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If there was a bussard ramjet space craft and it was scooping up hydrogen, how fast would hydrogen fill up the space behind the craft?

So say theres a bussard ramjet ship. And its going fast enough to scoop up enough hydrogen to be self sustaining. How quickly would hydrogen fill in the space that the ramjet just passed through?

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  • 2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I’d say very rapidly; hydrogen molecules in deep space are very sparse; a few dozen to a few thousand every cubic meter, and they’re moving - so, once you go through with your ship, they’d fill in again (much like water behind a boat...) Perhaps a few seconds at the most?

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  • 2 years ago

    Space is pretty sparse with hydrogen gas, so the pressure wouldn't be immediate as the speed of sound is -- if I were to guess -- damn near light speed. And therefore it would take a very long time to do so.

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  • spot a
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    The space behind would be partly filled with high speed and hot helium ejected by the Bussard

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  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    There is no hydrogen in space. Space is a Vacuum.

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  • 2 years ago

    Almost instantaneously. The gasses in space are not dense enough for expansion by pressure as in Earth's atmosphere. Each atom and particle is on a ballistic trajectory and could have any speed unrelated to speeds of nearby particles.

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  • 2 years ago

    The ramjet is going to be shooting the hydrogen behind it as it traveled. so that space is not empty. Just that the distribution of hydrogen is changed, in a complicated way. And the temperature of the exhaust hydrogen is a lot higher.

    • It should actually be shooting helium, as you compress the hydrogen 'scooped' from space to perform fusion, creating helium in the process.

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