What the scientists were able to estimate was the amount of energy necessary, if the technology was available, to change these dimensions: about 10^45 joules.A bit of a disadvantage, that. More at Discovery News.
"That's about the amount of energy you'd get if you converted the entire mass of Jupiter into pure energy via E = mc^2," said Cleaver, an energy far beyond anything humanity can currently envision creating.
Meanwhile Rockets and Such shows how I was too optimistic in my prediction that the USA will have
no manned space program for 10 years (apart from uncrewed ARES I shots to work out the bugs in the spacecraft, not the booster. The proof-of-principle ARES-1 shot scheduled to impress Congress is turning out to be a schlemozzle too.
All is not lost though :
Virgin Galactic rolled out its White Knight Two aircraft, which is designed to loft the planned tourist spacecraft, SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of fifty thousand feet before launching it on suborbital flights with two pilots and six paying customers.
The White Knight Two aircraft, dubbed Eve in honor of Richard Branson's mother, is the world's largest all carbon composite built aircraft and has a wing space of 140 feet. White Knight Two has a maximum altitude of fifty thousand feet and can fly nonstop coast to coast across the United States. White Knight Two is powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines. White Knight Two is approximately the size of a World War II era B 29 bomber.