RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 140,049
Posts: 5,431,055
Members: 24,926
Currently online: 472
Newest member: In_Correct

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: Chrysalis
By: Michelle on Oct 18

The Next Generation Season Seven Blu-ray Details
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

CBS Launches Streaming Service
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Yelchin In New Indie Thriller
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Saldana In The Book of Life
By: T'Bonz on Oct 17

Cracked’s New Sci-Fi Satire
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

Beltran Introduces Shakespeare To Theater Group
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

Burton To Be Honored at Facets Boo! Bash
By: T'Bonz on Oct 16

New Trek Puzzles
By: T'Bonz on Oct 15

Star Trek Online: Delta Rising
By: T'Bonz on Oct 15


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science and Technology

Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 25 2014, 06:58 PM   #1
Into Darkness
Captain
 
Into Darkness's Avatar
 
Location: The United Republic
Monorail In Space

Imagine we built a railway line in space, ok let's think more along the lines of a magnetic monorail. You have a start point and an end point. The start point and end point are 5 lightyears in distance.
You sit on a rail carriage on the mono-spacerail and it's powered by let's say a huge fusion reactor or maybe a solar dyson sphere around a star. Power is not a problem.
How fast theoretically could that carriage reach on that rail? would there even be a limit? would a point come as it got faster where it's mass increase would make it impossible to go any faster?
Into Darkness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25 2014, 07:01 PM   #2
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: Monorail In Space

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Imagine we built a railway line in space, ok let's think more along the lines of a magnetic monorail. You have a start point and an end point. The start point and end point are 5 lightyears in distance.
You sit on a rail carriage on the mono-spacerail and it's powered by let's say a huge fusion reactor or maybe a solar dyson sphere around a star. Power is not a problem.
How fast theoretically could that carriage reach on that rail? would there even be a limit? would a point come as it got faster where it's mass increase would make it impossible to go any faster?
Speed of light?
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 25 2014, 07:48 PM   #3
Metryq
Captain
 
Metryq's Avatar
 
Re: Monorail In Space

I'm assuming the point of this hypothetical monorail (maglev?) is to remove the limitation of carrying fuel and paying its penalty mass. That is the point behind beamed energy starships, such as laser sails, and the Bussard ramjet.

Building a lightyears-long rail is absurd, but we'll take it in the spirit in which it was suggested. That makes the rail our new "medium." If we let the train ignore Einstein for now (gasp!) that makes the speed limit of the train the wave speed of the medium. Off hand, I do not know the speed of the impulse in a maglev rail, but it must be under the speed of light. (Electrons in a wire move at mere meters per hour, but the electric field outside the wire travels at close to the speed of light.)

Imagine that the train is a prop-driven plane in level flight. It can approach the speed of sound, but never exceed it. The plane's "mass" is not increasing, but the effect is the same as that described by Special Relativity for a starship approaching the speed of light. The plane is limited by the wave speed of the medium (the air). Now, if the plane had a jet engine...
__________________
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 04:38 AM   #4
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Monorail In Space

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
How fast theoretically could that carriage reach on that rail?
Very.

would there even be a limit?
Yes.

would a point come as it got faster where it's mass increase would make it impossible to go any faster?
No.

These answers are exactly as specific as the scenario. I could be more specific if I knew what the rail was made of and/or what the engine is.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 05:17 AM   #5
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Monorail In Space

Assume the rail is made of pasta and the power source is hot marinara sauce.
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 11:45 AM   #6
Metryq
Captain
 
Metryq's Avatar
 
Re: Monorail In Space

gturner wrote: View Post
Assume the rail is made of pasta and the power source is hot marinara sauce.
In that case, the speed approaching the table is much faster than the waddle away from the table (Urp!) due to increased mass.
__________________
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 01:31 PM   #7
Into Darkness
Captain
 
Into Darkness's Avatar
 
Location: The United Republic
Re: Monorail In Space

Use whatever statistics for it you want. The rail can be made of adamantium for all I care, I just want to determine if there is a speed limit in space for a magnetically accelerated carriage (maglev).

