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Space Propulsion
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Really, what propels sci-fi spaceships? Is it ion engines(like in Star Wars), gravity modification, 'Element 115,' or something else? I always see some weird blue or green exhaust coming out of the back of sci-fi spaceships. What is it?
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| March 22, 2009, 1:40 pm
Quoting Tim Cliffe
Really, what propels sci-fi spaceships? Is it ion engines(like in Star Wars), gravity modification, 'Element 115,' or something else? I always see some weird blue or green exhaust coming out of the back of sci-fi spaceships. What is it?

Well,a ships power could be a nuclear reactor.Or a rare crystal.Its scifi...Anything is possible...
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| March 22, 2009, 5:50 pm
SF, actually.

Sci-fi is another way of saying 'space opera' or 'featherbed SF', AKA starwars and startrek.

SF is also known as 'science fiction', 'hard SF' or 'soft SF'.

Basically saying, the 'harder' SF is, the more attention it pays to science and the laws of physics.

'ultrahard' SF would be science fiction that only uses technology available to us now.
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| March 22, 2009, 10:47 pm
You went a little off the path there.

Propulsion is generated by warping space time to create a wave effect, which a space ship can ride faster than the speed of light on. Turning requires sub rockets.
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| March 22, 2009, 10:52 pm
The REAL propulsion for Interstellar Star ships that is being reviewed by NASA is a thermo Nuclear propulsion Drive or TNPD, It is the continuous use of Explosives we all know as NUCLEAR BOMBS that fire in a chain reaction to start a process know as nuclear Fission, by detonating and forcing particles into each other creating a chain reaction (the Nuclear Weapons only start the reaction) from their all that needs to be supplied is Uranium Particles and It can be fully self sustainable.
Just think of it like a car engine, every time you thrust new fuel into the chamber your spark plug ignites it, but in this case it is particles beeing thrown into the new ones instead of having to re-ignite the engine every thirty seconds with a new Nuclear detonation.

It is also Known as Nuclear propulsion using continuous Fission or NPUCF.

Gravitic Propulsion is possible, by using a solar impeller forcing the spacial particles in and Pre-Ionizing them, so that the magnets in the drive can then force them out at immense speed.

Another one is Quantum Shift:
Which involves "folding" space in half and going between the the two "sheets" that are made.....IT is also Known as a "Trans-Warp Drive" It is also Highly probable, but most likely Impossible. Because the Universe is so much more powerful than we are, and therefore it doesn't bend as easily into the shape we want it, again, therefore debunking "Trans-Warp drives" or "Quantum Shift"

And the Last one is Solar Sails:
The use of Nano-metre thin polymer sails that are pushed by Particles emmited from the sun.
Which is completely Un-reliable because the further away you get, the less energy for motion you receive.
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| March 22, 2009, 11:04 pm
My explanation is: The engines make it go.
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| March 22, 2009, 11:14 pm
Quoting Martin Steenbeeke
The REAL propulsion for Interstellar Star ships that is being reviewed by NASA is a thermo Nuclear propulsion Drive or TNPD, It is the continuous use of Explosives we all know as NUCLEAR BOMBS that fire in a chain reaction to start a process know as nuclear Fission, by detonating and forcing particles into each other creating a chain reaction (the Nuclear Weapons only start the reaction) from their all that needs to be supplied is Uranium Particles and It can be fully self sustainable.
Just think of it like a car engine, every time you thrust new fuel into the chamber your spark plug ignites it, but in this case it is particles beeing thrown into the new ones instead of having to re-ignite the engine every thirty seconds with a new Nuclear detonation.

It is also Known as Nuclear propulsion using continuous Fission or NPUCF.

Gravitic Propulsion is possible, by using a solar impeller forcing the spacial particles in and Pre-Ionizing them, so that the magnets in the drive can then force them out at immense speed.

Another one is Quantum Shift:
Which involves "folding" space in half and going between the the two "sheets" that are made.....IT is also Known as a "Trans-Warp Drive" It is also Highly probable, but most likely Impossible. Because the Universe is so much more powerful than we are, and therefore it doesn't bend as easily into the shape we want it, again, therefore debunking "Trans-Warp drives" or "Quantum Shift"

And the Last one is Solar Sails:
The use of Nano-metre thin polymer sails that are pushed by Particles emmited from the sun.
Which is completely Un-reliable because the further away you get, the less energy for motion you receive.

Hey, I actually remember thinking about the solar sail thing. I didn't know somebody else had thought of it too! Cool. Thanks everyone, the best idea so far seems to be the nuclear fission engine.
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| March 23, 2009, 3:46 pm
Quoting Martin Steenbeeke
The REAL propulsion for Interstellar Star ships that is being reviewed by NASA is a thermo Nuclear propulsion Drive or TNPD, It is the continuous use of Explosives we all know as NUCLEAR BOMBS that fire in a chain reaction to start a process know as nuclear Fission, by detonating and forcing particles into each other creating a chain reaction (the Nuclear Weapons only start the reaction) from their all that needs to be supplied is Uranium Particles and It can be fully self sustainable.
Just think of it like a car engine, every time you thrust new fuel into the chamber your spark plug ignites it, but in this case it is particles beeing thrown into the new ones instead of having to re-ignite the engine every thirty seconds with a new Nuclear detonation.

It is also Known as Nuclear propulsion using continuous Fission or NPUCF.

Gravitic Propulsion is possible, by using a solar impeller forcing the spacial particles in and Pre-Ionizing them, so that the magnets in the drive can then force them out at immense speed.

