×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A Space Cannon That Might Actually Work

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the whoooshing-sound dept.

Space 432

Unequivocal writes "Chalk another one up to Jules Verne. Physicist John Hunter is proposing a space cannon with a new design idea: it's mostly submerged. 'Many engineers have toyed with the [space cannon] concept, but nobody has came up with an actual project that may work. Hunter's idea is simple: Build a cannon near the equator, submerged in the ocean, hooked to a floating rig ... A system like this will cut launch costs from $5,000 per pound to only $250 per pound. It won't launch people into space because of the excessive acceleration, but those guys at the ISS can use it to order pizza and real ice cream.' Though it won't work on people, with launch costs that low, who cares?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

432 comments

We need more ideas such as this (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786252)

It'll always be more expensive to send people up, at least in the near term, but we will need to send up a lot of other things that could be done in unmanned launches using this or another innovative technology. Ideas such as this could work; it's merely an engineering problem at this point.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786432)

For most ideas, feasibility lay entirely on the hands of engineers.

For example, building a skyscraper 2km tall is merely an engineering problem. A space elevator is merely an engineering problem. A script to automatically discard redundant comments is merely an engineering problem.

Still, parent's comment is obviusly not discarded.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (4, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786460)

actually i would say a space elevator is a funding problem.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786480)

There are still a few engineering challenges left to making one though. For one thing we need a big counterweight, and the 'easiest' way to do that is to tow an asteroid into Earth orbit. I'd say building a space tug is an engineering challenge.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786626)

Engineering challenges can be solved easily.. building a space tug is a funding challenge... the funds and resources have not been allocated to pay engineers to work on it, and buy everything available they need :)

Re:We need more ideas such as this (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786672)

There is the little matter of finding something to make a space elevator out of. Nobody knows how to make a nanotube cable strong enough to do the job.

I guess that's more a materials science challenge than an engineering one, but it certainly hasn't proven to be easy to solve.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (-1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786686)

Have you seen that large white object in the sky, colloquially known as "the moon"? You could tether it to that...

As for this space-cannon, I would bet they would need to create a special pizza stabilizer to put into the box, or else I would guess the pizza sauce would wind up everywhere. And a stronger pizza box brace in the center.

Re:We need more ideas such as this (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786710)

Nope.. All we need is a big balloon with large negative mass.. and a bunch of regular balloons to hold the ribbon in place. like a big ladder ,, perhaps a stairway to heaven..

Well I thought the regular balloon thing was clever till I realized the length of the ribbon.

Storm

Re:We need more ideas such as this (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786768)

> do that is to tow an asteroid into Earth orbit.

Wouldn't the asteroid (or anything for that matter) have to be on a geostationary orbit ?

This at 36,000 km from Earth without regards for the mass of the object. In contrast, ISS orbit is only at around 340 km.

36,000 km would be a very long piece of rope. Heck the moon is "only" at 384,403 km ! ;-)

Re:We need more ideas such as this (3, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786834)

Most reputable materials folks I know still claim its a fundamental technology problem, not merely a funding one. While the expected stresses are nominally within what an ideal carbon nano-tube structure can handle, the purity required for that is well beyond what we can manufacture.

In order to feasibly build a space elevator, we would need much improved nano-technology. Not that I feel that its necessarily an idea-killer -- I'm not terribly knowledgeable on nanotech, but its one of those fields that always surprises me with how fast its going.

Duh, we bomb the shit out of those who have them.. (5, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786476)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Babylon [wikipedia.org]

Yes gents, Saddam Hussein could have given us cheap access to space ensuring new area of prosperity for mankind, and era of space colonization...and we killed him!

PS. If a supergun has a basic design similar to German V-3, it might be almost bearable to humans...

Ice cream? (2, Insightful)

Xamusk (702162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786276)

I wonder how ice cream would get after those accelerations

Re:Ice cream? (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786394)

Seeing as ice cream is an emulsion if it gets warm enough it could fractionate into a much less tasty brew. However, if you keep ice cream very, very cold, it shouldn't be terribly affected by the g-forces if packaged properly. The real problem is what to do with real ice cream in an environment like the ISS where real ice cream can cause problems by virtue of the fact that loose fluids and crumbs need to be kept at a minimum for various reasons.

Re:Ice cream? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786548)

Actually there is very little in the way of supplies that could handle that acceleration. Maybe freeze dried soup, maybe water, but very little else. You wouldn't dare send gasses, electronics, whole foods (even canned) or replacement parts.

