AIR Vents (part 4 of 3)
Exhalations from our readers
Thrust of the Argument
There was a considerable amount of discussion recently in mini-AIR regarding non-flammable rocket fuels. At first glance it appears that compressed-gas propulsion has some difficult problems when scaling to large rockets capable of launching people into orbit. However, these problems (weight of pressure vessel to contain gas, and loss of thrust as the pressure decreases) may be solved by generating the gas in situ. For example, one configuration of a methane engine may generate up to 200 pounds force of thrust. Thermodynamics suggests that an increase of 1 to 2 orders of magnitude of work may be obtained if an afterburner is employed. There is one drawback: the astronaut must consume a half-kilogram per second of very hot peppers.
Nuts, Please, Again
Did you receive my previous letter about the nut? Let me repeat myself. Like many of your readers, I have been following the saga of the nut for many years now. I dream about the nut. It has come to matter a good deal to me. I do not know why. I do not care why. Please, do not stop publishing details about the quarrel about the nut. I beg of you. Please.
© Copyright 2002 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
This HotAIR feature first appeared in AIR Volume 8
Issue 6. For a complete list of strangely fascinating featured articles
elsewhere on this web site, see What's New.