Another one is Quantum Shift:
Which involves "folding" space in half and going between the the two "sheets" that are made.....IT is also Known as a "Trans-Warp Drive" It is also Highly probable, but most likely Impossible. Because the Universe is so much more powerful than we are, and therefore it doesn't bend as easily into the shape we want it, again, therefore debunking "Trans-Warp drives" or "Quantum Shift"

And the Last one is Solar Sails:
The use of Nano-metre thin polymer sails that are pushed by Particles emmited from the sun.
Which is completely Un-reliable because the further away you get, the less energy for motion you receive.



Good synopsis but you left one out perhaps as it is less common than field manipulation or light speed or warp drives - - it is what is desribed as "scudding" and is the equivalent of the water walker spiders on a pond using surface tension to move about.
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| March 24, 2009, 7:49 am
^^^^^ Ah yes, I have heard of it, but I didn't know enough to say anything about it.
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| March 24, 2009, 4:44 pm
To my knowledge that is a Magnetic drive that propels itself using magnetic fields in space.
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| March 24, 2009, 4:48 pm
so are you guys talking mainly about sublight or super-luminal propulsion?
. for sublight there are actually a wide number of highly plausible propulsion techniques, most popular among soft and hard SF alike being something broadly called Ion engines, pulse engines, or plasma engines which are all somewhat similar and often have overlapping attributes. One of the favorable features of these is that they are actual researched technologies (just not currently advanced enough for actual use as well as other complicating factors like being useless in atmosphere)
. for super-luminal, that is faster-than-light, travel you have to move to theoretical quantum physics at least and typically involve trans-dimensional methods(i.e. hyperspace), folding space (i.e. various stargate iterations and wormholes), or time manipulation (i.e. warp). all of these are theoretical at best and usually complete fantasy--err--fiction.
Does this help the discussion?
what I think it really boils down to is you can do whatever you want. It is, after all, fiction.
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| March 25, 2009, 2:30 pm
Quoting Ben Gaetke
so are you guys talking mainly about sublight or super-luminal propulsion?
. for sublight there are actually a wide number of highly plausible propulsion techniques, most popular among soft and hard SF alike being something broadly called Ion engines, pulse engines, or plasma engines which are all somewhat similar and often have overlapping attributes. One of the favorable features of these is that they are actual researched technologies (just not currently advanced enough for actual use as well as other complicating factors like being useless in atmosphere)
. for super-luminal, that is faster-than-light, travel you have to move to theoretical quantum physics at least and typically involve trans-dimensional methods(i.e. hyperspace), folding space (i.e. various stargate iterations and wormholes), or time manipulation (i.e. warp). all of these are theoretical at best and usually complete fantasy--err--fiction.
Does this help the discussion?
what I think it really boils down to is you can do whatever you want. It is, after all, fiction.

You gave me the real answer I was looking for. Thank you!
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| March 25, 2009, 9:38 pm
Geez. Gone were the days when we thought of firing a space ship through space with an enormous cannon...

There is one problem with the thermo nuclear propulsion theory. RADIATION. Using it to power a shaft turbine is one thing, but thrust would emit massive ammounts of radiation.

Folding space creates a double layer of space time, which some people believe is a key to flipping the universe over, thus seeing the other side.

Truly speaking, man people believe that we actually ride space time like a wave.

Solar sailing is bad. Ever heard of 17,000 mph pebbles? RIP!!!!

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| March 25, 2009, 9:52 pm
Well, currently, we use liquid fuel (hydrogen, I believe) rockets and Ion engines. Astronauts (and some spacecraft) use jets that shoot out gasses.

Solar Sails would be impossible. There are no "Trade Winds" in solar energy, so you could only go away from the star. Also, there's a ton of debris in space, so a sail would be torn to the point of being unusable in seconds. There's also the problem of flexibility in the sail without it freezing and shattering, and the craft would have to get into space by other means.

The atomic engines would be very possible, but take a lot of plutonium or uranium to run. And you can shield yourself from radiation, with concrete.

Ion engines are possible and extremely efficient, but they produce very little thrust and therefore would be impractical for anything but long-range probes or capital ships.

Rocket/plasma engines work very well, but require a lot of fuel.

Gravitational propulsion is very efficient and works extremely well, but you have to have a celestial being of sufficient mass for it to work. We often "slingshot" probes with this method.

Magnetic propulsion might work, but it would be very slow, like ion engines.

Quantum Shift: If it's possible, it would be by far the best.

*Catches breath*

EDIT: How could I forget my own invention, the Zeon engine?!? Basically, a series of atomic reactions generates a super-charged atom, Zeon. The engine works by splitting Zeon atoms and funneling some of the energy, radiation, heat, and other by-products into a thrust vector, which disperses the energy to different nozzles. They have an extreme amount of power, so the system is very efficient. The energy can also be used to produce a bolt of radiation and energy, which are often called "Zeon Lasers".
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| March 29, 2009, 7:50 pm
Now, so far, the propulsion on my best ships are ionic nuclear fission engines. They run by charging nuclear energy with ions, which actually stabilize the thrust, give it more energy, and possibly in the future, propel it and the rest of the craft at light speed. Sound good?
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| March 29, 2009, 10:49 pm
Sorry I haven'tc ommented in a while, but anyway, Lightspeed travel is NOT impossible, but it's close.

