the plasmoid being contained. Another benefit is that the noxious Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) from the plasmoid might combine with the lifter's ozone (O3) to produce not-so-bad nitrate (NO3) and good ol' O2.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Next meeting changed to Thursday May 29th

Since this Friday was short notice, AND is the kickoff to the Memorial Day weekend, how 'bout we shoot for the following week? Also, since Friday's might be more of a relaxation type of day, how about Thursday night, May 29th?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Next Meeting This Friday?

How about if we meet this Friday, 5-22-08? My house?

Would you prefer an evite as done previously, or is a posting like this sufficient?

Feel free to leave comments, or suggest another date.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Energy

What do you all think of this website? I heard about it last night on Coast to Coast AM, and it seems to detail quite a few new and groundbreaking energy creation techniques.

The show last night was mostly about Nikola Tesla. I particularly liked the part about his "free energy car" that used a box with vacuum tubes to tap into some sort of energy:

Sounds a bit like legend, the sort of thing one might fantasize about seeing at, say the Maker Faire or something...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lifter Links

Here are some of the best links on Lifters that I've found, that seek to scientifically explore, experiment with, and explain Lifter propulsion.

NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics lab seems to have the best official study about Lifters and what makes them function.

Jean-Louise Naudin in France is also one of the main amateur proponents in the world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Idea - Google Earth / Wikipedia World History Globe

After watching some history shows about ancient Greece, then playing with Google Earth to figure out where they took place, then looking at Wikipedia to learn more about the events, I suddenly had this idea:

How about a module for Google Earth where you can scroll through history, with a timeline scrollbar on one side, where you can select the start and end dates, and then Google Earth will show you how the Earth looked at the time you scroll to (and change as you scroll).

You could then get the relevant articles in layers from the relevant time period and location. That would really make history come alive! Especially if you could incorporate all the 3-D reconstructions of ancient sites into Google Earth's 3-D buildings feature (or whatever they call it).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Let's Vote On Our Next Meeting Details

Hey guys,

As you can see, the blog's up, with the videos posted and everything.

When you get a chance, take a vote on the next topic - what and when (I guess we can get together at my place again).

For additional comments or suggestion, leave a comment on this post.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Brain Bash 2 - More Lifter Action

On our second meeting, we revisited the lifters, and this time our attendees were:
* Giles
* Josh
* Cliff
* Aaron
* (no Lincoln)

In addition to flying the lifter that had successfully flown previously, we built new ones. Josh built a sturdy one with reinforced corners, Aaron built one entirely out of soda straws, and Cliff experimented with a cylindrical design. Giles explained the workings of his high power amplifier.


Notable changes from previous flights
One notable change occurred with Giles' power supply; the mosfet was replaced with one that pulsed. This seemed to increase the thrust dramatically, as we had seen mentioned on other websites, but without the capability to measure thrust, we do not yet know quantitatively to what degree this made a difference.

We also tried doubling the length of the tethers, but at this greater height, flight became unstable, and the lifter shorted against either itself or the guitar-stand crane rig (see video), and this blew out the power supply. As a result, no further flights were performed for the evening.

Other Ideas
Other ideas that were talked about included:
* My retro-MIDI box with Roland LAPC-1 and SCD-15 DB cards
BTW, Cliff's suggestion to swap the PS with a more powerful one worked!
* Cliff's Google website project (I'd like to know more!)
* The original project Orion nuclear propulsion concept

Brain Bash 1 - Lifter Lifts Off!

This was our first brain bash, the focus was lifters, and we had three attendees:
* Lincoln
* Giles
* Aaron

The short version of the story is: the lifter lifted off! This was our first successful lifter flight, using Giles self assembled high voltage amp, and lifter by Giles and Aaron.


Other side curiosities were:
* OLPC - brought by Giles
* Idea by Lincoln about using a bluetooth headset to modulate your voice