a space propulsion method that uses electromagnetic fields at the front of a spaceship to gather interstellar material for fuel for a fusion-powered space drive
[suggested by Standard English ramjet]
The interstellar ramscoop robots had been searching out man-habitable systems for nearly a century.
It’s a light pressure drive powered by incomplete hydrogen fusion. They use an electromagnetic ramscoop to get their own hydrogen from space.
The Fleet was at last in ramscoop formation.
A real big fusion ramscoop. The machinery is in the hub, electromagnetic field generators to funnel the interstellar hydrogen into the center, where it gets burned.
Upstream lies the chewing gullet of the ramscoop ship, where the incoming protons are sucked in and where their kinetic power is stolen from them by the electric fields.
When it was safely away, robots went outside. Flitting around the hull, they deployed the latticework of ramscoop and fire chamber. By this time, low boost under torch drive had built up a considerable speed.
The view closed on a decrepit vessel, perhaps two hundred meters long, wasp-waisted to support a ramscoop drive.
Dead slow, compared to what’s zipping around here now. A ramscoop, big blue-white tail dead straight, scratched across space.
The ramscoops gasped at interstellar gas, sucking lone atoms of cosmic hydrogen from cubic metres of vacuum.
He could have lived with a universe whose interstellar gulfs could be crossed only with generation ships, cold-sleep or ramscoops.
Near the head, things are different: no huge claws there, but the delicately branching fuzz of bush robots, nanoassemblers poised ready to repair damage in flight and spin the parachute of a ramscoop when the ship is ready to decelerate.
The ship surfaced from U-space one astronomical unit out, and travelling at three quarters the speed of light, it used ramscoop to decelerate: opening out orange wings radiating from the abundant hydrogen being dragged in around it, soon followed by the sun-bright ignition of a fusion drive.
Larry Niven 'World of Ptavvs'
Last modified 2021-01-05 23:02:18
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.