Explanation:
Once you get to 99% of lightspeed speed, every point ten (I think it's that) will require double the power of the original 99%.
e.g. To get to 99.1 (might be .01, can't remember), you would need to double the power put into 99, so 99*2, and so on.
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| March 30, 2009, 9:39 am
^^ And you know this How?
I guess you have travelled at the Speed of Light?
Well, let me tell you something:
WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE SPEED OF LIGHT DOES TO HUMANS, and that stuff about adding the extra energy is a load of Bunk, the Hadron generator and collider don't need to do that, and neither does the sun, or a light bulb, or for final, a CANDLE.
All I know is what we have been told by Scientists, NOT what is said in Science fiction, such as STARGATE, STAR TREK, STAR WARS, all of the "tech know-how" in those is a load of """", and It is easy to pick when people say stuff from those things, Not saying you said it, but people further up the line here have, and it is stupid to follow "Science" that is for the most part, FAKE.
So please people, If you "know" something, think before you type, and make sure it has nothing to do with MOVIES, or TV-SERIES.
Thankyou.
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| March 30, 2009, 4:55 pm
Quoting Tim Cliffe
Now, so far, the propulsion on my best ships are ionic nuclear fission engines. They run by charging nuclear energy with ions, which actually stabilize the thrust, give it more energy, and possibly in the future, propel it and the rest of the craft at light speed. Sound good?


Pretty nice explanation, but there is one problem: because the power is a combination of nuclear energy and ion engines, it would be efficient, but probably slow. Also, if you are going for energy return, like standard ion engines, you would probably only get a 50% to 75% return, instead of nearly 100%, because the nuclear power would be lost. As for the light speed matter, you would probably need an "overdrive" of sorts, because I doubt that your engine could produce that amount of power. Still, a good idea.
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| March 31, 2009, 1:05 am
Liquid Phlebotium.

That's the fuel of choice for SF writers these days. It's the ultimate fuel: clean, green, plenty of power output, easy to get, cheap, lightweight, compact and safe to drink.
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| March 31, 2009, 1:33 am
Hey dudes, keep in mind an "Ion" engine is just magnetism and static Electricity.
As long as you have a continuous supply of Ions, then your good to go.
An ION engine is just a negatively charged impeller that sucks in the particles, then regurgitates them at 200x the speed they went in (depending on the size and length of the Ion Magnetic tube, as well as the amount of Ions going in.)
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| March 31, 2009, 4:20 am
Quoting Ryan Lewis

Pretty nice explanation, but there is one problem: because the power is a combination of nuclear energy and ion engines, it would be efficient, but probably slow. Also, if you are going for energy return, like standard ion engines, you would probably only get a 50% to 75% return, instead of nearly 100%, because the nuclear power would be lost. As for the light speed matter, you would probably need an "overdrive" of sorts, because I doubt that your engine could produce that amount of power. Still, a good idea.

I forgot to say I use warp drives for lightspeed, too. But anyway, I think I'll just stick with normal ion engines.
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| March 31, 2009, 8:21 am
So in the legoverse as in the real world, there are reaction engines that use mass to create an action/reaction effect thus making the craft move. The other type is a reactionless drive that uses energy to warp or manipulate space immediatly around the craft to either move or teleport from location to location. So in designing your craft, you have to decide on the engine type and how much fuel you can carry or how big your energy requirements are and how big the unit is that powers the emission array.
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| March 31, 2009, 8:26 am
Quoting Archon Mitchell
So in the legoverse as in the real world, there are reaction engines that use mass to create an action/reaction effect thus making the craft move. The other type is a reactionless drive that uses energy to warp or manipulate space immediatly around the craft to either move or teleport from location to location. So in designing your craft, you have to decide on the engine type and how much fuel you can carry or how big your energy requirements are and how big the unit is that powers the emission array.


Well, this is Lego, so you could probably stick some wheels on the bottom for propulsion. However, you would have to choose if you were building a realistic ship.
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| March 31, 2009, 9:57 am
Quoting Areetsa C
Liquid Phlebotium.

That's the fuel of choice for SF writers these days. It's the ultimate fuel: clean, green, plenty of power output, easy to get, cheap, lightweight, compact and safe to drink.


Safe to DRINK?!?!?!? Who would drink their ship's fuel?

Also, do you mean "Good for the environment" when you say green? Doesn't seem like you could hurt a giant vacuum with gas...
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| April 2, 2009, 12:14 am
You don't drink it, you huff it.

And by 'Clean, Green And Safe For The Environment' I mean the germ cultures in your lungs.
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| April 2, 2009, 12:19 am
Quoting Areetsa C
You don't drink it, you huff it.

And by 'Clean, Green And Safe For The Environment' I mean the germ cultures in your lungs.


Umm, right...

But who would do that? That seems like something you don't want to do.
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| April 2, 2009, 10:59 am
I have always had a penchant for zero point energy frequency modalized flux generation -- but that is just me.
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| April 2, 2009, 1:36 pm
Hey, we're all builders... so we can build our own laws of physics, and no two sets of laws need be the same.

If you can find a PDF copy on the 'net, I'd recommend reading the chapter in GURPS Space about inventing your own rules for propulsion systems.

You don't even need to be consistant about things. It could be that one Alien Race does things one way, and another does it a different way just because they followed a different discovery path. This also allows you to rationalise any limitations your own brick collection might force on you if you get to a point where you're running short on "big cone engine nozzles".
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| April 3, 2009, 1:28 am
Quoting Ryan Lewis

Umm, right...

But who would do that? That seems like something you don't want to do.


Well, you know how it is; you try it once, on a dare, and before you know it, you're wandering around the spaceport looking for spills to sniff.
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| April 3, 2009, 2:05 am
You all are seriously still arguing over this? Good grief, you'd think that we would have come up with some consensus by now!
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| April 8, 2009, 9:23 pm
Ooooo. Such an interesting conversation!
Okay. Now I've got to throw in my two cents.

