Ouroboros Accelerator Technology / Science in Starkeeper | World Anvil

Ouroboros Accelerator

An ouroborus accelerator is a structure using a pair of wormholes to accelerate its payload indefinitely, by sending it through the mouth of one wormhole and recieving it from another. Since the invention of wormholes, these accelerators have been used for everything from high-energy physics research to transportation and weapons.
  The prototypical ouroborus accelerator consists of a long tube with a wormhole mouth on each end. Inside the tube are electromagnets (or, in the modern day, repulsor emitters) which accelerate its contents down its length. When the contents reach the end of the tube, they enter the first mouth and prompty emerge from the second, back at the start of the tube, which resumes accelerating them. In this way, an ouroborus accelerator can theoretically accelerate its contents without end, using only a finite length of hardware.
  Practical difficulties, however, prevent this. The accelerator's operation will continually add mass to one wormhole mouth and remove it from the other, so a flow of balance mass must be sent through in the opposite direction (this is usually water or asteroidal gravel). Eventually, the payload will start to undergo relativistic mass increase as it approaches lightspeed, and it will become impossible to pump enough ballast back through or brace the wormhole mouths against the tremendous momentum transfer each time the payload passes through. Heavy-duty ouroborus accelerators will use large wormholes massing in the hundreds of thousands or millions of tons for this, to reduce the recoil, but even that can only go so far (and the resulting accelerator will be almost immobile).
  Another issue is distance. If the accelerator is too short, the end wormhole cannot be moved out of the way fast enough for the payload to exit without striking it at least partially. Thus, many ouroborus accelerators are spread out over a distance of one or more light-seconds, becoming multiple free-floating accelerator tubes spaced between two stargates, which must be kept precisely in alignment and clear of debris. (The void of interstellar space, far from the gravitational effects of stars and planets, is favored for this.) This separation will allow time to move the end wormhole out of the way if the payload must leave the accelerator.
  Ouroborus accelerators have been used for high-energy physics research, packing into a few kilometers power levels that would otherwise require a planet-girdling particle collider to reach. They can also be used to accelerate small relativistic space probes, and even other wormholes as part of a wormhole projector. During the Second Interstellar Period they made devastating weapons, many nations harbored one or more of these constructions in secret, well-protected locations, and combined with tactical stargates could use them to launch RKVs at enemy targets.

Cover image: by mau_king


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