How to choose the engine of a spaceship?

After appearing on this ancient blue planet as a vulnerable group, humans spent hundreds of thousands of years fighting against ferocious predators, learning from oneself and finally standing on the top of the food chain. Gather and multiply in a safe environment, don’t worry about going hungry tomorrow.

In the age of burning a bonfire and singing and dancing in the night, there are always some people who are not so good at singing and dancing sitting in the dark with their knees, staring at the moon shining in the sky, wondering if the “moon landing” will become The focus of attention. Through the processing and retouching of generations of literati, the ancient and romantic travel story of the moon and the bridge meets the best evidence of human dreams. From the first glance of the starry sky to the flight out of the atmosphere and the exploration of the universe, this human history is placed on the scale of the universe, which is particularly short-lived.

From the neon feathers to the moon, it is only two thousand years. From the “cannon spacecraft” to the super-light speed spacecraft, it has only been more than 100 years.

“Cannon spaceship”
With the advent of the great maritime era, explorers with strong curiosity almost barely explored the surface, but human desire for the unknown is still increasing. At this time, the mysterious veil of the universe began to be gradually unveiled, and the scientific giant’s search for the truth began to make the first step of “looking outward”.

Galileo’s extensive foundation work in mechanics, the observation of the Moon and Mars, gave birth to the “Newton’s Three Laws”. From then on, when people look up at the stars, they no longer only have romantic fantasies, but begin to clearly realize that if certain conditions are met, human beings can use the power of science to get rid of the gravitational constraints of the earth and cross the vast space. Close to or step on the beautiful stars that you can see.

Science fiction writers have painted a lot of glamorous and imaginative “blueprints” for the public. In the 18th and 19th centuries when the classical mechanics architecture was basically completed, the industrial revolution has achieved fruitful results. The new theory represented by “evolution theory” has gradually penetrated the hearts of the people. People have great expectations for the subversive nature of science and technology: what will the world become? ? Will the future world be ok?

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the pioneers of science fiction, represented by Verne and Wells, gave the readers an unprecedented shock with a keen sense of smell and great brushstrokes.

Wells put the cockroaches of the universe on Mars. He likes to describe the scene of Martian invasion. In 1938, CBS’s Air Mercury Theater broadcasted Wells’s “Martian invasion of the Earth,” sparking a panic among the audience – people thought the Martians really came.

In the book “From Earth to the Moon” by Verne’s masterpiece, the emergence of the artillery spacecraft became the originator of all the interstellar spaceships in all science fiction works. The “cannon spaceship”, as its name implies, is just a large artillery shell. It does not have a high-tech engine. It is a “slack of a hammer” that can only be acted upon by inertia after launch. It has simple shock absorbers – water and springs – made with potassium chlorate and caustic potash, as well as simple furniture, food, and three people and a dog. Although the novel has some serious injuries, such as the length of the cannon barrel is not enough, if the length is enough to reduce the pressure is not enough, but the idea is already very valuable. At that time, humans did not know that the atmosphere was extremely cold and there was no air on the moon. Therefore, the novel and its sequel, “Walking around the Moon,” are full of whimsical plots.

However, the “cannon spaceship” as the first imaginary spaceship has completely surpassed the speed of the second universe that was then derived by scientists. Verne himself did not expect that this “Columbia cannonball” had a profound impact on the history of science fiction and even the real science community. Even the “Apollo” moon landing program is highly similar to some of the details in the novel – the launch site is Cape Canaveral, Florida, the astronauts are all three, and “Apollo 11” returns to the earth. The location of the sea, and the novel is only a few tens of kilometers – on the one hand, the scientific nature of the novel is “hard”, and on the other hand, because of its cultural influence. This is one of the classic examples of fictional plots affecting historical processes.

Beyond the speed of light
When people have not yet woke up from the loud noise of Colombian artillery, time has already entered the 20th century. In 1905, a 20-year-old Jewish youth published a paper entitled “Electrodynamics on Dynamics.” He waved a sharp relativity theory and opened a new day for the physics community.

At the same time, the savvy science fiction writers also entered the spring of writing, and the depression and war temporarily interrupted this short spring. The tremendous power of nuclear weapons in the Second World War, a Damocles sword was hoisted on the heads of all the Earth. Therefore, the high use of nuclear technology has also become a source of creation for a considerable number of science fiction works.

In the middle of the 20th century, with the emergence of some new physics hypotheses after the war, and the rise of science fiction writers represented by the “Science Fiction Big Three” – Heinlein, Asimov, and Arthur Clark, the science fiction was officially Entered the golden age. With a variety of design styles and power supply methods, the spaceship travels in the imaginary universe, but the introduction of the mass equation also allows all science fiction writers who are interested in describing the universe to sail during the grand space opera plot. In front of it, there is a high wall standing silently – the speed of light.

The speed of light cannot be surpassed at this stage. Moreover, even if the spacecraft can reach the theoretical maximum speed of light, the short life of human beings is far from being able to carry the long voyage. It can be said that the most basic idea of ​​science fiction based on the universe is to first think of a method of high navigational power or even speed of light. The speed of light beyond is the basis of navigation, trade and war between galaxies.