Anything that gets you going fast would be good, even a system that's very inefficiant and needs a lot of fuel to run because, and I can't believe nobody pointed this out, there is no friction in space. There's no gravity either. So all you do is fire the ol' engine up, get her goin', switch off the ignition, and your home free. Just don't run into anything.
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| April 10, 2009, 8:32 pm
No, you then need to turn around and fire the exact same engine for the exact same time in the exact opposite direction on the exact same throttle setting.
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| April 10, 2009, 9:42 pm
To stop in the middle of space? To fill up at the local interstellar gas station?
...I don't think so...
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| April 10, 2009, 11:14 pm
To throttle down enough to get anything useful done. The speeds needed to move between star systems are immense, and gravity can only bleed off a certain amount of velocity.
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| April 10, 2009, 11:58 pm
Then please fill me in on why you would want to slow down.
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| April 11, 2009, 12:59 am
Quoting Calvin .
Then please fill me in on why you would want to slow down.


To colonize worlds, place satellites, drop exploration parties, fight, board enemy ships or derilicts, to examine planets for enemy activity or potential minerals to exploit, there's really a whole slew of reasons.
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| April 11, 2009, 2:08 am
The most efficient form of propulsion known to minifig-kind is the spam-antispam reactor. The radiation generated by this reaction can be used to propel gas molecules, lase gas or crystal cartridges, generate current to drive warp fields, etc.

Given the combined amount of spam in my inbox and pantry, I think it's only a matter of time before a source of antispam with sufficient purity can be exploited to generate significant amounts of energy.
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| April 11, 2009, 9:31 am
Quoting Areetsa C

To colonize worlds, place satellites, drop exploration parties, fight, board enemy ships or derilicts, to examine planets for enemy activity or potential minerals to exploit, there's really a whole slew of reasons.


Just a quick question, are we talking about sci-fi, lego, or propulsion in reality?
Because in reality that's what space crafts do. They fire a few bursts then float around.
But if you were talking about sci-fi or lego, anythings possible and anything could be incorrect. For all we know the main way of transporting one thing to another through space could be spam, Wes Coleman.

Oh, and I still don't understand why you would need to fire backwards in space. Anything you would be exploring would probably either have a gravitational field or be small enough to drag along with you. Colonizing worlds you say? Worlds are known to have gravitational fields. Searching planets for enemy activity? A planet is a fancy word for world. And the satellite thing. Usually you want a satellite to orbit a, you guessed it, planet/world.

Now that I'm done raving...
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| April 11, 2009, 1:26 pm
I think that they may use a plasma venting system. Superheating space dust into plasma and firing it out of the back, similar to a jet only much more powerful. I can do science me :P
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| April 11, 2009, 3:46 pm
Quoting Calvin .

Just a quick question, are we talking about sci-fi, lego, or propulsion in reality?
Because in reality that's what space crafts do. They fire a few bursts then float around.
But if you were talking about sci-fi or lego, anythings possible and anything could be incorrect. For all we know the main way of transporting one thing to another through space could be spam, Wes Coleman.

Oh, and I still don't understand why you would need to fire backwards in space. Anything you would be exploring would probably either have a gravitational field or be small enough to drag along with you. Colonizing worlds you say? Worlds are known to have gravitational fields. Searching planets for enemy activity? A planet is a fancy word for world. And the satellite thing. Usually you want a satellite to orbit a, you guessed it, planet/world.

Now that I'm done raving...


The speeds needed to travel between star systems would be several times the speed of light.
You can't very well stay in orbit at those speeds.
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| April 11, 2009, 4:21 pm
Quoting Calvin .

Just a quick question, are we talking about sci-fi, lego, or propulsion in reality?
Because in reality that's what space crafts do. They fire a few bursts then float around.
But if you were talking about sci-fi or lego, anythings possible and anything could be incorrect. For all we know the main way of transporting one thing to another through space could be spam, Wes Coleman.

Oh, and I still don't understand why you would need to fire backwards in space. Anything you would be exploring would probably either have a gravitational field or be small enough to drag along with you. Colonizing worlds you say? Worlds are known to have gravitational fields. Searching planets for enemy activity? A planet is a fancy word for world. And the satellite thing. Usually you want a satellite to orbit a, you guessed it, planet/world.

Now that I'm done raving...


Cal, we're talking reality. Also, you have to fire Retro-rockets, or engines that shoot thrust forward. A gravitational field would have to be INCREDIBLY strong to do that. And I mean something along the lines of several hundred times the gravity of the Sun. Your planetoid would have to be the size of a small galaxy, or be a black hole. Also, you have to be in a correct orbit to put a satellite in orbit, and orbit requires a relatively slow speed. Combat at speeds past the speed of light would be near impossible, you can't board a ship at Any speed, really, and a scanner would have to be able to scan an entire planet in a trillionth of a second, or faster. Areetsa, you are totally right.

Oh, and real spacecraft don't do that. Space shuttles turn around because they fire their main engines to decelerate to a speed at which the gravitational fields can't keep them up, so they fall down to earth. If you look at the rockets that actually fly between planetoids, you'll see that they simply fly straight and use gas jets pointing in various directions to maneuver.
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| April 12, 2009, 1:24 am
Quoting Areetsa C

The speeds needed to travel between star systems would be several times the speed of light.
You can't very well stay in orbit at those speeds.


...Point well taken. Umm...yeah. No comment.

