Solar Ship sails the skies, schlepps supplies

"By crossing airships with airplanes, Solar Ship is planning to build a craft that can carry heavy loads long distances with a tiny carbon footprint. Filled with helium, they soak up rays from the sun to provide the energy for forward motion and fulfill its original design challenge – carry 1,000 kilograms (2,205 lbs) of payload 1,000 kilometers (621.4 miles). The craft is heavier than air, and uses a combination of helium filling its interior and its lifting body delta wing shape to stay airborne. Solar Ship shows plans for a range of different size craft for different duties."




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  • It's not the cost of helium that prevents the military from using lighter than air ships.  It's the fact that a slow moving gas filled bag, is not the most suitable for military usage.  The US is the largest producer of helium, and strategically speaking, it would be an advantage.  Lighter than air ships are more suited for civilian applications.


    As far as the universe being finite or not, it has yet to be proven.  But, as we all learn from calculus, as things approach infinity, they are essentially such.  The universe is so big that for humanity's purposes, it's an infinite resource.  The environmentalist preach conservation, but what they don't realize is that these few thousand years that humanity has be privileged to be on the planet are a blip.  If we don't want to be a blip that disappears, we better progress to the point where we are no longer dependent on the limited resources that are available on this rock.  


    I don't think it's unreasonable to say that we should consume as many of the earth's resources needed to get to that point.  The environmentalist argument is like giving someone $10, when it cost $1 a day to survive.  Do we expect that person to just use $1 everyday, and then die after 10 days?  Or is it better if that person uses $5 to buy a bus ticket to a job interview and get a job, so that he can earn another $10?



     From what I understand once the helium reserve or spent the price will jump to the open market price I quoted. also the price comes from the experts in the field quoted in the popular science and the other tech magazine articles I read from about a year or two ago. This problem was also just sighted as one of the main reason the armed forces are giving up on lighter then aircraft programs.

    The problem is the only two alternative processes are too use hydrogen which they won't because they think it's unsafe and it will also but more pressure on our already strained water supply. or find some way to make a real void/vacuum ship which would be great but not technologically possible right now


    Honestly this reminds me how we’ve been spoiled over the last hundred or so years coming from an age of relative ignorance into one with far more understanding have left us with this unrealistic belief that things will just keep progressing forward.


    The universe is finite nothing can keep progressing forever.  

  • Wow

    That's because the US has been dumping on the Helium market (purging the strategic helium reserve).

    It's a shame too, because the US taxpayer is losing money by dumping a valuable comodity.


    That said - I suspect your number is off; markets are what they are, and any rise in price will cause a search for alternatives (ie balloons on sticks) or replacement chem processes.


    We'll see.

    In some ways it will be a precurser to the end-of-cheap-oil question. Will it fall off a cliff, or will the market find a gentle slope?




  • I love the shape and idea but this will run into the same problem ever other lifter doesand that's the skyrocketing price of helium in the next few years. I mean to fill a small party balloon will cost over a 100 dollars US so unless they are willing to use hydrogen instead it will just cost to much money.

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