The whole idea hinges on the un-compressibility of water, making the extra long cannon easier to construct, but if you've ever seen a depth charge explode you know that only works so far. It also mentions an increase of pressure of 500% which is no where near enough. Skuba tanks easily exceed that. Somebody dropped a zero.

Re:Ice cream? (1)

aaandre (526056) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786668)

Ship the ice cream in liquid form, then use liquid nitrogen to freeze it. Like at burningman. Mmmmmmm!

Re:Ice cream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786716)

Do a Google video search for Ron Jeremy. You'll get a pretty good idea.

The longer the gun, the lower the Gs. (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786854)

Make it long enough and it CAN launch people. (You'll need good streamlining to avoid nasty deceleration when it leaves the muzzle, though.)

The ocean is DEEP. Something that's roughly neutrally buoyant (i.e. a gun barrel supported by floats distributed along its length) needs to spend negligible structural strength supporting itself. (It only needs to be strong on any part that protrudes from the water - which might be a lot to avoid sinking it when it recoils.) You might want to put "helper combustion chambers" along it periodically to boost and smooth the acceleration if you want to launch live stuff though.

Also you can make it larger diameter and put sabots on the projectile while it's in the barrel to reduce the internal pressure variations or fire very dense loads. (Doesn't really help the materials strength issues, though, because the curvature lessens as diameter rises.)

Recoil? By being submerged it's an inside-out hydraulic shock absorber. B-)

Hunter should watch his back (5, Informative)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786280)

The last guy with a plan to build a super-cannon (a Canadian named Bull) did some work for Saddam Hussein. The Israelis didn't like that much, so they murdered him.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (-1, Troll)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786340)

If a Canadian was helping Iran with a ballistic weapon capable of hitting the US, i'd have no problem if my tax dollars went to the seal team that bagged him.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (1, Troll)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786522)

How about if the United States had "nucular" weapons within striking distance of Canada, would you have a problem with a Canadian team wiping him out?

Oh wait...

I guess there is a reason why half the presidents in this country are morally void (Yes I see the irony of calling new born christians morally void).

Re:Hunter should watch his back (1, Offtopic)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786684)

Iraq is the nation you're looking for. Saddam Hussein was President of Iraq.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (0, Offtopic)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786852)

Don't be so harsh, such error is now completely understandable; Iran is the new boogie man.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786406)

John Hunter: Note to self: Try to avoid working with Saddam Hussein.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786560)

Pretty easy since Saddam's dead.

Re:Hunter should watch his back (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786472)

A super cannon of this scale is unlikely to be useful to any non-superpower since the sheer scale of the device seriously limits its mobility. Limited mobility means it would be easy for an enemy to take the device out, assuming the enemy has superior air power.

So a weaponized version of this might benefit the US since they would be able to defend it, but for a country like Iran it would just be an expensive easy to hit target.

Say what? (0)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786290)

$250.00/lb. for pizza...delivered?

Free, if delivery takes more than 30 minutes...?

Re:Say what? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786458)

ISS Space Station Conversation to Dominos: ISS Space Station: Hello we'd like to place a order for delivery. Dominos: Ok can I have your phone #, Address. ISS Space Station: NASA's 1800 ##, Second Star on the Right. We will leave the light on. Dominos: Ok what would you like. ISS Space Station: Steak And Cheese Pizza and a 2 Liter of Coke Dominos: Ok but with your current address for delivery we have a minimum order of $500,000 ISS Space Station: Fuck me

I don't know about space (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786292)

I want to order pizza and ice cream on earth, delivered by cannon.

Re:I don't know about space (5, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786364)

I want to order pizza and ice cream on earth, delivered by cannon.

That's what ICBMs are for - Ice Cream Ballistic Missiles.

Re:on earth, delivered by cannon (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786760)

Pretty much anything delivered to your doorstep @ 13,000 mph will be indistinguishable from dog poop. Ya might as well opt for the latter since it's a helluva lot cheaper and can be delivered by the next door neighbor's mutt.

Now all we need... (0)

eepok (545733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786298)

... is a perfectly still part of the ocean with no wildlife and an entire supply system of ships to make sure everything goes right.

Re:Now all we need... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786330)

and no pirates.

yes it works on people (4, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786300)

it works on people, so long as they're already dead. Why does this matter? Because now I can get the Star Trek space-burial I always wanted!

Re:yes it works on people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786324)

It works on all people. It just has a side effect of making them dead. But it certainly can ship people as long as you don't mind that they are DOA. I've got several folks I wouldn't mind signing up for a one way trip...

avoid lifting unused propellant (4, Insightful)

DotDotSlashDot (1207864) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786302)

This subject line says it all when it comes to efficiently placing things in low earth orbit.