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| April 12, 2009, 1:52 am
Quoting Ryan Lewis

Cal, we're talking reality. Also, you have to fire Retro-rockets, or engines that shoot thrust forward. A gravitational field would have to be INCREDIBLY strong to do that. And I mean something along the lines of several hundred times the gravity of the Sun. Your planetoid would have to be the size of a small galaxy, or be a black hole. Also, you have to be in a correct orbit to put a satellite in orbit, and orbit requires a relatively slow speed. Combat at speeds past the speed of light would be near impossible, you can't board a ship at Any speed, really, and a scanner would have to be able to scan an entire planet in a trillionth of a second, or faster. Areetsa, you are totally right.

Oh, and real spacecraft don't do that. Space shuttles turn around because they fire their main engines to decelerate to a speed at which the gravitational fields can't keep them up, so they fall down to earth. If you look at the rockets that actually fly between planetoids, you'll see that they simply fly straight and use gas jets pointing in various directions to maneuver.


Ah, you know what I mean by floating. I wouldn't expect a spacecraft to have a bunch of thrusters in the back and only the back. I wasn't saying that spaceship never needed to slow down. It may have sounded that way but it wasn't meant that way.

Sorry for any misunderstandings.

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| April 12, 2009, 1:56 am
Quoting Calvin .
Ooooo. Such an interesting conversation!
Okay. Now I've got to throw in my two cents.

Anything that gets you going fast would be good, even a system that's very inefficiant and needs a lot of fuel to run because, and I can't believe nobody pointed this out, there is no friction in space. There's no gravity either. So all you do is fire the ol' engine up, get her goin', switch off the ignition, and your home free. Just don't run into anything.


Dude, do you know what you're talking about. There's a reason that modern-day space shuttles can only go at a speed up to 40,000mph.
AIR IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAUSES FRICTION! Inside the shuttle there is still friction. And the controls and all the things that are used to move the ship are inside the shuttle. I hope I don't have to tell you why. Anyway, another reason is that FRICTION is a force that is everywhere. If you rub two things or more together, friction is usually caused. Such is the case when in space. The shuttle rubs against space or whatever you want to call it. This causes friction. If you actually knew what friction did, it would mean that you'd know that if tehre was no friction in space, once a shuttle left Earth, the shuttle would continue at the speed it started at with no end in sight.


No friction means you'd be going at the same speed all the time if you just "fired up the 'ol engine, got her going and switch off the ignition" without doing anything else. What, you think they steer with turing wheels in space? NO! They use thrusters (or smaller engines). Light speed is only possible in space because the amount of energy it would require (probably), at first, would most likely require so many generators that it would fill up Spain.

I could get into velocity and all that stuff, but your brain might implode from knowing something.
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| April 12, 2009, 5:19 am
Quoting Areetsa C
To throttle down enough to get anything useful done. The speeds needed to move between star systems are immense, and gravity can only bleed off a certain amount of velocity.


Yes, that's why rockets were invented when you wanted to launch something into sapce and keep it there. And yes, the travelling speeds you'd need for colonizing even Mars would require something much faster than light. My guess is that teleportation grids would be set up in the future, then, to get to new uncolonized planets (with no teleportation grid), shuttles and otehr ships would roam around space until a wormhole opened up, then they'd enter the hole and colonize the nearest planet. These ships would, of course, be well stocked and prepared for most situations. I realize a big loophole in this is that you may appear somewhere on the other side of the galaxy, but that's why they'd have teleportation grids set up in the ships as well as larger ones built when they colonized said planet. That way, no problem. And I'm pretty sure that alien encounters won't be heard of as I'm guessing they exist in another galaxy. Just my brief idea. Well, this is how my ships get around anyway. Except for Eyeries, the capital ship, they have specially armoured plates that when activated create a small force that minimize the amount of friction caused by 1200%. This is LEGO, so nobody chop my head off.
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| April 12, 2009, 5:29 am
Quoting Ryan Lewis

Cal, we're talking reality. Also, you have to fire Retro-rockets, or engines that shoot thrust forward. A gravitational field would have to be INCREDIBLY strong to do that. And I mean something along the lines of several hundred times the gravity of the Sun. Your planetoid would have to be the size of a small galaxy, or be a black hole. Also, you have to be in a correct orbit to put a satellite in orbit, and orbit requires a relatively slow speed. Combat at speeds past the speed of light would be near impossible, you can't board a ship at Any speed, really, and a scanner would have to be able to scan an entire planet in a trillionth of a second, or faster. Areetsa, you are totally right.

Oh, and real spacecraft don't do that. Space shuttles turn around because they fire their main engines to decelerate to a speed at which the gravitational fields can't keep them up, so they fall down to earth. If you look at the rockets that actually fly between planetoids, you'll see that they simply fly straight and use gas jets pointing in various directions to maneuver.



Dud, you made a major mistake there. Gravity does not KEEP the shuttle UP, it is the velocity that the shuttle is traveling at that keeps it up. In space you are forever in a state of free fall, a Shuttle travels through space at ridiculous speeds, so as to "Fall" around the Earth. Because it is round, gravity is pulling on the shuttle to get it to come down, but because the shuttle is traveling so fast it is moving continuously forwards, but being pulled down. Put a drop of water on a smooth sphere, and it continually falls until there is a drop off, but in space there is no drop off, it is like the sphere is rotating, trying to keep the little droplet in its surface, while gravity pulls at it, and just imagine this little droplet traveling at about 200 000 KM an hour trying to get away from the sphere, but the sphere is turning(not really, this is where speed comes into account), allowing gravity to keep pulling on the shuttle, if the ball stops spinning the droplet runs right off, and splashes to the ground (in space it would keep going forward, but you get my idea) (this is the shuttle accelerating beyond gravity's threshold) and escaping the continuous free-fall.

