Technology has leaped to all sorts of spheres and theories of physics have found route to realism through paper and graphics. The bending however has been quite liberal towards forms we could use to commute in a while from now. While lasers have been propounded as useful entities in just about all possible forms, transportation has been eluded thus. Yes, the likes of the WaveRider have been tested to beat speed of sound by about six times, yet laser-propelled engines have only been hypothetical blessings featured for the cause of the mankind.
Laser-propelled Lighcraft by Leik Myrabo (interview), is perhaps the first entrant that’s tapping lasers to beam itself skywards. Lightcraft's laser propelled engine is undergoing hypersonic shock tunnel tests in Brazil’s Henry T. Nagamatsu Laboratory of Hypersonics and Aerothermodynamics. Here experts are firmly understanding the laws of refined physics behind heating airspikes with lasers and propelling engines with the same to reach the future of travel, which rests in the ultra-fast, ultrasonic crafts.
Potentials of laser propulsion
Paving a whole new dimension to the way we commute today, the craft with a parabolic mirror in the rear will be heated by pulsing laser beams capable of heating the air to about 5 times the sun's temperature, in way of a mini- explosions, good enough to take us on transcontinental and orbital rides in under an hour.
An outlook quite ironic
The laser-propelled testing of the Lightcraft very outrightly suggests it as the highest-powered laser propulsion experiment ever performed. Though it isn’t the first testing, as Lightcraft prototypes have been experimented with before, but with access to hypersonic shock tunnel that can simulate airstreams reaching Mach 25, and a funding from the United States Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force, Myrabo and his Lightcraft project of a viable future of success.
While Virgin Galactic's Space Plane is only learning how to take us into space, commercially – laser-propelled aircrafts, if successfully made, could just put it and other projects like it obsolete, and beam us humans and cargo into space, just in a blink of an eye. I am game for the moon!