Space Cannon (what more do I really have to say?)

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Special deliveries for space could someday arrive via cannon, if physicist John Hunter has his way. His natural-gas powered Quicklauncher system could cut the cost of equipment transport from $5000 per pound, to about $250. The prototype is set to be tested next month.

How to Shoot Stuff into Space

STEP 1: HEAT IT
The gun combusts natural gas in a heat exchanger within a chamber of hydrogen gas, heating the hydrogen to 2,600ËšF and causing a 500 percent increase in pressure.

STEP 2: LET THE HYDROGEN LOOSE
Operators open the valve, and the hot, pressurized hydrogen quickly expands down the tube, pushing the payload forward.

STEP 3: TO INFINITY AND BEYOND
After speeding down the 3,300-foot-long barrel, the projectile shoots out of the gun at 13,000 mph. An iris at the end of the gun closes, capturing the hydrogen gas to use again.

Popular Science: A Cannon For Shooting Supplies into Space

(Thanks, Lee Billings!)

Image courtesy Flickr user edbrambley via CC