When a Space shuttle flips over on its back (using RCS rockets, the little ones in the nose and tail) it then fires all of its remaining un-burned fuel to slowly decelerate from 200 000kph to 20kph, as the shuttle must maintain 1% of it's orbital velocity to survive re-entry. This can take over 1 minute.
Then it succumbs to gravity and falls, like the droplet of water finally sitting atop the sphere, not moving at all. It is not the fact that gravity keeps it up, it is that gravity tries to pull it down, and when the shuttle loses velocity it falls towards the earth.

If you throw a tennis ball as hard as you can, it can take a while to eventually slow-down and fall, due to friction in the air, reducing its speed, and allowing gravity to pull it down. Although gravity does do most of the work, friction does play a small part, just like firing the main shuttle engines, imagine they are friction, they allow gravity to finally pull it right down to earth.

I really have to wonder how old all of you guys are, as a lot of the stuff you are saying is totally mixed up, and ludicrous, and mostly from what other people have said, and don't know anything about. I'm not pointing names, but please, think, before you speak.

And A whole bunch of people will have no Idea of what I have said, and a lot of people will say what I am saying is fake. Maybe you people who think you know everything should go read a book once in a while, instead of listening to your parents. (unless they are Rocket scientists of course.)

I have had my fun, and I would like to see what all you other people say about space travel. This really is a fun conversation, especially the Spam-Power part. =)
Permalink
| April 12, 2009, 6:17 am
Quoting Topsy Cret

Dude, do you know what you're talking about. There's a reason that modern-day space shuttles can only go at a speed up to 40,000mph.
AIR IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAUSES FRICTION! Inside the shuttle there is still friction. And the controls and all the things that are used to move the ship are inside the shuttle. I hope I don't have to tell you why. Anyway, another reason is that FRICTION is a force that is everywhere. If you rub two things or more together, friction is usually caused. Such is the case when in space. The shuttle rubs against space or whatever you want to call it. This causes friction. If you actually knew what friction did, it would mean that you'd know that if tehre was no friction in space, once a shuttle left Earth, the shuttle would continue at the speed it started at with no end in sight.


No friction means you'd be going at the same speed all the time if you just "fired up the 'ol engine, got her going and switch off the ignition" without doing anything else. What, you think they steer with turing wheels in space? NO! They use thrusters (or smaller engines). Light speed is only possible in space because the amount of energy it would require (probably), at first, would most likely require so many generators that it would fill up Spain.

I could get into velocity and all that stuff, but your brain might implode from knowing something.


First off, I'd like you to realize that there are less rude ways to say such things. You should try finding them.

Of course I know that there is still friction inside the shuttle but I was never talking about that. I was talking about the friction outside the shuttle, or the lack of it. Since space is a vacuum, there is no air friction. Space is simply nothing inbetween somethings.
You don't slow down in space due to friction.

I'm quite sure I already cleared up the previous misunderstanding but incase you didn't read what I had said before jumping in and arguing I said: "I wouldn't expect a spacecraft to have a bunch of thrusters in the back and only the back." And I do believe I had said nothing at all about light speed before you brought it up.
Permalink
| April 12, 2009, 1:00 pm
Well if faster than light trouble is the main problem with sci-fi space travel, I think that the Halo fiction has quite a good way through it that is rather believeable. Its an engine that sort of breaks through dark matter, (that is the unseen substance that supposedly is vaccume, I dont really know) and sort skips a bit of space. If you know how space is like fabric, and that mass sort of pushes on the fabric making a dent. This is the attractive force (in theory) that is gravity. In Halo fiction, they made an engine that flat-out breaks through the fabric, in effect skiping a bit of space. This is actually, (apparently) folding over the fabric and then ripping through it in a controled way. Dont ask me, but I think its clever!
PS im only 14 but im rather smart and I can understand quite a lot of things. I just want to say the stuff I have just said is theoretical, and so I am not saying any of it is fact. Ta Da.
Permalink
| April 12, 2009, 5:15 pm
Quoting Topsy Cret

Dude, do you know what you're talking about. There's a reason that modern-day space shuttles can only go at a speed up to 40,000mph.
AIR IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT CAUSES FRICTION! Inside the shuttle there is still friction. And the controls and all the things that are used to move the ship are inside the shuttle. I hope I don't have to tell you why. Anyway, another reason is that FRICTION is a force that is everywhere. If you rub two things or more together, friction is usually caused. Such is the case when in space. The shuttle rubs against space or whatever you want to call it. This causes friction. If you actually knew what friction did, it would mean that you'd know that if tehre was no friction in space, once a shuttle left Earth, the shuttle would continue at the speed it started at with no end in sight.


No friction means you'd be going at the same speed all the time if you just "fired up the 'ol engine, got her going and switch off the ignition" without doing anything else. What, you think they steer with turing wheels in space? NO! They use thrusters (or smaller engines). Light speed is only possible in space because the amount of energy it would require (probably), at first, would most likely require so many generators that it would fill up Spain.

I could get into velocity and all that stuff, but your brain might implode from knowing something.


There is no friction in space.
At all. The 'space-shuttle' can only go at a certain velocity because otherwise it couldn't orbit: there is a point between 'oh no you're too slow GETBACKHERE' and 'nope, too fast, I can't hold you' where gravity is enough to keep you from flying off and your speed is high enough to keep you from coming down.
As a rule, the closer you are to the gravity well, the faster you go to keep from crashing.

A geo-stationary orbit is when you're high enough that you can move at a speed that allows you to stay at a point above the planetary surface, because the planet turns fast enough to make you, at your faster speed, appear stationary in the sky from the point of view of an observer on the surface.

