Monday, March 30, 2020

The Price is Right: the cost of starships

Enzmann Starship Torch Class, painting by David Hardy 2010

Creeping, crawling, toddling, walking - or is it sprinting - technology. In the late 1950's and 1960's it would have cost about 100 billion dollars to build a manned starship. In the 1970's, I estimate a larger, much better equipped, faster and more comfortable manned starship would have cost 100 billion american dollars - and this is in spite of inflation. I estimate that the cost of a ship will remain at 100 billion  through the 1980's and even through the 1990's, with continued inflation the cost will remain at about 100 billion dollars for the first manned (of reasonable size) starship.

The technology available to the people of Earth isn't creeping ahead, it is Sprinting! The predicted catastrophic famine, megadeaths, resource and energy exhaustion for the 1970's was an ill-tempered fantasy. What really happened was an increase in life expectancy of about 1.2 years/per year in the 3rd and 4th worlds, coupled with dramatic decreases in disease, and upward surges in standards of living ranging from 500% to better than 2000% for some.

Technology in the so-called western and eastern worlds is growing explosively and includes; better transportation. power, communications, computers, robots, even cheaper food and clothes; and dear-to-my-heart space technology.

Almost unnoticed
Almost unnoticed , all the infrastructure needed to support interstellar expeditions is being built and emplaced. Manifestly unnoticed is the building here on Earth of every sub-system needed for a starship. In the very near future the components will be put together, manned, launched, and mankind will move out to fulfill his truly manifest destiny.

NOT science fiction, by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann

Echolance Graphic by Edwin Pangman, Enzmann Starship Engineer. 

Provided by Foundation for Research of the Enzmann Archive, Inc. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Notes on Engineering Goals of Starship Designers

Distinctiveness of starship travel:

1. Perception that it is possible, such as was with flying, radio, water pipes, and telegraph.

2. ISP specific impulse demand fission, fusion, or devolution of matter and the conversion these energies into momentum

3. Either a long trip on a slow boat, or a long-passage on a fast ship. There is no escape. Starfilight is unique in that, unlike travel across the Earth (which in the writer's time shortened from six weeks to cross overland from Manchuria to Poland on a very pleasant train, to hours on a jet) travel cannot be equaled for travelers between stars. Starflight is extraordinarily unique in that: time for the traveler can be shortened. This is the nature of the long-passage.

The possibility of (FTL) faster than light ships would end both long trips and long passages.

4. Self-sufficiency and true independence, not just ideally but quite necessarily, must be attained. If this is not so a ship might reach its destination only to be marooned for generations.

5. Motivation to go: Profits - commercial, information, entertainment. Power - possibility of a nation being itself, developing itself, throwing off shackles of superpowers, of international organizations. Freedom - of religion, of regulation of all aspects of life, to be an ethnic group, to develop science. Adventure - self explanatory.  Immortality - of the long-passage travelers.


1. Political hostility of those in power. Contending strongly for power. Planning confidently to gain power over other people.

2. Hostility toward gains in wealth, in education, in access to utilities of all middle and lower classes.

3. Ignorance of possibility or feasibility of profits. Credibility in non-existent hazards and costs. That a spectrum of options exists when it does not.


1. Long trips from the solar system are possible with a combination of chemical fuels. Gravity sling, and gradient boost. Velocities of about 1000 or even more per second can be imagined costing a traveler about 180 years per light year traversed.

2. Abbreviated long trips and perhaps even long passages could be accomplished with fixed first stage propulsion. The concept of driving interstellar sailing ships with lasers as considered by Philip Norem (1969)  and Robert Forward as either the primary method of propulsion or an auxiliary means of propulsion.

3. Long passage departures from the solar system with technology that exists or can very reasonably be expected to be available in the immediate future must rely on fission, fission-fusion, and fusion power. An unmanned interstellar probe could have been built and launched int eh 1970's. I have the rankling personal impression that all such work was stopped, all  media coverage ended or turned deceptively negative, and all engineering enthusiasts were driven out of the profession by massive opposition coming from "liberal" academicians, the "liberal" media, "liberal" politicians, "liberal" sources, "siphoning" of funds, and "liberal" activists leading street mobs.

4. Acceleration with and without stress by G-force. Acceleration out of a gravity well. Acceleration against the inertial continuum: how much force should be endured by the body? Can  a person be placed in a liquid filled suit? Can his lungs be filled with liquid? Even cells have their limits; at 100,000 G, components of cells - RNA, ribosomes, mitochondria, etc.- separate. Suppose the cells were rotated in a 100,000 G centrifuge; that would be equivalent to an acceleration of 3,200,000 ft/sec, or about 640 miles/sec, which, if applied linearly, would bring a particle to the velocity of light in an hour. Gravitational slings may be used to accelerate or decelerate masses.