Diverse engine
The most famous spaceship in science fiction works, the “enterprise number” (enterprise number) in “Star Trek”. The “Enterprise No.” carries a strong sense of humanity. Astronauts with different cultural backgrounds, different planets, and different people (objects) are in charge of justice and difficulties in all corners of the universe. Just as described in Star Trek: “The universe, the last frontier of mankind. This is the voyage of the Starship’ Enterprise. Its continuing mission is to explore the unknown new world and find new life and new civilization. , bravely sail to the front of the field.”

In Star Trek, there are many ships called Enterprise. The biggest common point of these ships is that they use the curvature engine. The principle of the curvature engine is that the engine spreads the space in a wave manner, leading to the space in front of the spacecraft. The contraction and the rear space expand, and the axial direction formed before and after is the direction in which the ship wants to sail.

The spacecraft rides in a range of fluctuations. This section is called “curve bubble” and is a flat time and space. To put it simply, the voyage of the starship is shortened in a way that shrinks and expands the space before and after the starship, in this way surpassing the speed of light without violating the theory of relativity.

This theory was elaborated in the 1994 paper by Dr. Akuberui, so the curvature engine is also known as the Akuberui engine. Curvature engine is an important engine faction in science fiction, and what sci-fi fans are relishing is that Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin also introduced the concept of curvature engine in “Three-body” and played it as a civilization. A milestone in advanced levels.

In the famous Japanese writer Tian Zhongfang’s masterpiece “The Legend of the Heroes of the Milky Way”, the Warp jump engine on the spacecraft is the same as the curvature engine, but it is actually another method of superluminal speed. It is essentially a folding of space, like bending a piece of white paper so that the two points coincide to achieve the shortest contact—repetition of a similar process in the real-world three-dimensional space can make the universe travel one point to another. Jump, thus shortening the distance and surpassing the speed of light. In the popular Japanese comic book “Doraemon”, the interstellar spacecraft also adopts this kind of driving mode similar to the cosmic leapfrog.

In terms of influence, it is the “Star Wars” series of movies that go hand in hand with the “Star Trek” series. The most eye-catching spaceship in the “Star Wars” series is the spectacular Star Warship. Traveling on the rivers and lakes by the Star Wars is very “pull the wind”, just like the battleships before the “World War II”. Every time the Starship “shows”, the Star Wars fans at the movie scene will give a warm cheer.

The large spacecraft of the Starship uses a super space engine. The basic principle of the hyperspace engine is that the power generator enhances and changes the energy in the melting reactor through superconducting coils that are several kilometers long. Next, the super space engine’s horizontal booster energizes the ionization chamber, starting to ignite and release the rays. This process produces a “Ripples” in the space-time matrix, allowing the spacecraft to sail into space beyond time and space.

To put it simply, by making time and space, the spacecraft enters a space that is more dimensional than the current dimension, and moves from a high-dimensional space to a destination. If compared, the hyperspace engine will outperform the curvature engine in speed, but the risks and limitations are also large. It requires that you have the exact coordinates of your destination.

In some sci-fi works that don’t require grand scenes, the sub-light engine provokes the girders. Because long-distance flights take a long time, the spacecraft itself cannot carry fuel with a large proportion of self-weight, so many scientists and science fiction writers made bold assumptions about the continued advancement of the engine. For example, American scientist Bassad proposed the concept of interstellar ramjet in 1960. The interstellar ramjet engine is actually a fusion engine. It captures the ripples scattered in the space and uses it as a fuel through a huge magnetic field funnel. In this way, the spacecraft does not need to carry fuel, and can continue to accelerate to reach infinitely close to the speed of light. This kind of engine has also been classically interpreted in works such as “The Crossing of the Universe” and “Circle World”.

Another source of energy that is “common” in the universe is the light energy sail. The earliest prototype of the light energy sail was the solar sail, which was amazed in Arthur Clark’s short story “Sailboat”. In 1984, physicist Worford proposed the idea of ​​laser-focused laser sails, which use solar-pumped lasers to generate stable energy to propel the spacecraft. If the output power of the laser is large enough, the laser sail-driven spacecraft can also reach the speed of light infinitely and save fuel. It can be said that laser sail technology is one of the most feasible space navigation technologies for human beings.

There are also some sci-fi writers who have opened up enough brain holes. For example, the black hole engine assumed based on Hawking radiation theory and the discovery of scientist Weller. In the sci-fi cartoon “Sapphire Puzzle”, there is also a annihilation engine based on the antimatter-propelled starship proposed by scientist Sanger in 1953. It can separate hydrogen nuclei in water and convert them into antiprotons. The two particles annihilate each other. Produce huge energy, and then use the energy exchanger to directly convert the quenching energy into electrical energy and kinetic energy.

In fact, most of these engines have not yet entered the specific experimental stage. The high technical barriers still do not know how long it will take to be overcome, but the greatest wealth of mankind is the imagination of a kaleidoscope that is so varied and far-reaching. Now you can enjoy the Xinghai in movies and cartoons, and the future human beings will start their lives in the vast space. Don’t forget, this time is very short on the scale of the universe.