It's not very complicated, really.

But anyway, if you fire an engine in space, you're just going to keep going at the same speed until either you hit something, you decellerate or gravity slows you.

Those 'thrusters' are called RCS controls, actually. There's bundles of them at appropriate points, and they fire in opposite directions to rotate around the spacecraft's centre of gravity.

And yes, there's friction caused by air in the cabin, but other than that and the force caused by firing the engines, there's nothing to stop crew from floating about.
Try reading up on 'every action causes an equal and opposite reaction' at some point if you can't understand that.
Permalink
| April 12, 2009, 6:15 pm
Quoting Martin Steenbeeke


Dud, you made a major mistake there. Gravity does not KEEP the shuttle UP, it is the velocity that the shuttle is traveling at that keeps it up. In space you are forever in a state of free fall, a Shuttle travels through space at ridiculous speeds, so as to "Fall" around the Earth. Because it is round, gravity is pulling on the shuttle to get it to come down, but because the shuttle is traveling so fast it is moving continuously forwards, but being pulled down. Put a drop of water on a smooth sphere, and it continually falls until there is a drop off, but in space there is no drop off, it is like the sphere is rotating, trying to keep the little droplet in its surface, while gravity pulls at it, and just imagine this little droplet traveling at about 200 000 KM an hour trying to get away from the sphere, but the sphere is turning(not really, this is where speed comes into account), allowing gravity to keep pulling on the shuttle, if the ball stops spinning the droplet runs right off, and splashes to the ground (in space it would keep going forward, but you get my idea) (this is the shuttle accelerating beyond gravity's threshold) and escaping the continuous free-fall.

When a Space shuttle flips over on its back (using RCS rockets, the little ones in the nose and tail) it then fires all of its remaining un-burned fuel to slowly decelerate from 200 000kph to 20kph, as the shuttle must maintain 1% of it's orbital velocity to survive re-entry. This can take over 1 minute.
Then it succumbs to gravity and falls, like the droplet of water finally sitting atop the sphere, not moving at all. It is not the fact that gravity keeps it up, it is that gravity tries to pull it down, and when the shuttle loses velocity it falls towards the earth.

If you throw a tennis ball as hard as you can, it can take a while to eventually slow-down and fall, due to friction in the air, reducing its speed, and allowing gravity to pull it down. Although gravity does do most of the work, friction does play a small part, just like firing the main shuttle engines, imagine they are friction, they allow gravity to finally pull it right down to earth.

I really have to wonder how old all of you guys are, as a lot of the stuff you are saying is totally mixed up, and ludicrous, and mostly from what other people have said, and don't know anything about. I'm not pointing names, but please, think, before you speak.

And A whole bunch of people will have no Idea of what I have said, and a lot of people will say what I am saying is fake. Maybe you people who think you know everything should go read a book once in a while, instead of listening to your parents. (unless they are Rocket scientists of course.)


Whoa, dude, that was really condescending. And I really thought that most people would already know that there's such thing as orbiting, so I just omitted that part.

Oh, and this is Lego sci-fi. They have a right to make the stuff crazy.

EDIT: Oh, and personally, I do not think that the engines firing in reverse could be compared, at least very closely, to friction, as friction is the force of slowing down an object by rubbing it against another, whereas the engines firing is simply a force moving on an object, not sliding across another object.
Permalink
| April 13, 2009, 10:03 am
Condescending? Really? Wow. Whatever happened to my brain imploding from knowing something? Was that not condescending? Or maybe questioning if I actually knew what I was talking about?

Naw, it's always alright when you say rude things. Let's just ignore little old Calvin over here and feel sorry for ourselves instead.
Permalink
| April 13, 2009, 6:41 pm
I do not know if anyone has said it yet, but we do have ion engines. A space satellite that is currently studying the sun has to maintain a counter thrust equivalent to the solar wind to keep its position exact to study the sun. The solar wind push on the satellite is the equivalent of the weight of a single piece of paper on Earth. Only the exacting thrust of an ion engine is capable of that. NASA has already used plasma engines on several probes and satellites. The results were satisfactory, but it appears that all recent probes and satellites over the past decade have had ion engines, or magnetic drives (which are the same thing, just a different means of accelerating the particles). However, everything that leaves the Earth for space still does so on solid fuel engines. Thiokol Corporation still makes the booster rockets for the space shuttle the same today, as they did 20 years ago. It remains the only thing to provide the thrust to break Earth's orbit. Once in space, you have options.
Solar sails will never see their day, as the propulsion is just too slow. To move a ship the size of the space shuttle the same speed as a current ion engine to reach Mars in 9 months (at closest distance), the solar sail would have to have the diameter of the Earth's moon.

There are some fascinating articles that came out at the same time on the subject in Astronomy, Popular Mechanics, and other space engineering magazines back in 1998 and 1999 when ion engines, magnetic ion engines, plasma and solar sails were starting to come into their own. NASA was trying several space propulsion engines to see which had the most uses. The ion engine won out as it was far more versatile and gave the best propulsion options. The nuclear engine someone mentioned here, would only be used for traversing across the vastness between stars, as the power requirements are immense, and so too is the engine itself. The expense could be justified for a large space going vessel, but not for anything inner-solar.

