Author Topic: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application  (Read 666645 times)

Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #460 on: 07/01/2009 10:02 PM »
It's ok.  I'll just do my own research and try to figure out what I can at my own pace.  I'm looking for an easier explanation of this stuff which is kinda lazy, I know.  The math is daunting.
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #461 on: 07/01/2009 10:17 PM »
I'm not chiding you for not understanding the math or physics.  I don't understand them all either.  Almost everyone on this forum knows their math and physics better than I do.

What I'm trying (and failing) to say is that each of us need to take the words of Dirty Harry to heart.  "A man's got to know his limitations."  When you read the very advanced postgraduate field physics of Jim Woodward, the proper response is not to say "I'll figure it out on my own."  You're not going to ever figure out on your own what a "lagrangian" is, or a "hamiltonian", of what it means to "take the fourth divergence" etc.  Not without very substantial and formal background in math and physics.

There are certainly things you can learn on your own and I am always supportive of being a student of life.  But you can't always demand and expect an explanation, when the nature of the answer is beyond your ability to apprehend.  So sometimes it really has to be enough to understand "push heavy, pull light."

Offline cgrunska

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #462 on: 07/01/2009 10:24 PM »
for the record, i love this thread.
I'm not attempting to read the papers. Just following the discourse. Fascinating. And you've said we'll know a 'this might just work' answer in just 2 years, fingers crossed?

Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #463 on: 07/01/2009 10:56 PM »
I think we already know it works.  If you understand the significance of the rotator data, you know that certainly there is no other explanation of those findings other than M-E.  I think Jim took a year apart from study of thrusters just to prove the science behind the thrusters and it worked.  Certainly we need independent replications before people will pay much action, but I think the rotator data stands on its own for now.

Paul March is set to run his high frequency MLT in the next month or so.  This is serious risk work because he's operating way into wormhole territory where current theory cannot make real predictions.  Paul is going to be tying for something like a 3,000,000 % mass fluctuation and remember, wormhole territory starts with 100% fluctuation.  If Paul's thruster works at all, it could produce thrust on the level of what is required for a WarpStar like craft--high enough thrust efficiency for building "1 gee solution" spacecraft that can drop the cost of all space transportation many, many orders magnitude and make human exploitation of our entire planetary system quickly achievable.  There will still be many issues to work out, like the thrust die-off issue, but I would not be surprised if Paul's current design, using PTFE instead of a ceramic dielectric, doesn't suffer those die-off issues at all.  Also, Paul's design is a pre "bulk acceleration conjecture" design meaning it was designed before we understood the significance of large bulk accelerations in the dielectric.  His design does not provide these very large accelerations so there is an excellent chance that it will work but work much less dramatically than hoped.

Jim will be returning to thruster studies with the UFG design in September.  It is at least possible he will have thrust results by the end of September but given how these things normally go, it may take a few months longer.  This is a less risk approach than Paul March's because Jim is working outside wormhole territory, meaning dm<m or <100% mass fluctuation.  His theory is able to make real predictions for the kind of thrusts he should see, rather than the spitballing predictions Paul is looking at; so the level of pure science to be learned from Jim's approach is significantly higher, even though the utility of his thruster design, thrust magnitude and thrust efficiency is significantly lower.

There will also be refinements in the rotator experiment this coming year.  Jim is planning on a new generation of rotator that can give answers to whether the effect scales parametrically based upon DC offset as is predicted.  That will be important in understanding the effect better and in providing new engineering options in the future.

So all this could happen in much less time then the 2 years you're asked about, but who knows?  These things are hard, VERY HARD to do; and there are always curve balls and set backs to cope with.  But my guess is we'll see both convincing and compelling evidence from one if not two labs before this coming year is out.  If either Jim or Paul get decent results by December, I'd expect them to be publishing and presenting at SPESIF in February.

And then there's Andrew Palfreyman who sounds like he might do another build. . .very exciting if Andrew can scavenge up the time for some new VHF experiments or perhaps another rotator.
« Last Edit: 07/01/2009 11:16 PM by GI-Thruster »

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #464 on: 07/02/2009 01:22 AM »
World Wide Web links regarding mass fluctuation from other people than Star-Drive.

I assume you mean non-relativistic mass fluctuation, otherwise thousands of links would be relevant. Also the other garden variety of electron mass fluctuations and so on.

