I have a dilemma. I'd set up a ship (it's a couple of centuries old) as an Ion drive ship and now my brain is exhausted trying to recall what would be faster. I think FTL is the way to go but what about the mechanics of it should I need to explain the newest ship in the fleet? This new, super sleek ship will be my protagonist's ride when she's not hopping in and out of the past. (It is not the Waverider, so it won't be going through time with her. It gets her from place to place in the present.)


closed as unclear what you're asking by Renan, L.Dutch, Bellerophon, Frostfyre, ShadoCat Mar 8 '18 at 18:24

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  • $\begingroup$ Is FTL possible in your universe? Because obviously that will be faster. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Mar 8 '18 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ Asking what kind of drive makes a vehicle faster makes no sense unless we have more data to work with. For example, steam cars nowadays may reach over 100 miles per hour, while a diesel bucket-wheel excavator is not be able to reach 0.7 miles per hour. $\endgroup$ – Renan Mar 8 '18 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Since FTL is impossible, use what every other SF story uses: technobabble. Whether it's warp drives, jump gates, worm holes, tachyon drives, etc, just make something up. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 8 '18 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Nikki, Alcubierre Drive. Check it out. $\endgroup$ – Len Mar 8 '18 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Len A friend mentioned Alcubierre Drive. I'll read more about that. I really just need the info for my info. I don't plan on mentioning the details other than maybe a naming the darn thing. Samuel, Why wouldn't FTL be possible? RohJohn, Hoping to avoid technobabble but, yeah that may be what it comes down to. Thanks guys! $\endgroup$ – Nikki Mar 8 '18 at 20:58

MPD (Magnetoplasmadynamic) thrusters could potentially be faster than ion thrusters because, in theory, they would produce extremely high specific impulses and propel your ship up to about 110000 m/s, which is around three times the top speed of current xenon-based ion thruster systems.

They would also drastically increase the fuel efficiency of sharp delta-v maneuvers.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the source. It should be noted that in space you wouldn't have a max speed such as that. You can accelerate as long as you have fuel, until you reach a point where relativity becomes relevant. That speed quote is for a ship maneuvering in a LEO. $\endgroup$ – Renan Mar 8 '18 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ Your link doesn't appear to have any content. Perhaps you wanted the PDF. It states the maximum vehicle velocity to be roughly 85,000 m/s, while the exhaust velocity is in the 100,000 m/s range. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Mar 8 '18 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ Here's the deal... the ion drive ship is 200 years old, so technology would have advanced. I was looking for the next evolutions of the technology. While I love sci-fi for the possibilities it can hold, I'm not up on physics or anything like that. I'm a writer because math and I don't get along. $\endgroup$ – Nikki Mar 8 '18 at 21:02

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