The Space Thread:

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1 Joesolo9th Dec 2012 12:43:28 PM from Wouldn't you like to know... , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
The Curiosity Rover's thread lead to a number of people wanting a general OTC thread for Space stuff, so here it is. Exploration, Colonies, FTL drives, whatever, feel free to discuss.

Last topic we were on involved this. Basically, Nasa scientists are starting to develop a actual warp drive, similar to Star Trek, where instead of pushing the ship, it warps space around the ship, allowing it to travel Faster than light, relative to outside observers. This would allow a trip to to, say, Aplha Centauri, to take a few weeks, rather than hundreds of years with current tech.

edited 9th Dec '12 1:01:05 PM by Joesolo

2 BestOf9th Dec 2012 07:36:59 PM from Finland , Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
With Mod Hat On
I'm going to do a Mod Fiat thing right here and declare that talking about warfare in space belongs in Writer's Block. I've seen some of the discussions our fora have hosted about that subject and I'm sure it would just swallow this thread in one bite. So no discussion about space warfare, 'cause that's a huge derail.

Other than that, this is the general Space thread.

edited 9th Dec '12 7:37:45 PM by BestOf

Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
3 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 07:49:44 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
So, what are the odds that we'll have any kind of warp drive before we attempt to travel across the stars and do it the excruciatingly long way?

I get the idea from the Curiosity thread that we'd have to have a nuclear powered source for this. Perhaps fission? Is that a possibility?
4 Barkey9th Dec 2012 08:02:02 PM from Bunker 051 , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^

What about that theoretical drive that uses a nuclear explosion to get a ship up to a certain speed? Then it just uses that speed to get close to the target, from which it slows down and has to set off another nuke to get back up to cruising speed?

Doesn't sound reliable or like it'd be fast enough, but it's one theory I've heard tossed about.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
5 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 08:03:50 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
That sounds incredibly inefficient, actually.

http://io9.com/5963263/how-nasa-will-build-its-very-first-warp-drive

Anyway, that's the article that nearly derailed the other thread and inspired this one. And also my question.

Edit: And Joesolo already linked it. bleh my brain is not working well right now.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:04:38 PM by AceofSpades

6 Joesolo9th Dec 2012 08:04:12 PM from Wouldn't you like to know... , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
It's a possibility. and if fusion isn't ready by the time we have one it'd be the only option.

we have nothing that can compare to nuclear power for a purpose like this. plus we dont really have alot of power option in space anyway. solar? you heading away from stars. nuclear deacy? can't even power the cameras on voyager anymore.

[up][up] Thats a whole different idea, actually. Though still a workable one.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:05:48 PM by Joesolo

7 Silasw9th Dec 2012 08:04:54 PM from The UNITED Kingdom , Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
A procrastination in of itself
[up][up][up] I think that's still limited by the speed of light, so interstellar travel is still a generational thing. Even with the warp drive thing they might have to find some way to gains sufficient speed while moving in 'warp space', so something like the nuke system could be used alongside the warp drive.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:05:03 PM by Silasw

"And the Bunny nails it!" ~ Gabrael

"If the UN can get through a day without everyone strangling everyone else so can we." ~ Cyran
8 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 08:05:59 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Wait, isn't nuclear fusion what we can already do? I thought the next thing was fission and that's why I asked about it, because it seems like the next new space agey thing as far as power sources go.
9 DeviantBraeburn9th Dec 2012 08:06:08 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
Relevant:

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

Wait, isn't nuclear fusion what we can already do? I thought the next thing was fission and that's why I asked about it, because it seems like the next new space agey thing as far as power sources go.
I think you have that backwards. We have some fusion bombs, but most of our nuclear technology is fission based.
11 Joesolo9th Dec 2012 08:09:45 PM from Wouldn't you like to know... , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
[up][up][up][up] according to wikipedia, it'd take 133 years for orion to get there. with time dialation, somewhat less for those riding it. probably about 120 ish.

so yea, still generational.

