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[tor dot com] When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction
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James Nicoll
2018-07-30 14:48:43 UTC
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When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction

https://www.tor.com/2018/07/30/when-ramjets-ruled-science-fiction/
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Kevrob
2018-07-31 19:32:34 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction
https://www.tor.com/2018/07/30/when-ramjets-ruled-science-fiction/
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Don't forget "the hero of our nation!"*



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Ramjet

Kevin R

*
(not James' nation, though.)
Kevrob
2018-07-31 19:56:09 UTC
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(not James' nation, though.)
As for hay bales....



Kevin R
Butch Malahide
2018-08-01 05:08:52 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction
https://www.tor.com/2018/07/30/when-ramjets-ruled-science-fiction/
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
James Nicoll
2018-08-01 14:22:51 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction
https://www.tor.com/2018/07/30/when-ramjets-ruled-science-fiction/
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
Nope! It had, as I recall, three drives:

The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.

An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby

An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
--
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Butch Malahide
2018-08-02 03:39:38 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
Yeah but the way it got fuel to feed the converter:

[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic dust, stray
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]

Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
James Nicoll
2018-08-02 04:06:31 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic dust, stray
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]
Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
I sit corrected.
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Greg Goss
2018-08-02 06:52:40 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic dust, stray
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]
Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
Well, the ramjet is just interested in the hydrogen to fuse. The rest
of the crap is gathered just to keep it out of the ship's path. No
total conversion in the Bussard idea.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
James Nicoll
2018-08-02 13:44:20 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic
dust, stray
Post by Butch Malahide
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]
Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
Well, the ramjet is just interested in the hydrogen to fuse. The rest
of the crap is gathered just to keep it out of the ship's path. No
total conversion in the Bussard idea.
Total conversion would make it more efficient. Not efficient enough
to work but still...
--
My reviews can be found at http://jamesdavisnicoll.com/
My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
My patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/jamesdnicoll
Butch Malahide
2018-08-03 01:00:52 UTC
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Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic
dust, stray
Post by Butch Malahide
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]
Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
Well, the ramjet is just interested in the hydrogen to fuse. The rest
of the crap is gathered just to keep it out of the ship's path. No
total conversion in the Bussard idea.
Total conversion would make it more efficient. Not efficient enough
to work but still...
I wonder , , ,

1. Was that 1941 Heinlein yarn the *earliest* mention of an interstellar
ramjet?

2. Bussard was 12 years old when "Methuselah's Children" ran in ASF.
Did he read it, and was it an influence? Too late to ask him.

3. They say a Bussard ramjet would be a better brake than a propulsion
system. Well, for a mission to another star, unless it's just a flyby,
isn't braking half the work? Would it make sense to use something like
a laser sail for propulsion, and a Bussard ramjet to slow down at the
destination?

D B Davis
2018-08-02 18:17:30 UTC
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Post by Greg Goss
Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
Post by Butch Malahide
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
The same total conversion drive its predecessor (the one from Orphans
of the Sky) had.
An inertia-cancelling drive that let sunlight push it up to .8 C in one
go, invented by Andrew Libby
An FTL drive, also devised by Libby (but I think working from a demonstration
of alien tech).
[BEGIN QUOTE]
The _New Frontiers_ had no fuel tanks; she "lived off the country," gathering
up any mass that lay in her path with a sweep field--meteors, cosmic dust, stray
atoms. If the "country" was "poor" in stray matter, any mass from within the
ship was fuel for her hungry converter--furniture, clothing, food, even dead
bodies.
[END QUOTE]
Isn't that sort of the way an interstellar ramjet is supposed to work?
Well, the ramjet is just interested in the hydrogen to fuse. The rest
of the crap is gathered just to keep it out of the ship's path. No
total conversion in the Bussard idea.
The premise of Bussard's original paper [1] is that a lack of any and
all fuel presents the greatest single obstacle to interstellar travel.
So it seems counterintuitive for him to exclude any fuel source. Besides
hydrogen, he specifically mentions interstellar dust and deuterium as
potential sources of fuel.

Note.

1. http://www.askmar.com/Robert%20Bussard/Galactic%20Matter%20and%20Interstellar%20Flight.pdf



Thank you,
--
Don
Dan Swartzendruber
2018-08-02 03:04:45 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by James Nicoll
When Ramjets Ruled Science Fiction
https://www.tor.com/2018/07/30/when-ramjets-ruled-science-fiction/
Is the New Frontiers in Heinlein's _Methuselah's Children_ a ramjet?
Was it the first interstellar ramjet in science fiction?
I think it was supposed to be, but Libby ginned up some kind of
stardrive out it.
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