Ion engines in Star Wars don’t work. Alternative?

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by Maximum7, Nov 28, 2019.

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  1. Nov 28, 2019 #1

    Maximum7

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    I am a lifelong Star Wars fan and I was heartbroken to discover that ion engines could NOT work both in the atmosphere of a planet and space; which is the bread and butter depiction of Star Wars. I have to assume that in the Star Wars universe; somehow, someway scientists figured out how to make Ion engines SSTO with science that we don’t have yet. That being said. Here is my question.

    Do you have an alternative atmosphere to space propulsion idea that people in Star Wars might be able to use as an upgrade to Ion engines 100 years from when the Sequel Trilogy movies end? I’m looking for something obscure. Not plasma, nuclear propulsion, solar sails or antimatter. Those all have their own problems. It needs to be able to transition from atmosphere to space and be more efficient than Ion engines. Whatever comes to your creative mind.
     
  2. Nov 28, 2019 #2

    Charles_McG

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    Do we get to mix fiction and reality like your starting post?

    How about magneto-hydrodynamic virtual turbine blades generated by power beamed from the ground?
     
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  3. Nov 28, 2019 #3

    dhbarr

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    It's a fantastic space opera, no doubt about that. Let's see --

    you need a derivative of a Bussard scoop on the front to preferentially harvest positively charged virtual particles from the quantum foam.

    This is, of course, less effective in a gaseous atmosphere due to having to reduce the field size in order to avoid straining your Titor compensators.

    Finally the thrust itself is generated by allowing both streams of particles to recombine AFTER they've been accelerated to about 0.3c

    All the this does assume you've got enough of a powerplant, and doesn't deal with translight folding.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2019 #4

    Funkworks

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    First, GL went to USC to study film-making, not engineering. His specialty, like everyone in the entertainment industry, is to fudge with our emotions. He redefined “parsec” just to make a great sounding movie line, so the same can be done with “ion”. Let’s not be muppets here.

    Second, X-Wings and the Falcon obviously use different engines in flight than they do when they’re taking off. So feel free to overrule the extended universe and add a few more bits of techno junk under those hoods. The number of different propulsion systems in there is not canon.
     
  5. Dec 6, 2019 #5

    BBowmaster

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    Ion engines would work in an atmosphere with enough power for high enough exhaust velocity. A pair of engines, twin ion engines you could say, could function like an aerospike rocket engine and produce even higher exhaust velocities.

    Perhaps that’s the reason TIEs don’t have an apparent exhaust; the velocity is SO high that it exceeds lightspeed temporarily so you can’t even see it. It doesn’t take much mass moving at 1.2c to generate a considerable “equal and opposite reaction.”
     
  6. Dec 6, 2019 #6

    emckee

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    Well...

    They obviously have harnessed artificial gravity in their ships, so why not put some of that technology to work to maneuver within gravity wells? Thus: Ion engines for space, gravitons for gravity wells. Just use the technology they already have (and apparently take so much for granted that nobody ever mentions it)...
     
  7. Dec 6, 2019 #7

    samb

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    Perhaps a bit off topic for a serious (;)) discussion of future tech but since 1985 my preferred propulsion system is 1.2 jigawatts and a flux capacitor.
     
  8. Dec 8, 2019 #8

    Alan15578

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    Nobody cares about the propulsive technobabble, as long as they sound great in space, err, on film. You can rave about the FTL, Hyperdrive, Warp, etc, but I like the Infinite Improbability Drive!
     
  9. Dec 8, 2019 #9

    BABAR

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    Heck with figuring out the propulsion,

    It seems the vast majority of Sci Fi space stories always have convenient artificial gravity.
     
  10. Dec 12, 2019 #10

    emckee

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    Have you read or watched The Expanse series? They've taken a more realistic look at space travel & "artificial gravity" or the lack thereof.

    Also a darned good read, IMHO.
     
  11. Dec 12, 2019 #11

    NateB

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    I just want to travel at ludicrous speed.
     
  12. Dec 12, 2019 #12

    Woody's Workshop

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    There's the spinning mercury generator. Testing in the mid 1940's yielded more towards time travel, though. Controlling it was sketchy at best.
    Would that be a ludicrous speed enough for ya?
     
  13. Dec 12, 2019 #13

    cerving

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    And the ion engines make a cool sound in space too...
     
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  14. Dec 12, 2019 #14

    NateB

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    It would, but I was aiming for a movie reference that parodied Star Wars.

     
  15. Dec 14, 2019 #15

    georgegassaway

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    I'm partial to Red Fuming Nukular Coal, myself.
     
  16. Dec 14, 2019 #16

    jlabrasca

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    Maybe not obscure, but forgotten and/or retconned

    Nth metal.
    [​IMG]

    or cavorite, or 8th ray buoyancy tanks, or a Swift Industries G-force Inverter, or a Zarkov counter-magnetic drive...
     
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