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A simpler version of your construction: A man runs at 3/4 times the speed of light on top of a train that drives at 3/4 times the speed of light. Is the man now running at 1.5 times the speed of light? No, he isn't. If he was, there would be no issue with relativity in the first place. In fact he is never reaching the speed of light. It is ...

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The brief answer is 'yesâ€™. Here is a thought experiment which I think makes it easy to see that the answer must be yes. Consider the standard twin 'paradox': twin a hangs around in free-fall; twin b zooms off on their spaceship at some enormous speed with respect to twin a, turns around (in some smooth way, undergoing acceleration), and returns. Well, ...

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If you think of it in terms of conservation of momentum and collisions, the simplest version works just the same as tossing a handball at a on-coming freight train. The interaction is elastic, and the ball returns with the same speed it had going in in the center of momentum frame, but the center of momentum frame is moving in the ground frame, so the ball ...

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I am not versed in general relativity but I see a problem with your scheme. Let us take the ensemble of distant stars as our inertial frame. Whenever a body has acceleration $\textbf{a}$ w.r.t. inertial frame it experiences an inertial force equal to $\textbf{F}_{inertial}=-m\textbf{a}$, where $m$ is body's mass. Now suppose that the large mass $M$ in your ...

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I think your right. Due to equivalence principle, to the free-falling body it will seem like it has no acceleration, as opposed to a body standing on ground which is equivalent to the ground pushing the body so that it will accelerate upward, and hence experience the normal force from the ground. Because the acceleration due to gravity will depend only on ...

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Primary question: This is very similar to the old question of what would happen if you fell into a black hole. You are correct that you wouldn't feel the acceleration due to gravity per se, but you'd still need to worry about tidal forces. These have complicated geometric dependence - they're negligible near the center of a planar mass $M$, and for a ...

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It's unclear what you mean by "nuclear engine", but the main similar notion is a nuclear thermal rocket. Although it derives its energy from nuclear reactions, it uses this to heat gas (usually hydrogen) to very high velocity for propulsion. There is still matter being expelled. More common in space travel is the radioactive thermal generator, which uses ...

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