Monday, September 21, 2009

Carnival of Space #121

Check out the latest Carnival of Space over at Next Big Future. Lots of interesting stuff, but as an optical engineer and space cadet, I was especially interested in the Centauri Dreams post "Lightcraft: A Laser Push to Orbit." To orbit? I've read about ideas like using lasers to push light sails for interplanetary or even interstellar propulsion (which figures in a number of SF stories, including Encounter with Tiber by John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin). But using lasers for propulsion in the atmosphere is a new one for me (and the atmosphere itself plays an important role). What a great application of optics and plasma physics (among other things).

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