View Single Post
Old Mar 14th 2013, 09:43 PM
dilettante's Avatar
dilettante dilettante is offline
Resident Historian
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,082
Default Re: Future Science & Technology

Originally Posted by Michael View Post
And since we're on the topic of space travel...

In order to have sci-fi space travel via wormholes, I need to have a spaceship. Obviously, we'll be using robot/probes/drones to explore wormholes and do all the dangerous stuff, but eventually we are going to need a ship that will fly from Earth orbit out past Pluto, go through the wormhole, then fly across some other solar system to reach orbit around some new planet. Traveling at 1/1000th of the speed of light, still makes such a journey take at least a month - and that's pretty damn fast by human standards (roughly a million km per hour).

Realistically, that means any such journey is going to take at least a few months or even half a year, though over time I'm sure advancing technology would speed up the process. On this basis, I've been wrestling with the idea of a suitable spaceship idea. I just can't accept the idea of inventing 'artificial gravity' though you can simulate it with centrifugal forces if the diameter is large enough for human scale. That means any spaceship that looks like a spaceship is going to have a zero-gravity cabin issue to deal with. That may be all well and fine for specialist astronauts on the International Space Station orbiting earth, but I don't see how we can have space ships shuttling any substantial number of colonists to another planet on a six month journey in zero gravity. That might work at the beginning, but we will need larger ships that have 'simulated' gravity so human body-functions can function normally.

So now I'm thinking about giant spaceships that look like a Stanford Torus - mounting an engine in the middle axis. That design seems suitable for human habitation and can simulate sufficient gravity to make life semi-normal. It also makes large-scale immigration theoretically possible if you can load up 100,000+ people onto the ship for each journey.

It does seem rather awkward and unromantic from a 'Star Trek/Wars' perspective to have such oddly unconventional shaped spaceships, but I just don't see any other way to make it realistic and feasible (even if it is just sci-fi).

Any ideas out there about spaceships?
When it comes to sending 100,000+ people on a multi-month trip through space, I think most of them are going to have to be in some sort of suspended-animation for most of the trip. Otherwise you're going to have to either (1) take a ludicrous number of supplies with you or (2) create a closed ecosystem capable of supporting that many people on board a space ship. Both those options would take up a massive amount of space (possibly more space than everything else on the ship combined) and you'd have to bring along enough fuel to lug it all around with you. With suspended-animation, you can pack 'em in like sardines with only minimal supplies of oxygen and food.
Also, I'd think that the personality types that would do well when it comes to risking their lives to create new outposts on some foreign planet would NOT do very well shut up inside a ship for months on end. Better to have them all sleeping.

This way, if the only awake people are the professional pilots and navigators who live and breath space-travel as their livelihood, you can still have zero-g living quarters and thus cooler ship designs.
kyrie eleison

Last edited by dilettante; Mar 14th 2013 at 09:48 PM.
Reply With Quote