I'll repost this earlier link, it doesn't deal with Cooper pairs so much but the references for the relevant researchers' previous work are there. (Tate is her name, IIRC). Note that the theoretical basis for this is very weak, as Star-Drive says. The fact that they record an acceleration of opposite sign to that predicted shows it.

http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/gsp/Experimental_Detection.pdf
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Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #465 on: 07/02/2009 05:17 AM »
Lampy, I think this is old work.  IIRC, Martin did this experiement and got interesting results.  Then as a control, he replaced the superconducting niobium ring with aluminum and got the same result.  That means the experiment is terribly flawed somehow.  That's what controls are for.  There was a supposition I heard a year or so ago, that perhaps the effect was caused by the cryogen, but that supposition didn't fly with the three groups who had planned replications and they all cancelled.  Martin did not present new results this last February (as he's accustomed to) and so far as I know, he does not have a working theory or explanation for his supposed test results.

If you want, I can write Eric Davis who would know more, and I can write Martin if you like, but if there were something on the horizon here, I think I would have heard about it.

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #466 on: 07/03/2009 03:46 AM »
A cryogen explanation sounds interesting. It would best be explained by quantum theories; Robert L. Forward's last paper dealt with proposals along QVF lines.
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Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #467 on: 07/15/2009 02:52 AM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.  For the same thrust VASIMR weighs much more, requires much more power and requires propellant--as compared to the MLT Paul March tested in 2005.

Obviously, we can't take those test numbers from 2005 as gospel because they were never verified and never run with the appropriate controls, such as running in vacuum.  And this is why we need independent verification before we can talk meaningfully about comparisons like this, but given those figures VASIMR is not even in the same ballpark.  If the MLT or UFG deliver, VASIMR is dead on arrival.

Same with any propellant drive.  I looked back in this thread for the figures StarDrive shared about the 2.2 Mhz MLT from 2005 but I'm not finding them.  I remember they came up with regard to comparison to GOCE's ion thrusters.  That experiment from 4 years ago was showing results vastly beyond what GOCE has to offer and I think even beyond Deep Space 1.  Maybe someone can find it or I can coax Paul March back to this thread. . .

Offline MichaelF

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #468 on: 07/15/2009 03:46 AM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

In many cases, and I think this is one, the Soviets were right: "Best is the enemy of good enough".  I think we can work with VASIMR (if not current rockets) until a better candidate emerges (and matures).  Certainly we shouldn't wait for it/them.
« Last Edit: 07/15/2009 03:48 AM by MichaelF »

Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #469 on: 07/15/2009 03:47 AM »
GI Thruster:

I've been busy, but since you need some MLT verses VASIMR data here it is in a nutshell.  The VX-200 has a thrust to power efficiency of ~1.0 Newton per 50.0kW of input power or inversely it's 2.0x10^-5 N/Watt.  The Mach-2MHz demonstrated a 5x10^-3 N/7 watts input or 7.14x10^-4 N/Watt.  That is already a factor of 7.14x10^-4 / 2.0x10^-5 = 35.71 times more energy efficient than a optimized conventional electrodynamic ionic rocket design.  Yes, the MLT's lifetime was only 15 minutes of runtime verses the weeks to months required, but it gives one an idea of where these gravinertial thrusters can go once we fully understand and optimize the material science for them.  In other words, 1.0 Newton per Watt G/I field based MLTs and/or UFGs will be buildable in the long term.  The question is how long will it take to get there and that depends on how much time and effort we can throw into their development.

BTW, propellantless drive is a misnomer IMO.  Instead, they should be called a recycled propellant drive since they require a small amount of mass for these mass fluctuations to occur in that is recycled for reuse after every excitation cycle is competed, in much the same way a piston is reused on every rotational cycle of an internal combustion engine. 
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Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #470 on: 07/15/2009 03:53 AM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

In many cases, and I think this is one, the Soviets were right: "Best is the enemy of good enough".  I think we can work with VASIMR (if not current rockets) until a better candidate emerges (and matures).  Certainly we shouldn't wait for it/them.

I haven't seen a spacecraft design for mars transit using VASIMR that didn't include a fission reactor.  I'd love to believe someone somewhere can convince POTUS to support flying a fission reactor to Mars but somehow I'm not quite there. . .

Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #471 on: 07/15/2009 03:55 AM »
GI Thruster:

I've been busy, but since you need some MLT verses VASIMR data here it is in a nutshell.  The VX-200 has a thrust to power efficiency of ~1.0 Newton per 50.0kW of input power or inversely it's 2.0x10^-5 N/Watt.  The Mach-2MHz demonstrated a 5x10^-3 N/7 watts input or 7.14x10^-4 N/Watt.  That is already a factor of 7.14x10^-4 / 2.0x10^-5 = 35.71 times more energy efficient than a optimized conventional electrodynamic ionic rocket design.  Yes, the MLT's lifetime was only 15 minutes of runtime verses the weeks to months required, but it gives one an idea of where these gravinertial thrusters can go once we fully understand and optimize the material science for them.  In other words, 1.0 Newton per Watt G/I field based MLTs and/or UFGs will be buildable in the long term.  The question is how long will it take to get there and that depends on how much time and effort we can throw into their development.