A few years ago there were some other fascinating articles in Scientific America on the top ten mysteries of physics, and gravity was one of them. No one knows how to reproduce gravity in any form other than centrifical (sp) force. Otherwise, the astronauts would not float weightless aboard the shuttle and the international space station, and leaving Earth's surface would be a simple matter of using a reverse gravity field to repel a ship away (like two magnets with the same ends facing each other). And magnetism has been played around with a lot, but only to accelerate particles or other items (like a rail gun), but aside from particle accelerators and a cheaper ion engine, not much more has been done with that in terms of space propulsion.
For now, space propulsion is not all that fancy. There is a lot of great pseudo-science borne out of Science Fiction, but we are a long ways off from anything we see in TV.
Permalink
| April 24, 2009, 12:19 am
In general, I think we're limited to fission, fusion, and ion drives for space travel. Faster-than-light "gravity" drives won't work, because gravity travels at the speed of light (contrary to popular myth). If you tried to use gravity to fold space, the process would take the same amount of time as it would take for a beam of light to travel to your destination. Quantum mechanics does have some faster-than-light interactions, but the very nature of these interactions is such that they can't transmit matter or even information. A lot of people have talked about having a ship generate a gravity field that "pulls" the ship itself forward, but anyone who has taken a one-year high school physics course will be able to prove in several different ways that this is unworkable.
Permalink
| April 24, 2009, 7:11 am
Ive always just assumed with the ones I build that theres a very tiny star suspended inside the engine section. its heat and solar wind are harnessed and directed to propel the spaceship. For faster than light speed, They either use a spacefold generator or wormhole generator. They both use special effects and suspension of disbelief to send things lightyears away in an instant.
Permalink
| July 11, 2009, 4:41 pm
Quoting Elite ARC: Captain Rocky
My explanation is: The engines make it go.

Best answer onthis page :)
Permalink
| August 1, 2009, 5:57 pm
I prefer the Probability Drive, as described in Hitchiker's Guide. I used to employ FTL using tachyon manipulation, but now I just think of where I want to go and I'm suddenly there. :)) There is also a process called folding space, wherein you imagine that space is like a sheet of paper with two marks on it. You just fold the paper (space) so that the two marks are together and then step across. don't ask me to explain the mechanics of it; I'm an artist, not a physicist!
Permalink
| December 29, 2009, 10:57 pm
My own theme's ships use a device called "Perception Drive".
A biomechanical device based on quantum physics.
Exploiting the principle that the state of the universe is determined upon observation, as soon as EVERY passenger on board percieves to be at the selected destination, the ship is there.
Teams of psychis are employed to enfoce the same viewpoint on the crew, through a Psi-Array.
Also, The Perception Drive performs other 2 functions:
1-Gravity. This is easy because all passengers already share a preconception about what's "up" and what's "down"
2- Defense. As long as ALL passengers think the ship is undamaged, no damage is taken. Of course, after a few shots give it a good shake, the Psychics can't enforce this viewpoint anymore, and the ship returns normally vulnerable.
This device is hundreds of meters long and it can't obviously be equipped on small ships or mechs.
Also, for the PD to work ALL people on board must share the same perception, so all untrained personnel must be put on stasis beforehand.
Permalink
| December 29, 2009, 11:16 pm
I still like the Probability Drive.
Permalink
| December 31, 2009, 1:35 pm
Quoting robert ball
I still like the Probability Drive.

My bad. I have been misquoting! The proper term is Infinite Probability Drive. I would quote it verbatim, but that would take up way too much space, more than we've got on this planet!
Permalink
| January 2, 2010, 4:08 pm
With present/looming technology, I would do a nuclear reactor with ion pulse engines. Currently, ion drives are inefficient due to fuel issues. However, I think a nuclear reactor would be sufficiant to power a good sized craft. Eventually, a fusion reactor would be ideal, but thats a little further off the horizon.

Peace ~ Packie
Permalink
| May 11, 2010, 7:18 pm
Quoting Yuri Fassio
My own theme's ships use a device called "Perception Drive".
A biomechanical device based on quantum physics.
Exploiting the principle that the state of the universe is determined upon observation, as soon as EVERY passenger on board percieves to be at the selected destination, the ship is there.
Teams of psychis are employed to enfoce the same viewpoint on the crew, through a Psi-Array.
Also, The Perception Drive performs other 2 functions:
1-Gravity. This is easy because all passengers already share a preconception about what's "up" and what's "down"
2- Defense. As long as ALL passengers think the ship is undamaged, no damage is taken. Of course, after a few shots give it a good shake, the Psychics can't enforce this viewpoint anymore, and the ship returns normally vulnerable.
This device is hundreds of meters long and it can't obviously be equipped on small ships or mechs.
Also, for the PD to work ALL people on board must share the same perception, so all untrained personnel must be put on stasis beforehand.

A very interesting view.

My own engines run using a Crystalic Resonance Powercell Generator(fictional work of mine, see the ARTCS Katana for a description). It can be used in atmospheric environments without fuel, but in space, a special condensed fuel is used as an engine coolant for the system. The fuel is circulated into the crystalic array, which ionizes the fuel and chills it at the same time due to the magnetic fields produced by the resonating crystals. The fuel is then piped through a lattice work of small pipes around the engine, acting as a radiator coolant, and further ionizing the fuel into a near plasma state. Once at this stage, the fuel is then piped directly into the furnace chamber where a quick, high-intensity burst of energy from the powercell ignites the near plasma fuel, generating massive thrust and heat, which is used to continue the ionization process. Ship systems are powered by a seperate powercell and do not require the engines to be "lit".
Permalink
| June 28, 2010, 7:52 pm
Just thought I'd join in here. My Battlestar and various Colonial and Cylon ships are fueled by a material called Tylium. It's mined from asteroids as a powder, and refined into a liquid fuel. It puts out about a half a million gigajoules per kg, which makes it about six times as potent as Uranium-235. No smoking, please.
Permalink
| June 28, 2010, 9:54 pm
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