Solar Sail Craft Need Laminated Mouse Brains

Navigation computers for spacecraft with solar sails will need to consider relativistic effects, according to a new paper published by Roman Ya. Kezerashvili and Justin F. Vazquez-Poritz.

Responding to an increasing demand for navigational accuracy, we consider a number of general relativistic effects on the escape trajectories of solar sails. For missions as far as 2,550 AU, these effects can deflect a solar sail by as much as one million kilometers. We also find that frame dragging due to the slow rotation of the sun can deflect a solar sail by more than one thousand kilometers.

For example, a solar sail deployed at 0.01 AU (astronomical units - about 93 million miles) can be deflected due to the curvature of spacetime near the sun, while the kinematic effects of special relativity contribute to a lesser degree. Lesser effects include redshifting of sunlight and the slowing down of the passage of time near the sun.

Obviously, we're going to need a very fast and competent computer to act as the pilot - and for that, we're going to need laminated mouse brains.

In his 1962 classic Think Blue, Count Two, Cordwainer Smith writes about special computing devices for solar sail craft on long voyages between the stars.

...Tiga-belax came in, very cheerful indeed... In his right hand there was a black plastic cube wih shimmering contact-points gleaming on its sides. The two technicians greeted him politely.

"I've got that beautiful child taken care of... I've used a mouse-brain."

"If it's frozen," said the first technician, "we won't be able to put in the computer..."

"This brain isn't frozen," said Tiga-belas indignantly. "It's been laminated. We stiffened it with celluprime and then we veneered it down, about seven thousand layers. Each one has plastic of at least two molecules thickness. This mouse can't spoil. As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever. He won't think much, unless we put the voltage on him, but he'll think. And he can't spoil..."


(Rat brain cells form organized clusters - a brain chip)

As it turns out, scientists are hard at work creating brain chips with real brains; see Brain Chips With Uniform Self-Organized Neurons for more information.

From MITs Technology Review blog and the original paper Escape Trajectories of Solar Sails and General Relativity.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/21/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.' - Michael Swanwick, 2002.

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Autonomous 'Fiberbots' Weave Large Structures
'It extrudes material like a spider.' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.' - Robert Heinlein, 1939.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'

FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'

Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'

ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'

MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'

Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.'

SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'

Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'

Moving Whole Planets, Revisited
There was a lot of work done on this idea over the years.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...'

Farming In Space Starts With Mycorrhiza
'The inner leaves were beginning to curl faster than the outer leaves.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.