Gradient boost, I believe first considered by Hermann Oberth of Transylvania ca 1925, makes it possible to exploit the divergence of the solar gravitational field  by developing an approach, then a recessional hyperbolic path relative to the sun. The physics of the maneuver is quite subtle, and as difficult to grasp as the Newtonian principle of action-reaction (usually appreciated only as an incantation).

Warping of space to accelerate masses is mentioned by powers, Robert M 1981 "The Coattails of God - the Ultimate Spaceflight - the trip to the Stars" (Pub. Warner Books. He only mentions it, he does not advocate it.) I consider talk of warping space, and the frantically relativistic algebras purporting to derive the Lorentz equations (written by Voigt years earlier) as patent nonsense. I offer my trivially simple derivation which treats the temporal effects as a consequence of aberration. I intuitively suspect it was known the to Greeks ca 400 BC, for they talk "that way".

"Stargates" in a star cluster especially one with white dwarf stars, and most wonderfully where small dense stars are  in close orbits with one another. Extra ordinary accelerations are possible in very short times: this is accomplished by using combine sling accelerations and at the same time gradient accelerations. This might, for example, make it possible to conduct trade and organize migrations between globular clusters.

Liquid-filled space suites, including a filling of the occupants lungs with oxygen-rich "artificial blood," could make it possible for humans to endure the force for many days. At 10 G, near light speeds can be reached in about a month. At 100 G, near light speeds can be reached in about 4 days.

Faster than light speeds are in no way mysteriously precluded by "Einstein's alleged equations,"  the entire content of so-called special relativity is the so-called Lorentz equations. It is about time that someone spoke out concerning relativity.  One gains the impression that Einstein was much abused for his views Nothing could be further from the truth. He received support in the form of a tidal wave of publicity, and that publicity has never ceased to flow.


Stark Draper, my guest at the N. Y. A., considered guidance of interstellar ships. Dr. Taylor and others considered the Orion vehicle. It is very interesting to consider the ambiguous results of the experiment suggested by Maxwell then performed by Michelson and Morley. One diagram suggests that the results are ambiguous because: Aberration and beam-topple cancel the geometric effect. While the time effect is cancelled by the Voigt-Lorentz description of aberration. Doppler of approach cancels Doppler of recession.

THE ABOVE article is only part of the massive amount of material written by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann and Joanna Enzmann which has been entrusted to FREA for publication. - Michelle Snyder, VP FREA

Provided by the Foundation for Research of the Enzmann Archive, Inc. FREA. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Notes on air and water

Recycling the Circulating Air

It is most important to control an atmosphere. Without air men die quickly. Perhaps the simplest way of proportioning O2 and CO2 is through plants. About 60 ft of leaves are needed to convert one human’s CO2 exhalations into O2 and Carbon in a plant’s tissues.


Illumination at the correct wavelength and of sufficient intensity is needed to cause plants to “inhale” CO2 through their stoma, and exhale O2. One of the most important mini-factories on the ship would manufacture and/or refurbish light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and such.

Recycling and purifying the circulating water

Filtering, clathrating (as with zeolites), evaporation of distillation, then finally filter cleaning and zeolite reactivation should suffice to keep drinking, cooking, washing, toilet, and other circulating waters sweet and clean.

Plants can enter the cycle by digesting mineral residue left after water, or watery substances, are respectively distilled or heated to dry ash.

Thermal and or electrical energy is needed to recycle water. It would be abundant – indeed – overly abundantly available.

Recycling of human, animal, and plant wastes or remains

Recycling of wastes and remains may be accomplished by a combination of bacterial digestion or thermal incineration. In both cases the remains would be fed to plants.

In the case in which all plants died catastrophically waste could be in incinerated and the ash stored, and/or dumped.

Food could be plentifully available as garden products including carrots, radishes, potatoes, beans, peas, lettuce, bonzi, lemons, oranges, lines, pears, apples, potatoes, rye, wheat, sorgum, barley, rabbits, chickens, catfish, snails, shrimp, and octopus.

Raising the food, maintaining seed stocks, caring for special plants such as bonzi citrus groves, would be hard, painstaking work, But perhaps rewarding for a lonely voyager.

Space to live in

Space would not only be ample for the retired explorer-engineer on a one-way retirement mission to the stars, it should, and certainly would be, interestingly comfortable. Somehow a frank Lloyd Wright of architectural layout and interior decorating will appear among humankind’s legions of skilled educated people who will design such quarters as a labor of love.

A sphere of 30 feet in diameter would accommodate four decks. This would be a vast region for a lone person.

Footnotes: CO2 (carbon dioxide) will be scrubbed out of the habitats atmosphere chemically as is done on Trident submarines. Hopefully the green plants will make the use of scrubbing unnecessary, and ideally the scrubbers will forever be on standby.