Small Change

In twenty-thirteen,a team of Japanese physicists figured out how to teleport energy via quantum-entangled particles over long distances. True story. You can look it up on ARXIV yourself.

It didn’t take long before somebody thought of turning the technology into a poor-man’s laser-propulsion drive. No Niven-esque exploding sun required.

All that it would entail would be a small signal laser – no more than a few kilowatts of output – aimed at a departing spacecraft, with the provision that all of the photons in the beam were entangled.

Only a small percentage of the entangled particles would reach the receiver on the spacecraft in their original, pristine state, but those few would be sufficient to funnel, via the magic of quantum physics, the entire output of a multi-gigawatt nuclear fusion plant into a plasma rocket array mounted on a spacecraft that would carry almost no propulsive mass, and that furthermore wouldn’t require a heavy power-plant of its own.

The resulting delta-V, meaning the ability to change velocity, would resemble the vast power of a chemical rocket, but could be operated for days or weeks at a time, and with far less bulk to lug around.

The  first robotic quantum-teleportation drive mission to Mars failed to decelerate on time, and smashed into the planet with sufficient force that a telescope in orbit around Earth spotted the plume of dirt that it kicked up.

The police arrested the CEO of the power company for fraud. In a statement before the court, he apologized to the public for diverting power from the project.

“It was only a tiny percentage,” the judge said, while passing down the sentence, “but at one hundred and fifty dollars per megawatt hour, that adds up in a hurry.”

Author’s Note: I think that the space drive described here may actually be feasible. There are a number of articles on the energy teleportation method, including here. My understanding is that the current limit is a few centimeters, but there’s no theoretical upper limit on distance. I’m not sure how the quantum-entangled photons could be piped into a laser after though. Perhaps a physicist would like to chime in?