We’ve already seen laser-powered helicopters from LaserMotive and perhaps the company will go about sending rockets into space using lasers in the near future too. One of the issues about sending a chemical-powered rocket into space is that you need to carry all that fuel on board, which isn’t exactly light. An alternative would be to use an array of powerful microwave lasers that stay on the ground and heat up the rocket. The rocket would have a heat exchanger on the outside, gathering the energy it needs. Since the actual reaction energy in such a system would be coming directly from the ground, it wouldn’t have to be carried along with the rocket, lightening its load and also making it much safer. Is this how space travel will be done in the future?

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