Google Tech Talks (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786304)

Here is an interesting "tech talk" at Google where John Hunter explains the workings of the cannon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IXYsDdPvbo

Re:Google Tech Talks (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786756)

It's so unfortunate that the press seems unwilling these days to dig even a *little* to get the story. Slashdot is linking to a blog, which is linking to Popular Science which is unwilling to even link to the company's website [quicklaunchinc.com] which has that tech talk embedded. It's like a 21st game of "telephone" and the message gets degraded at every retelling!

atmospheric stresses (4, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786342)

If you try to launch an object from the surface of the Earth using a "cannon" the projectile won't be doing anything other than decelerating throughout its flight and this means bringing the projectile to very high velocities where atmospheric heating and stresses become major problems. Then again, launch its self may be a problem as the Hydrogen propelling the projectile is detonating at an extremely high temperature and pressure. Small nitpick as well from TFA:

but those guys at the ISS can use it to order pizza and real ice cream.

A big reason space food is what it is instead of the Earthling food we're all accustomed to has to do with keeping the station reasonably clean and experiments doubly so. Crumbs and fluid loose in the station can cause problems.

Re:atmospheric stresses (4, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786376)

You could shoot a rocket from a cannon, meaning you'd need less fuel (meaning a smaller fuel tank, meaning even less fuel) to get it up to speed.

Re:atmospheric stresses (4, Funny)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786392)

I can't believe I actually said the words "you could shoot a rocket from a cannon" and was serious about it.

Re:atmospheric stresses (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786524)

Its not actually that preposterous. Some of the more advanced artillery shells are effectively rockets shot from cannons.

Re:atmospheric stresses (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786646)

Yes, but those things are meant to destroy things and be destroyed in the process.

Re:atmospheric stresses (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786528)

If you really want to see crazy go look up base bleed rocket artillery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_bleed They use a rocket merely because it can generate a lot of exhaust to fill the void in the back of an artillery shell so said shell can stay at a higher velocity longer. The rocket is NOT installed for its impetus. It is a rather elegant solution to the problem.

Re:atmospheric stresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786694)

I can't believe I actually said the words "you could shoot a rocket from a cannon" and was serious about it.

Yeah, you should learn to type without speaking the words out loud.

Re:atmospheric stresses (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786782)

You have to shoot a rocket from a canon anyway. If you don't, you just end up shooting yourself in the back. You can't put something in orbit solely with a gun.

Re:atmospheric stresses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786674)

>> but those guys at the ISS can use it to order pizza and real ice cream.

> Crumbs and fluid loose in the station can cause problems.

Will it blend? That is the question....

Hmmm... (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786348)

Since the business end is floating, one could assume that it could be moved. ie: you can aim it. Sure, you could put a pizza into orbit... or not quite.

"Nice, er... gun... you have there."

I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786352)

oh, never mind...

More proof that NASA was just a waste money! (1)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786378)

Government apologists love to point at things like the space program as an example of a government success... Humbug!

You can't argue the effectiveness of something (building pyramids, putting a man on the moon, etc) without considering return on investment - what benefit that project brought, and to whom. Only voluntary action (i.e. free market capitalism) can organize society in such a way as to do things at the right time, in the right place, in the right way, for the right reasons, with the right person in every position, with the right people paying for it, and with the right people reaping the benefits.

All of governments' so-called accomplishments in reality created nothing but economic waste, while its tax-victims in the free market would have used the money to do more timely things and opened up space (tourism, asteroid mining, risk-free nuclear power, manufacturing, etc) when it was cost-effective to do so, with a much better outcome overall.

Would make a lot of noise underwater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786398)

What would the noise do to sea creatures?

Not enough velocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786400)

To get to LEO, you need about 17,500 mph. The cannon provides 13,000 mph and the earth's orbital rotation provides about 1,000 mph. Where does the remaining 3,500 mph come from?

Re:Not enough velocity (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786486)

Indeed. Although you could use the cannon to bring cargo + rocket engine to 13,000+ mph and use the engine to bring the cargo to the required velocity. This is of course assuming that you could solve the problem of high atmospheric and launch stresses and design a light, simple and robust engine for the final stage of the projectile's flight.

Re:Not enough velocity (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786702)

Sigh, even if you could launch at that high velocity you still wouldn't get a circular orbit. The point of the cannon is to replace the first stage of a multi-stage rocket.

Please do watch the techtalk at http://quicklaunchinc.com/ [quicklaunchinc.com] all your questions and more are answered.

