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Thread: Design A Sub-light Spaceship Drive

  1. #1 Design A Sub-light Spaceship Drive 
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    This could be fun.

    All drives will be based on what Newton said: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Which means there should be a side effect with your drive, no matter how awesome it is. Whether it is a negative side effect I don't care, just make sure there is a side effect.


    Here is mine. I actually got two.

    Gravity Drive: Creates a continuous field of gravity around the spaceship that allows it to maneuver like a airplane even while in space. Side effect: The spaceship will rotate the entire time.

    Stable Drive: Works like the Gravity drive but not as long term. It allows you 60 minutes of use, and after that it will require 60 minutes of rest before you can use it again. Till then you had better have rockets or something. The reason why is because the ship itself polarizes to the gravity effect after 60 minutes of use. So swapping a battery wouldn't make a difference. The polarization goes away after 60 minutes.

    The only PLUS with Stable Drives is that your ship WON'T rotate. At all. So it's good mainly for lateral cannon aiming. Since from the center you wouldn't lose any advantage.

    By the way, the rotation of gravity drives WON'T effect the gravity inside the gravity drive ships. All ships have gravity onboard like Star Trek ships.


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  3. #2  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post
    Gravity Drive: Creates a continuous field of gravity around the spaceship that allows it to maneuver like a airplane even while in space.
    How?

    Side effect: The spaceship will rotate the entire time.
    Er, why do you think this?

    Stable Drive: Works like the Gravity drive but not as long term. It allows you 60 minutes of use, and after that it will require 60 minutes of rest before you can use it again. Till then you had better have rockets or something. The reason why is because the ship itself polarizes to the gravity effect after 60 minutes of use. So swapping a battery wouldn't make a difference. The polarization goes away after 60 minutes.
    I.e. it's the same as the above, but only for an hour.
    What do you mean by "polarises to the gravity effect"?

    The only PLUS with Stable Drives is that your ship WON'T rotate.
    Why not since it's apparently the same thing as a "Gravity drive"?


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  4. #3  
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    For me Scifi is only enjoyable if it offers at least plausible and internally consistent explanations and roles in the stories. Don't think your rotating gravity drives meets that criteria
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  5. #4  
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    [QUOTE=Dywyddyr;493132]
    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post
    Gravity Drive: Creates a continuous field of gravity around the spaceship that allows it to maneuver like a airplane even while in space.
    How?

    Side effect: The spaceship will rotate the entire time.
    Er, why do you think this?

    It's fiction, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you can manipulate gravity, you can do pretty much anything that has to do with moving things around. The sun pulls stuff towards it, and the ship can be pulled ANY direction it needs to by an ultra powerful manipulated gravity field it's generating.

    By polarizes to gravity effect I mean that ships with stable drives become immune to the gravity effect after an hour. Stable drive is a more basic form of gravity drive. As much as fictional engineers would like to have star trek like maneuvering ships, the rotating gravity drive is the best they can do for continuous maneuvers. In-universe physics work that way.


    The only reason I did this is to make a plausible reason (not by science as much as in-universe) why some ships fly like airplanes and why some don't in-universe. Star Trek avoided explaining this since it was an afterthought. But not for me.

    Needless to say, gravity and stable drives better than chemical rocket or even Orion drives by a long shot, since they have better maneverability.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    For me Scifi is only enjoyable if it offers at least plausible and internally consistent explanations and roles in the stories. Don't think your rotating gravity drives meets that criteria
    You have a right to your opinion. Star Trek probably isn't for you then. Why the Klingons and Rommies never bothered to make cloaked torpedoes is because the writers never thought of it. Plus it would probably overpower them. And it wouldn't follow the rule of cool.
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    Am i the only one to think:
    Great sails to catch and ride the solar winds?

    Once outside the solar system, beyond the heliopause, there are various forms of radiation(energy) flowing throughout the galaxy and universe.
    If one could isolate and enhance the varied forms of radiant energy, they could/might be used for propulsion and navigation?
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  8. #7  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post
    and the ship can be pulled ANY direction it needs to by an ultra powerful manipulated gravity field it's generating.
    Oh good.
    A ship generates a massive gravity field: doesn't that wreck any solar system it's in?

    It's fiction, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
    IOW it might as well be fairies climbing outside the ship and pushing.
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; November 26th, 2013 at 12:12 PM.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post
    and the ship can be pulled ANY direction it needs to by an ultra powerful manipulated gravity field it's generating.
    Oh good.
    A ship generates a massive gravity field: doesn't that wreck any solar syatem it's in?