You see with rockets you have the problem of carrying fuel and I imagine there's a limit to the amount of thrust can be produced because the engine would need to continually be made bigger.

So what I'm doing is trying to make the power source and propelling force external leaving just the carriage to travel to light speed.

So I want to know, if the power source could use as much juice as it needs and the maglev rail could generate a field as powerful as it needs to, does that carriage have a limit to how fast it can travel?

Could a carriage in space be propelled on a maglev style rail to the speed of light or nowhere near it?
Into Darkness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 02:33 PM   #8
Alidar Jarok
Everything in moderation but moderation
 
Alidar Jarok's Avatar
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
Re: Monorail In Space

This seems a good question for: What if XKCD

It seems, no matter what, there would be friction and energy costs (and costs to transport the energy over large distances). But it does at least deal with the problem of needing fuel to cover the cost of the fuel you're carrying. It just has other practical problems instead.
__________________
When on Romulus, Do as the Romulans
Alidar Jarok is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 04:57 PM   #9
scotthm
Rear Admiral
 
Location: USA
Re: Monorail In Space

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Use whatever statistics for it you want. The rail can be made of adamantium for all I care, I just want to determine if there is a speed limit in space for a magnetically accelerated carriage (maglev).
Yes, the speed limit in space for magnetic railcars is 299,792,457 m/s. I don't know when the law was passed.

---------------
scotthm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 08:39 PM   #10
RobertVA
Fleet Captain
 
RobertVA's Avatar
 
Location: Virginia USA
Re: Monorail In Space

scotthm wrote: View Post
Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Use whatever statistics for it you want. The rail can be made of adamantium for all I care, I just want to determine if there is a speed limit in space for a magnetically accelerated carriage (maglev).
Yes, the speed limit in space for magnetic railcars is 299,792,457 m/s. I don't know when the law was passed.

---------------
Nearly 14 Billion years ago would be my guess
RobertVA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 26 2014, 10:33 PM   #11
Metryq
Captain
 
Metryq's Avatar
 
Re: Monorail In Space

scotthm wrote: View Post
Yes, the speed limit in space for magnetic railcars is 299,792,457 m/s. I don't know when the law was passed.
RobertVA wrote: View Post
Nearly 14 Billion years ago would be my guess
Right. The universal speed of light limit was passed with the Big Bang miracle, conveniently suspended for Guth's inflation (a brief burst of dark energy no doubt), then immediately reinstated.
__________________
"No, I better not look. I just might be in there."
—Foghorn Leghorn, Little Boy Boo
Metryq is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27 2014, 12:37 AM   #12
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: Monorail In Space

I'm thinking that by the time your interstellar rail line is extended to a nearby star, your construction crew is already there so why bother sending a train down the line?
gturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27 2014, 06:24 PM   #13
Crazy Eddie
Rear Admiral
 
Crazy Eddie's Avatar
 
Location: I'm in your ___, ___ing your ___
Re: Monorail In Space

Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Use whatever statistics for it you want. The rail can be made of adamantium for all I care, I just want to determine if there is a speed limit in space for a magnetically accelerated carriage (maglev).
The speed limit is function of the amount of mechanical stress your rail system can handle before the magnetic interface between the rail and the carriage tears it apart. That depends on what the rail (and for that matter, the magnets) are made of.

So I want to know, if the power source could use as much juice as it needs and the maglev rail could generate a field as powerful as it needs to, does that carriage have a limit to how fast it can travel?
Yes.

Could a carriage in space be propelled on a maglev style rail to the speed of light or nowhere near it?
Yes.
__________________
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Starfleet - Online Now!
Crazy Eddie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1 2014, 09:17 PM   #14
publiusr
Commodore
 
Re: Monorail In Space

The closest you will ever get to that is if we find a cosmic string. Move near it, and maybe the speed of light changes according to some

http://www.thescienceforum.com/astro...ogy-print.html

Here is a strnae for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorton
publiusr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:55 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.