BTW, propellantless drive is a misnomer IMO.  Instead, they should be called a recycled propellant drive since they require a small amount of mass for these mass fluctuations to occur in that is recycled for reuse after every excitation cycle is competed, in much the same way a piston is reused on every rotational cycle of an internal combustion engine. 


And do you have any relative mass/thrust numbers?  I think VASIMR is around 300 kg for 5 N thrust.

Offline MichaelF

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #472 on: 07/15/2009 03:58 AM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

In many cases, and I think this is one, the Soviets were right: "Best is the enemy of good enough".  I think we can work with VASIMR (if not current rockets) until a better candidate emerges (and matures).  Certainly we shouldn't wait for it/them.

I haven't seen a spacecraft design for mars transit using VASIMR that didn't include a fission reactor.  I'd love to believe someone somewhere can convince POTUS to support flying a fission reactor to Mars but somehow I'm not quite there. . .

Since any manned mission to Mars perforce requires a fission reactor along anyway (for surface operations)....might as well go for two.


Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #473 on: 07/15/2009 04:06 AM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."

VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

Ummm, the 1.0 N/W, ~100,000 kg Warpstar-II using solar powered regenertive fuel cells could easily make it from Earth to Mars in 2-to-5 days at 1.0 gee all the way with the transit times dependent on where the Earth is relative to Mars in their respective orbits at the start of the trip.  I'll grant VASIMR uses know physics and has a large developmental headstart when compared to the G/I drives, but it is a VERY power hungry propulsion technology requiring 200+ Megawatt electrical nuclear generators produing just 5,000 Newton of thrust to make that 39 day trip time for a manned mission to Mars.  And even if it takes another decade to perfect the MLTs to the 1.0 N/W level, we will still leave the VASIMR venue in the stardust when it is just finishing up its first Mars runs in say twenty years...
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Offline Star-Drive

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #474 on: 07/15/2009 04:21 AM »
GI Thruster:

I've been busy, but since you need some MLT verses VASIMR data here it is in a nutshell.  The VX-200 has a thrust to power efficiency of ~1.0 Newton per 50.0kW of input power or inversely it's 2.0x10^-5 N/Watt.  The Mach-2MHz demonstrated a 5x10^-3 N/7 watts input or 7.14x10^-4 N/Watt.  That is already a factor of 7.14x10^-4 / 2.0x10^-5 = 35.71 times more energy efficient than a optimized conventional electrodynamic ionic rocket design.  Yes, the MLT's lifetime was only 15 minutes of runtime verses the weeks to months required, but it gives one an idea of where these gravinertial thrusters can go once we fully understand and optimize the material science for them.  In other words, 1.0 Newton per Watt G/I field based MLTs and/or UFGs will be buildable in the long term.  The question is how long will it take to get there and that depends on how much time and effort we can throw into their development.

BTW, propellantless drive is a misnomer IMO.  Instead, they should be called a recycled propellant drive since they require a small amount of mass for these mass fluctuations to occur in that is recycled for reuse after every excitation cycle is competed, in much the same way a piston is reused on every rotational cycle of an internal combustion engine. 


And do you have any relative mass/thrust numbers?  I think VASIMR is around 300 kg for 5 N thrust.

The thrust to weight (T/W) ratio for the VASIMR per your data is 5.0 N / 300 kg = 0.0167 N/kg.  The Mach-2MHz T/W was 5x10^-3 N / 0.145 kg = 0.0345 N/kg that inlcuded its steel Faraday shiled but did not include its 3.8 MHz, 20W RF power supply.  I'm pretty sure that the noted 300 kg for the VX-200 VASIMR does NOT inlcude its 200 kW power supply either...
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Offline 93143

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #475 on: 07/15/2009 05:25 AM »
MichaelF, you said "colonial program" and "just as effective".

I don't think anyone is proposing holding off the initial exploratory missions until long-lived, high-T/W, 1 newton per watt Mach-effect drives are ready.  They may never be, and VASIMR works now.