    It's fiction, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
    IOW it might as well be fairies climbing outside the ship and pushing.
    OK, if science fiction has taught me anything, it's that you should never use real world stuff when describing stuff that you don't fully understand the possibilities of.

    So instead of gravity, it will be forcefields.

    New names: Kinetic drive and stable drive. It's an isolated system that flaunts universal rules of inertia in space. Kinetic field lasts so long you supply power. Stable field disables after an hour, along with an hour to rest.
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  10. #9  
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    What does that actually mean? How does it violate the "rules of inertia"? Why not make something that work within our understanding of physics. There are plenty of possibilities if you're keeping faster than light travel out of the mix.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorbo View Post

    OK, if science fiction has taught me anything, it's that you should never use real world stuff when describing stuff that you don't fully understand the possibilities of.
    Then you have been reading/watching the wrong science fiction.

    The best science fiction sticks as closely as possible to "real world stuff" as possible and deviates from this only for the purpose of the story. You don't just invent a type of space drive just for the sake of doing so, you do it so that it advances the story. If you need to get from A to B in a reasonable time frame you invent a drive that allows you to do this. If that is all you need it for, you don't need to go into any detail as to how it works at all. You go into this type of detail only when it is integral to the plot; when how the drive works affects the story.

    For example, in The Mote in God's Eye, the authors' interstellar drive worked by allowing you to travel only between particular end-points in each star system. You had to plot these points and travel to them in order to "jump" to another star and come out at another. The point was that not all stars had convenient jump points, and as a result mankind spread out into a large empire while missing a alien species living right in the middle of it because they lived in one of those star systems. The story involves their discovery of this species.

    Here, the manner in which the drive worked set up the whole premise of the story.
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  12. #11  
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    Regardless of what fancy convoluted language Sci fi uses to violate the physics of matter and energy, it is no different from a wizard waving his magic wand.
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    All drives will be based on what Newton said: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Which means there should be a side effect with your drive, no matter how awesome it is.
    You can go .99C for an hour. But then you get acne.
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  14. #13  
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    Just curious... but why "sub-light" drive only?
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    Have your ship ping-pong between branes!

    And make the plot more realistic, I concur.

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    I like the "one miracle" approach to sci-fi. Limit yourself to one break from reality and make that break as internally consistent as possible. You can derive several pieces of sci-fi tech from the one miracle though. But yeah, like Janus said, the story really should come first.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster View Post
    I like the "one miracle" approach to sci-fi. Limit yourself to one break from reality and make that break as internally consistent as possible. You can derive several pieces of sci-fi tech from the one miracle though. But yeah, like Janus said, the story really should come first.
    I like the approach that Larry Niven took with his transfer booths. You stepped into something like a telephone booth, entered a number for another booth and "poof" you were there. He explained it as a QM type of jump where you got from one point to another without crossing the distance between.

    The downside was that momentum and energy were conserved. If you tried to jump too large of a distance, the difference between your relative speed due to Earth's rotation would smack you against the walls of the booth. If you made a large elevation change, you either gained or lost heat to make up for the potential energy difference and could cook or freeze.

    Then he went on to write stories based on how such a technology would effect society. (For example, an alibi became less of a defense when you be at a party, step out, transport across town, kill someone, and then pop back in before anyone even noticed that you had left. )
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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    A space ship with a gravity drive sounds neat. And I was thinking , why not just make your own gravity and and direct it for thrust. Then again gravity isn't understood well enough yet to make it. How about just using an old fashion ramjet which sucks up matter and energy, then ionizises it to smitherines and blows it out the back for propulsion. But then you would have to stay in the ranges of space matter. You couldn't go where no matter has been before.
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  19. #18  
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    Janus - I found Vernor Vinge's "The Witling" interesting; aliens had telekinetic/teleport abilities but the laws of conservation of energy were not broken; they arrived with velocity and momentum intact and for moderate distances they went from pool to pool (swapping themselves with the water) with the water braking their motion and dissipating the energy. Boats would be 'renged' from one lake or pond to midair above another, to slam into the water with all the relative velocity from it's starting point. Rocks from far away became projectile weapons. The humans travelled back to their spacecraft/base with air teleported from elsewhere providing an upward wind to lift a parachute. I think it's the only example I've encountered where teleportation conceded anything to the laws of physics.
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