[up][up][up] Nope, fission's the old thing. we CAN technically create fusion reactions. but they are just One use only.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:11:11 PM by Joesolo

12 DeMarquis9th Dec 2012 08:10:56 PM from Hell, USA , Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Its called the [[ http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive Alcubierre]]. Link is to wiki article.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
The Razruchityel
It just occurred to me. Assuming this thing is nuclear powered (it probably has to be) what happens if the reactor enters a meltdown? Sure you could probably create an eject system but then you're stuck without an engine in a region that's probably light years from your destination. You could radio for help but there's no indication that we can make a radio that isn't constrained by the light speed limit in which case you'd need to wait several years for a rescue party to arrive.
14 Silasw9th Dec 2012 08:20:06 PM from The UNITED Kingdom , Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
A procrastination in of itself
[up] Secondary reactor? Maybe have more than 2? So that way if you have an issue you can simply eject you reactor and use the spare to get back home. Now that would increase the size and cost of any ship, but it's the level of redundancy that you kinda want when exploring the universe.
"And the Bunny nails it!" ~ Gabrael

"If the UN can get through a day without everyone strangling everyone else so can we." ~ Cyran
15 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 08:20:38 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Presumably you'd need to build the ship in such a way as it could support a population for a given amount of time. And also provide an emergency power source that isn't completely dependent on the drive.

But I'm fairly certain that there would be people working on faster than light communications along side the whole FTL travel.
The Razruchityel
[up][up]That would be a wise precaution. I pity the poor souls that inevitably have the second one meltdown on them.

I wonder how much that would increase the cost. Regardless of whether or not this thing is doable it's going to be expensive. Adding another reactor could make it unworkable.

[up]I could understand a ship that could support people for a while but I feel like it would be a year at most. If you're halfway to Alpha Centauri it will take around two years before either side gets your message.

Do we have any theories on how an interstellar radio would work?

edited 9th Dec '12 8:23:52 PM by Kostya

17 KylerThatch9th Dec 2012 08:25:16 PM , Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
literary masochist
The first thing, of course, is to reduce the risk of meldown or other catastrophic failure to "probably not going to happen ever" levels. You know, really really REALLY negligible levels of lowness.
So pure of heart, and strong of mind!
So true of aim with his marshmallow laser!
The Razruchityel
[up]Most nuclear power plants are already at that level. That's why disasters are such a big deal when they do happen.

The problem is if they do happen in this scenario saving people's lives isn't as simple as evacuating all the people to a few hundred miles away.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:28:29 PM by Kostya

19 KylerThatch9th Dec 2012 08:29:34 PM , Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
literary masochist
Right. Which is why you'd have to push your tolerable level of failure even lower.
So pure of heart, and strong of mind!
So true of aim with his marshmallow laser!
20 QuestionMarc9th Dec 2012 08:31:45 PM from Down-town Canada , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
[up][up] Would there even be people left to save if such a disaster struck?

Anyway, I'd suggest sending two smaller ships in duo, so that one can save the other's crew right away if something goes wrong. But one space ship is already mind-blowingly expensive to get in space, so I don't think it's an option at the moment.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:31:52 PM by QuestionMarc

Just enough pride.
21 Silasw9th Dec 2012 08:32:26 PM from The UNITED Kingdom , Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
A procrastination in of itself
[up][up][up][up] To be fair, our current level is pretty good at avoiding meltdown (with the current needs that they meet). I mean right now it takes either screw ups on a monumental level (Chernobyl) or a natural disaster (Fukushima) to really screw with a nuclear plant. So as long as we don’t let the ship become the USSR or get hit by a space tsunami, it should be okay.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:32:45 PM by Silasw

"And the Bunny nails it!" ~ Gabrael

"If the UN can get through a day without everyone strangling everyone else so can we." ~ Cyran
22 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 08:33:44 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Well, one of the things I'd do with a drive like this was make it so that an explosion would cause as little damage to the rest of the ship as possible. So. Probably some way to cut off the engine from the rest of the ship. With a lot of blast proof doors.
23 Joesolo9th Dec 2012 08:43:51 PM from Wouldn't you like to know... , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
If they reactor melts down, your fucked. simple as that. I'd suggest having a second one for redundancy. I was also going to say put them behind the rest of the ship so you could "eject" it, but lets face it. if you eject your only power source while in inter-stellar space, your completely screwed if theres no rescue party coming.

[up] distance and blast plate work wonders.

edited 9th Dec '12 8:44:27 PM by Joesolo

24 AceofSpades9th Dec 2012 08:47:05 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
I also previously suggested another, emergency power source not dependent on the engine. Of course, how feasible that is in the future depends on how well you can store things like solar energy. It certainly isn't feasible now, with our rackety rocket fuel engines.
25 QuestionMarc9th Dec 2012 08:48:18 PM from Down-town Canada , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
I don't think you could afford the luxury of having a lot of distance in a spaceships.

I'm fairly sure there'd be some problems related to the frame and the weight.
Just enough pride.

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