Forget about pizzas and ice cream, launch cubesats (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786410)

Why launch pizza and ice cream, which might not withstand the 5000 G acceleration when you can launch a bunch of cubesats or microsatellites. In fact there's a microsatellite(it's name escapes me) up there that's a web server. If you have some amateur radio equipment you can download and upload files to it. It can't store much, only enough for about an email or so. But with improvements in electronics it'll be possible to store even more data on a microsatellite. So eventually the Pirate Bay or Wikileaks or any other dubiously legal website might consider moving some of their servers 'to the stars.'

Re:Forget about pizzas and ice cream, launch cubes (2, Funny)

increment1 (1722312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786564)

I suppose it is a good a plan as any to get the RIAA to fund rail gun development.

Velocity (2, Informative)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786424)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 13,000mph isn't fast enough for any kind of stable orbit.

Re:Velocity (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786506)

Who says it has to be stable? It just has to get high enough for the ISS to snag it.

Re:Velocity (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786542)

I think the idea is that the canon doesn't provide a stable orbit, but instead the ability to get where the non-organic payload can then use its own thrusters to get into a proper orbit. Whether this would be enough or not to do that I'm not sure, IANAOMS

Re:Velocity (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786558)

If you could get through 99.99% of the earth's atmosphere your propulsion methods are much broader. If half your payload was fuel I imagine you could get to a higher orbit pretty easily.

Re:Velocity (1, Informative)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786590)

13,000 mph is a stable orbit at a height of 11803 kilometers [google.com]. That's a bit less than two Earth radii [google.com].

Re:Velocity (1)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786730)

So yeah if you shoot this gun from 12000km up, the projectile will be in a stable orbit...

Re:Velocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786770)

Exactly. You have to be already at 12,000 km from the centre of the earth in order to achieve earth orbit with 13,000 mph.

Re:Velocity (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786786)

Yes, after I RTFA'd it became clear that the 13000mph figure is likely a muzzle velocity. I am totally not going to guess at drag coefficients and do the integral to figure out what the actual delivery height and speed would be.

Re:Velocity (4, Interesting)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786736)

Min orbital velocity = 7.6 km/s
Earth Escape Velocity = 11.2 km/s

Funny coincidence, world record for hydrogen gun == 11.2 km/s

These guys plan to have the gun propel the projectile to 6.0 km/s, and then the projectiles themselves are rocket motors that will add an additional 3.0 km/s. That gives them enough acceleration to reach orbital velocity and take into account friction/gravity losses.

The reason they plan to limit the gun to 6.0 km/s is because that requires the hydrogen gas to only reach 1700 kelvin, which after taking into account heat exchange with the barrel, it ends up being a few hundred kelvin below the melting point of steel ( the barrel ).

Re:Velocity (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786810)

13,000 mph is plenty fast enough but you can't put something into a stable orbit with a gun. You need a booster on the projectile to circularize it's orbit anyway.

More wildly optimistic cost estimates (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786442)

I don't suppose the $250/lb launch costs include the build cost amortized over the lifetime of the system? Or the maintenance costs for that matter. The cost per pound on rockets includes those factors, and far too many people only work up the cost of electricity or whatever when working out the "launch cost" of one of these schemes.

In the end, once you've figured up the total cost of the system it's often more than just using rockets, even though rockets are so terribly inefficient.

Re:More wildly optimistic cost estimates (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786488)

If prices go from $5000/lb to $250/lb, demand for these launches will skyrocket (ha ha). If they launch often, maintenance and amortization costs can be shared by many clients, meaning they can keep the prices that low.

The launch costs might be based on an overly optimistic demand, though.

Re:More wildly optimistic cost estimates (2, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786574)

To fire it from a cannon the G force is going to be astronomically high. Very little is going to be able to survive that type of acceleration without massive damage. You could certainly fire a block of metal that fast without worry that it's ruined (though it will likely deform) but you put a 2 billion satellite in that and it's going to be absolutely destroyed by the acceleration. Even with a conventional rocket they spend several million dollars packing and testing the container the satellite is shoved into to make sure the vibration and acceleration won't damage the bird during launch.

Now you might be able to use this to build a large space station in orbit if you build everything in orbit including forging every piece because you could use this to blast up the raw materials but in reality it's not going to be launching anything but raw materials due to the acceleration. Once you exceed a certain amount of G's and nothing mechanical or electrical can survive it without being damaged or destroyed. Rapid acceleration doesn't just damage living organisms, it can destroy almost anything.

