1km-long underwater cannon could power next Moon or Mars landing
Washington, January 29 (ANI): A scientist has come up with an idea of developing a 1-kilometer-long underwater cannon that could power the next Moon or Mars landing.
According to a report by Fox News, Dr. John Hopkins, a physicist who once worked at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in the US, has proposed the idea.
He suggests making a massive, kilometer-long cannon powered by hydrogen, submerged below the surface of the ocean.
A conceptual drawing of the space cannon shows how the device will accelerate its payload at speeds of up to 11km per second, or roughly 25,000 miles per hour, from underwater.
This is the sort of device Jules Verne wrote about in 1865 in his novel "From the Earth to the Moon".
Such a cannon could solve a nagging problem at NASA: how to send manned missions to the moon and Mars at a lower fuel price.
Currently, it costs thousands of dollars per pound of fuel to launch stuff into space.
Hopkins' cannon could reduce that price to a few hundred dollars per pound.
That savings could be very lucrative to the person who made it happen, which is why Hopkins created and is drumming up support for Quicklaunch Inc., which he hopes will launch payloads into space within the next five years.
The basic concept behind a space cannon is that a hydrogen explosion shoots the payload.
But first, Hopkins is concentrating on delivering rocket fuel up the lengthy tube.
The tube's mouth sits just above the surface of the water, and when the payload emerges, it's aimed directly into outer space.
Re-positioning an underwater cannon would be easier than moving one on land, and the sonic boom would be nearly eliminated due to a concept called impedance mismatch, which predicts that over 90 percent of the explosion's ear-deafening sound would be reflected into the atmosphere.
"It's a very simple idea in principal," Hopkins told FoxNews.com. "Hydrogen has a low molecular weight, so it can launch things much faster than ordinary guns can," he said.
The space cannon would allow NASA and other space agencies to send fuel for future space missions directly into space, where spacecraft could fuel up at dramatically lower costs.
In the future, according to Hopkins, colonization of the moon might mean sending 100 people at a time or more.
"I think the space cannon idea could be developed into a reliable and low-cost method of placing small payloads into orbit," science-fiction author Ben Bova told FoxNews.com. (ANI)