Could starships use cold fusion propulsion?

They Want To Believe
Fact or fiction?
Fact or fiction?

Alas, cold fusion acolytes have responded to the criticism by (once again) shrilly decrying their critics as being closed-minded, misinformed, not willing to give cold fusion a fair shake, and so forth. There is little evidence to back up such claims. As I wrote back in 2007:

The scientific community as a whole has not unfairly dismissed the claims: it simply remains unconvinced by the erratic evidence that has been presented to it. Should cold fusion advocates one day beat the odds and provide truly reproducible, compelling evidence for low-energy nuclear reactions, the stodgy old scientific establishment might grumble a bit, but ultimately it will accept those findings and alter its theories accordingly. Because that's what the scientific method is all about.

The late Scottish physicist Douglas Morrison was one of the rare skeptical attendees of the annual cold fusion conferences until his death in 2001. Each year, he would listen to the extravagant claims of "excess heat," then stand and make a simple request: "Please can I have a cup of tea?"

Granted, it was a bit cheeky of him, but he made his point: cold fusion talks a good game, yet even the simplest applied energy task remains well beyond its reach.

It takes 4.18 joules to raise a gram of water's temperature by 1 degee Celsius, and it needs to be 100 degrees Celsius to make Morrison's cup of tea. Remember, per Millis' calculations, we'd need an exajoule to send humans into interstellar space. So if you're hoping cold fusion will be the answer to powering an interstellar mission, you're in for a very long wait.

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