What would happen if there was a Shkadov Thruster in place around a single star in a binary star system? I don't care about the moving stars thing. I just want to know about what would happen in that system.

EDIT: Thank you to Bald Bear for mentioning that there might be a problem with the constant variation in gravity and light. So let's just abra cadabra handwavium that away. (thruster is made of something that would be perfect for its needs to function as a shkadov thruster and not break apart.)

EDIT #2: Since this question is too broad I will clarify. I would like descriptions of what would change in the system. The system is exactly like the solar system, except the sun is now suns and the single star system is now a binary star system. Both stars just so happen to be half the mass of the sun and together have the same mass as them sun.

I would very much like descriptions as to why this would be too broad.

  • $\begingroup$ I am pretty sure that constant variation in direction of gravity and both direction and strength of solar wind will break the thruster. Unless the thruster is constantly adjusting its angle to account for that. And I assume you do not want the thruster to be far enough from both stars , then it would be as if it is orbiting a single star. $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Apr 30 '18 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 30 '18 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ That being said, questions asking "What if...?" or "What are the effects on a solar system given X?" are inherently broad and/or ill-suited to the Stack Exchange format. (I cannot speak to why it's being voted as off-topic...) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 30 '18 at 16:45

There would be little to no (unintended) effects on the system as a whole, assuming that you're thruster is a pure shkadov thruster and is being used to move the system in a direction rather than being used to affect the system. Taking the sun as an example (simply because its on wikipedia) "with luminosity 3.85 × 1026 W and mass 1.99 × 1030 kg, the total thrust produced by reflecting half of the solar output would be 1.28 × 1018 N. After a period of one million years this would yield an imparted speed of 20 m/s." Compare this with the earths orbital speed of 30000 m/s and you'll see there's nothing to worry about. A great deal of the imparted velocity will in fact simply be dissipated as tidal forces in the stars and planets. There may be more of a problem with further out icy bodies that orbit slower but even Pluto is about 4700 m/s and it'll be over millions of years so don't expect showers of comets destroying civilisation or anything.

If on the other hand you put this thruster there specifically to wreck your own system. Yeah you can do some damage, slowing down the stars relative to each other, spinning them apart excreta. Though if you can make such a thruster you have much better ways to kill your entire species off than crashing your stars together over a billion years.


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