But if such devices really existed, I could modify my car to go to Mars.  There's probably enough room inside for an advanced spacesuit with a water supply and a small atmosphere regenerator hooked to it.  A spinner (ie: a self-powered Mach-effect engine hooked to an alternator) could easily generate the 20 horsepower or so required for 1 gee, and at 1 gee the trip could take less than 40 hours (not counting the time spent chasing the planet because my car doesn't have a flight computer and I'd just have to aim at the red dot and watch the clock.  Oh, wait, the clock doesn't work - better get that fixed...).  If I were guaranteed access to a hab with food, air, and a toilet once I got there, I just might do it.

Now imagine what a vehicle specifically engineered for the job could be like.  How about a 100,000-ton bulk freighter or a 50,000-ton passenger liner, taking off from Earth and landing on Mars 2-5 days later, with no in-space docking/undocking maneuvers and no microgravity?

That's how much difference this could make in the long term (ie: colonization time frame).  There's no comparison between VASIMR and advanced Mach-effect technology in terms of utility, assuming of course that the Mach-effect engines actually work as well as the proponents hope...

If M-E drives never get beyond the currently-reported levels of thrust efficiency, the improvement over VASIMR is of course significantly less.  If it turns out that robust M-E engines need to have a very low T/W, a VASIMR might actually have an advantage overall, at least for shorter trips like Earth<->Mars.  But it's far too early to assume that sort of thing, especially since a (short-lived, not rigorously isolated) experimental thruster seems to have already shown superior numbers on both counts...

Offline GI-Thruster

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #476 on: 07/15/2009 05:58 PM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

In many cases, and I think this is one, the Soviets were right: "Best is the enemy of good enough".  I think we can work with VASIMR (if not current rockets) until a better candidate emerges (and matures).  Certainly we shouldn't wait for it/them.

I haven't seen a spacecraft design for mars transit using VASIMR that didn't include a fission reactor.  I'd love to believe someone somewhere can convince POTUS to support flying a fission reactor to Mars but somehow I'm not quite there. . .

Since any manned mission to Mars perforce requires a fission reactor along anyway (for surface operations)....might as well go for two.



Hey, I'm all for a nuclear fleet or reusable planetary transit vehicles.

Maybe the reason there never seem to be serious discussions about human Mars exploration is we can't start with this very sensible requirement, space fission; as a given.  Maybe what we need to do is attack the issue directly and openly in public and say we're stuck here unless we can use nukes in space? 

Offline mlorrey

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #477 on: 07/18/2009 06:42 PM »
From another thread:

"Lastly, for said colonial program, VASIMR would be just as effective as your notional reactionless drives.  As would nuclear pulse drives."


VASIMR is nothing close to the performance possible with even a rudimentary MLT or UFG if we can trust the unverified figures to date.

It is, however, more than enough to do the job.  Which is really all that counts, for this particular instance.  Sure, getting there super-fast would be nice, but it offers only iterative (minor, in this case) advantages over the VASIMR's projected transit time of a few weeks.  Both are such improvements over the (already workable, we believe) current time of 180 days that there really is not much to choose from, especially since VASIMR is (as was stated) already moving into field prototypes.

This isn't quite so. Beyond the trip time, you need to consider the time and cost of assembling a VASIMR interplanetary vessel in orbit. This is a project in the order of building the ISS without having the benefit of the shuttle for heavy loads. So it will be twice as hard, and likely twice as much construction time, which of course increases the odds of it being cancelled before completion by a factor of ten.

Conversely a ME Thruster driven vessel would be buildable on earths surface akin to building a shuttle orbiter or ocean going vessel in an industrial setting. It would be buildable for a 200-600 million dollars, at most, versus 100 billion for a VASIMR ship. The ME thruster driven vessel would launch from earths surface, travel to Mars, land, be refuelled via an ISRU fuel depot sent by chemical rockets on a slow-boat trajectory years previously, and make the return trip.

Carrying a 100,000 lb cargo each trip, it could put a million lbs of cargo and colonists on Mars in the time it takes VASIMR to complete one trip with four astronauts and a lander, spending a month on the surface.
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Offline Sith

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #478 on: 07/18/2009 06:48 PM »
a ME Thruster driven vessel would be buildable on earths surface akin to building a shuttle orbiter or ocean going vessel in an industrial setting. It would be buildable for a 200-600 million dollars, at most, versus 100 billion for a VASIMR ship.
You mean this rocket here will cost 100 billion?




Offline mlorrey

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Re: Propellantless Field Propulsion and application
« Reply #479 on: 07/18/2009 06:59 PM »
a ME Thruster driven vessel would be buildable on earths surface akin to building a shuttle orbiter or ocean going vessel in an industrial setting. It would be buildable for a 200-600 million dollars, at most, versus 100 billion for a VASIMR ship.
You mean this rocket here will cost 100 billion?





At a very minimum, yes.
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