Light Beam Propulsion for Aerospace and Aircraft

 - Feb 27, 2009
References: science.howstuffworks & blog.wired
It sounds like something out of 'Star Trek,' traveling at hypersonic speed using laser beam-powered propulsion, but aerospace engineer Leik Myrabo believes it is not only possible, but likely.

In separate experiments, researchers at the University of Tokyo and at the Center for Applied Optics at the University of Alabama have used a laser to propel tiny airplanes. Cooperative testing is also being done by the U.S. and Brazilian air forces.

In his book, Lightcraft Flight Handbook LTI-20: Hypersonic Flight Transport for an Era Beyond Oil, Myrabo claims, "All that’s needed now is to actually build them. The problem has evolved from a scientific one to an engineering one."