Modern Scientist Predictions Freeman J. Dyson

About the predictions both right and wrong of modern scientist Freeman J. Dyson including one about a laser highway.

PREDICTIONS BY MODERN SCIENTISTS

Predictor: FREEMAN J. DYSON

Freeman Dyson is a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Past Predictions: No record.

Future Predictions: Possible in "a few decades" (if various technical snags can be overcome)

* Developed from a concept by Dr. Arthur Kantrowitz, director of AVCO-Everett Research Laboratories, a laser highway will propel vehicles the size of compact cars into space at the rate of one every 10 minutes. Once out there, the cars might form caravans "to homestead the asteroids." The technique works like this: A car is mounted on a tank holding a few tons of water on top of a rocket motor. A big battery of lasers on the ground focuses a beam onto the rocket motor nozzle. Water from the tank is fed into the nozzle, is heated by the laser beam, and forms a rocket jet of high-temperature steam. The car rides up the laser beam into space. The energy needed for a launch is 100,000 kilowatt hours, far less than a chemical rocket would use. The advantage of this method is that a small, single-stage rocket can go directly from the ground into orbit. Chemical rockets to do the same job need huge boosters with several stages. The laser rocket will also pollute the atmosphere much less.

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