NASA flies plan with no on-board fuel, powered by a land based laser

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stelliform, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Stelliform macrumors 68000

    Stelliform

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    #1
    Imagine that you could keep these planes aloft for months at a time. Pretty cool stuff!

    BBC Link
     
  2. Mac til death macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2002
    Location:
    Memphis
    #2
    that reminds me of the movie Independence Day where the Alien fighters were powered by the presence of the mother-ship (über-Alien bluetooth).

    /me goes to watch Independence Day. ;)
     
  3. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #3
    when i read the words "NASA flies plan with no on-board fuel"... all i could think was, "oh, christ, those people need to pay more attention!"

    pnw
     
  4. dstorey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    #4
    oh boy.....and people say mobile phone masts are bad for you health......anyone wanna try toasting marhmellows on one of these beams ;)
     
  5. mymemory macrumors 68020

    mymemory

    Joined:
    May 9, 2001
    Location:
    Miami
    #5
    1. You are yous chnging the location of the fuel tank. Not you are fulling the laser beam.

    2. If you really need to carry heavy things like a satelite you will need a few hundred thousans of lasers and not mention the size of the wings to capture all the required energy. It is gonna be cheaper to use regular fuel tanks.
     
  6. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #6
    a small model plane is one thing - a larger one is something else - how big is the laser and what happens if you accidently get in the way between the plane and the laser? :D

    D
     
  7. tpjunkie macrumors 65816

    tpjunkie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    Hmm, they don't mention the wavelength of the laser, only that it's not visible light. While low infrared lasers wouldn't be too harmful, I don't think something in the X-ray range would be too healthy to get near.
     
  8. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #8
    Great article. Sounds like the laser fuel system would be very helpful for surveillance. According to the article if the beam is cut off the plane will safely glide back and land.
     
  9. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #9
    great blah blah blah, they(Nasa) constantly come up with all kinds of dreams, etc ..and a lil bull...t but dont even have a way into space at this moment. this is very sad. when growing up in the 60's 70's i thought our space program was going somewhere except i forgot one thing. Govt took it all over. we never built a easy way into space infrastructure.Govt got its hands on it. continuation of x-15 like craft to me is the way to go with current edge technology. If we are to ever open up space this has to be done in a safe and lot less expensive way then the 70's technology shuttle. 2 accidents are 2 two many. design a good way to space-/orbit/-station....design a good spacecraft for lunar earth orbits/landings. space 1999 like or what ever......
     
  10. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    Nasa's first spacecraft were basically ICBM's with people attached to the top. They figured, heck, if we can hit Russia, we can hit the moon.

    There is a lot of innovation going on right now at Nasa. That's what this is. They experiment and come up with new ways to do things. Without things like this, they'll never have another way to get into space. Rocket propulsion wasn't invented in a day. It took hundreds of years of research, from early chinese firecrackers to where we are now. These toys are the gateway for the future. We need to work on getting these seemingly small and insignificant technologies to work more efficiently. Sure, it'd be easier to strap a rocket onto a spacecraft and launch it that way, but it's not the safest thing to do. Just because it's cheaper and easier doesn't mean it's better. And besides, if this stuff doesn't make it into space, it may some day make it into your everyday lives. Things like microwaves, velcro, computer chips, and lots of other stuff weren't originally designed to be used by the masses, but we use them now because somebody discovered something new, and saw different applications for their idea.
     
  11. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #11
    the problem is Nasa has built up enough paperwork to cover the empire state building with projects,experiments,failed attempts etc,more failure' recent x- crafts and at this moment America has no way into space? we never came up with any alternatives except on paper and Nasa is famous for creating paper. so hoorah we have a how many ounces was the plane? flying at what cost? meanwhile if we want to go in space we need the Russians or soon to be Chinese. Terrific :rolleyes:
     

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