|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Aug 31, 2016 09:30 AM EDT|
(Photo : Charles Bombardier) Solar Express space train.
The incredibly inventive brain of Canadian Charles Bombardier, grandson of the man who invented the snowmobile, has developed "Solar Express," a space train concept for the fastest method of hauling large payloads of humans and cargo to anywhere in the solar system.
Once perfected, Solar Express should be capable of tearing through space at one percent the speed of light (93,000 kilometers per second), a feat not yet within the realm of any current technology. If and when this vehicle does reach this speed, it will mean a journey to the Moon in just over two hours; to Mars in 37 hours and to Neptune (the last planet in the solar system) in some 18 days.
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As Bombardier explained on his website promoting his ideas, "Solar Express is a space train that would be designed and used to ferry humans, supplies and minerals between celestial bodies and space stations in our solar system. It would run non-stop, so smaller vessels would need to catch the train when it passed by."
He explained most expensive portions of space travel are the acceleration and deceleration phases. The energy required for those portions is tremendous, especially for something as heavy as a space train.
It also means hauling cargo becomes very expensive. Once Space Express reaches its cruising speed, however, its energy consumption becomes minimal.
"That's the idea behind the Solar Express concept," said Bombardier. "It would never stop. Instead, space wagons and capsules would rendezvous with it."
In its physical configuration, Solar Express will take the form of a series of aligned cylinders. Each cylinder will have a length of at least 50 meters with one train consisting of six cylinders placed in a straight line. These cylinders will have four cargo bays and could be swapped in-flight with the help of maintenance robots.
The Solar Express first accelerate with rocket boosters and will also use the force of gravity to slingshot around planets or moons. Massive solar arrays located along the train's path will capture solar energy and transfer it by laser to supercapacitors on the train.
Water harvested from comets or small moons will be used for humans living on the train and transported to other stations. The harvested water could also be used to create hydrogen and propellant, but the main propulsion system should take the form of an ion thrusters.
The Solar Express will transport material, minerals, vessels and people living in sections under gravity. The train they won't suffer from acceleration or deceleration.
A large space city will rotate around the longitudinal axis and provide artificial gravity inside so humans could walk and live there during the long months of space travel to other planets.
An engineer, Charles Bombardier, 42, once worked for the family business, Bombardier, Inc., the Canadian multinational aerospace and transportation company and makers of the Bombardier aircraft.
To accomplish his goals as an industrial designer, Charles formed CharlesBombardier.com, a concept vehicle "factory" where new ideas are "built" and published weekly.
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