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Date: Around 1993


Question:
I recently had to design a space station for a project. I used a particle accelerator to produce thrust. What I would like to know is whether or not this idea, strange though it may be, is feasible.



Replies:
It is certainly feasible, at least in that it is something that could be used to provide thrust. I think something similar to this is the idea behind the so-called ion propulsion systems. Basically, the faster you can get your propellant going, the faster you can go, so particle accelerators would be great for getting up near the speed of light, for example. However, a key question is efficiency. In order to get anything up into space takes a lot of energy, and if your design is not too efficient, you would be wasting a lot of power.

A. Smith



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