May 7th, 2014, 07:42 PM
Assuming the density of said dust speck was ~3.2 g/cc (About that of a grain of sand), and the speck was cube shaped (Spherical cows and all that), it would have a mass in the order of 3.2e-15 kg. At 0.1c, this gives it a kinetic energy of ~ 1.44 joules ( not likely to vaporize a ship)

Now the interstellar density is about 50 atoms/cc. which works out to ~8.35e-20 kg/m^3. At 0.1c, the ship will be moving at 3e7 m/sec. Which means that a 1 meter square cross section will collide with ~ 2.5e-12 kg of interstellar medium per second. This amounts to ~1125 joules/sec = 1125 watts of energy per meter. This is in the order of how much solar energy strikes the surface of the Earth when the Sun is at Zenith. Again, hardly ship vaporizing. ( though there will be some amount of erosion after years of this.)

*"Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.*

The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone

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