Sunday, January 17, 2016

Do TIE Fighters Really Work?

Due to the renewed hype about Star Wars, and me being a BIG fan of the series, I was inspired by a Nerdist video on youtube, about how we have TIE Fighters today. A TIE Fighter actually stands for Twin Ion Engine. I guess it also doubles as just a tie, because a TIE Fighter does look like a bowtie. Nerdist explains the basic physics of an ion cannon, a cannon that shoots charged ions in a certain direction to propel something in another, and that they would be extremely inefficient in the real world, because it would take too long to get to a velocity where we would be able to go between planets and moons. I would agree with him, but what I got from the video was that the engine would only be shooting one ion atom at a time. However, what if it was shooting more than one, perhaps 1000? The solar panels on the wings of the TIE fighter would provide constant charge, and 1000 atoms at a time, perhaps 1000 atoms/microsecond, and launched the ship at an initial velocity of 5000 mph. The non existent resistance would keep the moving at the same velocity, and the dual engines would actually make 1000 atoms be 2000 atoms/microsecond, proving to be extremely fast, although small. In the vacuum of space, however, there really is negligible deceleration, because although a gravitational force is constantly acting on it, it would be so far away the TIE fighter wouldn't even move an atom as a result of it. Thus, since the constant supply of charge, and an enormous amount of atoms, we could potentially create a working TIE Fighter just like the ones in the Star Wars universe. You may be asking, but this is in space, what about over a planet like Earth where gravity is strong and cannot be thrown out of the picture? Well, in given time we may have that.

Where there is gravity, there is some sort of air, granted sometimes not enough to have a proper atmosphere (e.g. Mercury), but when we launch satellites into space, there is an escape velocity in which they travel to keep them from crashing down out of orbit. We could potentially calculate that velocity down closer to the ground, then use the ion cannons to suspend it at the certain elevations. The amount of atoms launched could be massive on a planet like Earth, where there are countless atoms in the atmosphere. The ion cannons could proportionally launch one 1,000,000,000,000 atoms a micro second per cannon to suspend the ship, the solar panels would provide a charge, and perhaps an external vacuum could continue to collect more and more atoms.

This is still far in the future, where we still have to launch these TIE Fighters at phenomenal velocities, but in a more than distant future, we may have the TIE Fighters that the Empire and First Order had a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.