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Question:
How fast can our most advanced space faring vehicles travel?



Replies:
Maximum speed for rockets is roughly whatever the exhaust velocity is - since everything we have put into space so far depends on chemical reactions for propulsion, that limits things to not much more than escape velocity from the solar system - somewhere around 25,000 miles per hour. There are lots of proposals for getting space vehicles to go much faster than that, but so far nobody's actually put one together yet. Many of these proposals rely on nuclear energy, which people are still very afraid to actually use. Other techniques include using light (from a very strong laser) to propel a sail-like spaceship. To some extent, they all require either a very large initial cost or some kind of technology beyond what we currently have available.

Arthur Smith



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