Re:More wildly optimistic cost estimates (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786594)

For bulk supplies it would be wonderful. Also, tricks like suspending more delicate components in a semi liquid gel can greatly ameleorate the effects of the rapid accelleration. A lot of raw materials, supplies, and even components for spacecraft could most likely be boosted to orbit by a 'cannon' or some type of mass driver.

Re:More wildly optimistic cost estimates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786722)

yeah, raw materials, but how cheaply!!! imagine fuel shot up to space for a voyage to the moon, mars or jupiter! It's amazing! Satellite refueling service in space! It would make a lot of satellites more cost effective. And there we have the construction of a giant orbital station with construction materials pre-fabed ;] With the right packaging they could withstand almost any G-force that doesn't destroy molecular structure ;P Even satellites don't necessarily have to miss the train. If you have a "assembler" in orbit a certain package of parts can easily become a real satellite in orbit no problem. That's the beauty of cheap - it lets you maneuver more; you don't have to be elegant anymore :D

Re:More wildly optimistic cost estimates (5, Informative)

malakai (136531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786628)

10 mins into the Google Tech Talk he gives a slide with the amortization cost per lb. About 20 mins in, he breaks the project up into phases and costs needed to complete each phase.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IXYsDdPvbo [youtube.com]
It's worth watching the video for more info on G-Force hardening, Hydrogen re-capture, per-lb cost and project milestone/costs.

James Bond (1)

Heshler (1191623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786462)

This rig is where the final fight scene in the next James Bond movie will occur, and you can guess how it might end.

one pizza to go. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786510)

Would you like fries with that?

Launching people (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786530)

Though it won't work on people...

I'm sure it would launch people just fine.

Terrible article (5, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786562)

Wow, that article is horrid. They don't even mention Hunter's startup company: Quicklaunch [quicklaunchinc.com]. On that page you'll find his Google Tech Talk on the subject which answers many of the questions that people are asking here.

To be clear (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786620)

It will work on people. It's just that people won't be people if they try. But with that said, I am pretty sure there could be a way. I wonder what would happen if people were heavily pressurized and completely surrounded by liquid? Not so sure they should completely give up on the idea.

It's interesting but.. (1)

Some1too (1242900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786622)

I'd be curious to see how deep the cannon needs to be. Being at the equator you'd also have to ship the 'merchandise' to it and then find a way to load it into the cannon. I can't image it would be trivial to load this cannon. Simply dropping it down the canon itself would be one personality. I'm also very curious how the necessary energy would be created to fire this container. I'm all for anything that helps open up the travel off this rock but the one provided link is a little slim on details.

Construction materials (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786630)

Replacement/bigger ISS or a couple of space elevators could be easier to be built up there if the materials are already available.and is somewhat cheap to get them there.

Space Junk (1)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786634)

With the cost to entry being so high right now, and seeing how orbit has been treated mostly as a trash can, I'm not sure we need it being MORE accessible to just anyone...then again, maybe with launches so cheap, they could afford to launch some kind of clean-up vehicles now.

Just filling in some numbers (1)

viking80 (697716) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786718)

From TFA, it might be about 1km long. It could possibly be a few times longer given depth of oceans. In any case, to get 10km/s, a=50,000ms^-2. and E=25GJ.
So icecream and pizza would certainly get all air pressed out of it. But more challenging would be the launch system. Pressure would be 125MPa or 1250Bar. The fuel will have about 25kJ/Kg@10%efficiency for at total of 1000 tonnes.
If the steel tube d=0.5m, wall thickness would need to be at least 0.5m, so the barrel wold be about 12,500 tonnes excluding stiffening support. That's more than the Eiffel tower.

What do you mean "Who cares?" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30786732)

What do you mean "Who cares?", I have several people I would like to launch into space cheaply. This product completely misses my needs.

What about electromagnetic propulsion? (1)

ancientt (569920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786788)

A whole lot of this makes sense, and I like the Google Talk [youtube.com] on the topic. I haven't finished it yet, but have a question I haven't seen answered and would like feedback on, why isn't electromagnetic propulsion being considered? The US Navy is looking for railguns [wikipedia.org] to deliver close to 13,000 mph from a ship mounted gun.

Re:What about electromagnetic propulsion? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786828)

The question is answered in the tech talk... finish watching it.

Cheaper (2, Interesting)

cntThnkofAname (1572875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30786796)

I suspect if this works flawlessly, IF, that space flight in general will be a lot cheaper (even for humans). The big reason for the space shuttle is that it can carry massive amounts cargo with the benefit of people as well. With a cannon that can blast cargo up to orbit, NASA can utilize something like the X prize [wikipedia.org] winners.

Commercial space flight here I come!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...