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View Full Version : I wonder what happenes when they try to get it right



AKONI
2011-Aug-17, 02:33 AM
Working on a script. Some of it will take place in space. Doing my best to keep the science right even though the premise is completely improbable. Since the people who get credit for a script aren't the only ones who write it (the Screenwriter's guild does not allow credit to be given to someone who does a re-write unless they've changed so much of it they actually wrote as much if not more than the original writer) I'm wondering how many writers get the science right, but have their work re-written by someone (director/actor/hack) who doesn't know a worm hole from a star cluster.


I've got someone flying in space, but it can't be like Superman who has no means of creating thrust, so I'm making it so something comes out of his feet (equal opposite reaction) to propel him. If this is ever made there's a chance the stuff coming out of his feet will somehow never make it to the screen.

"Something." "Stuff." I'm writing that here because I can't say what it is.


I've also found an improbable but plausible way to keep him alive in space without a suite.

I told my writing partner, "We're not getting the science wrong unless we have to." Have to = I have to make up some planets.

I don't think the mistakes Hollywood makes can be chalked up to ignorance alone. They have to go hand in hand with laziness. Heck, if someone just bought The Universe DVD collection it would correct half their problems.

Solfe
2011-Aug-17, 05:16 AM
How long is the person doing without a suit? I suppose you could subscribe to altered DNA and say the person is able to bypass their lungs for a time. Babies do this in the womb, but once they are born, the ability is gone. I have no idea how long that would give you, but I would imagine it would be less than holding your breath underwater.

Does the person have any technology at all? I just don't think there is a biological process to generate thrust. Well. I can think of one, but it doesn't come out of your feet. :)

Edit - google foramen ovale, ductus arteriosus and ductus venosus. Yeah! I remembered something from high school!

HenrikOlsen
2011-Aug-17, 05:47 AM
And "crocodilian heart".

NEOWatcher
2011-Aug-17, 12:18 PM
I've got someone flying in space, but it can't be like Superman who has no means of creating thrust, so I'm making it so something comes out of his feet (equal opposite reaction) to propel him.
Every shot of Superman (and other flying heros) that I remember have a cape flapping in the air. Perhaps the cape has some complicated way of providing thrust and lift. :think:


Babies do this in the womb...
But have an adaquate alternate oxygen and CO2 transfer conduit.

...but once they are born, the ability is gone.
When that conduit is cut.

Perhaps the mutation could be some kind of alternate organ that stores the pure forms of the gases. (kind of a gas version of a capacitor).

AKONI
2011-Aug-17, 01:55 PM
How long is the person doing without a suit? I suppose you could subscribe to altered DNA and say the person is able to bypass their lungs for a time. Babies do this in the womb, but once they are born, the ability is gone. I have no idea how long that would give you, but I would imagine it would be less than holding your breath underwater.

Does the person have any technology at all? I just don't think there is a biological process to generate thrust. Well. I can think of one, but it doesn't come out of your feet. :)

Edit - google foramen ovale, ductus arteriosus and ductus venosus. Yeah! I remembered something from high school!



He has a natural shield that remains just above or on the surface of his skin, which replaces the use of a pressurized suite, and I can't say what comes out of his feet. Though I can say his body lowers his need for oxygen so his absorption rate is less, allowing him to remain in space this way for about an hour. He can move at the speed of light, but it's a one hour round trip.

Now that I wrote that.... What is within a half hour at light speed from the Earth? I'm obviously still working out the details.

Solfe
2011-Aug-17, 02:02 PM
Without looking things up, I suspect you could make it to Mars and some asteroids plus the moon.

Orlagh Maher
2011-Aug-17, 03:53 PM
Here is a list of ranges to parts of the solar system in light minutes. (http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/universe/duguide/app_light_travel_time_dista.php) Planets past Mars are out of range, Jupiter by only a smallish amount.

AKONI
2011-Aug-17, 10:59 PM
Thanks, Orlagh Maher!!!

Moose
2011-Aug-18, 01:32 AM
Every shot of Superman (and other flying heros) that I remember have a cape flapping in the air. Perhaps the cape has some complicated way of providing thrust and lift. :think:

Simple enough: think "silent but violent" with a thrust-to-weight ratio only a super man could produce.

/ (Gives a whole new understanding to Wonder Woman's "invisible jet", doesn't it?)

BigDon
2011-Aug-18, 03:24 AM
What AKONI said Mr. (?) Maher!

Nice link!

Van Rijn
2011-Aug-18, 08:38 AM
He can move at the speed of light, but it's a one hour round trip.


I know this isn't meant to be realistic, but to me, if he travels at the speed of light, boot rockets make less sense than teleportation: You can't accelerate to the speed of light, and it takes incredible energy to get close (so much that the thrust would be a great death ray). Also, if you could get close to the speed of light, you could travel the entire visible universe in a second (from your point of view), as long as you didn't hit something.

Also, don't forget you do have to stop at the other end. How does he stop? Even without relativity, there wouldn't be much time to react, and if he ran into (say) Mars at extreme, almost-light, speed, it will be far more impressive than any nuclear bomb.

How about, instead of boot rockets, he has a gizmo that turns him into a light beam. The light beam will fade out if he tries to travel too far, but if it hits something massive (like a moon, spaceship or planet) before fading, it will turn back to normal matter (but don't ask why). He experiences no time passing while as a light beam.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Aug-18, 10:55 AM
I thought the point of the refusal to explain was that he's either urinating or defecating through his soles, not that he's using boot rockets.

AKONI
2011-Aug-19, 01:34 AM
I know this isn't meant to be realistic, but to me, if he travels at the speed of light, boot rockets make less sense than teleportation: You can't accelerate to the speed of light, and it takes incredible energy to get close (so much that the thrust would be a great death ray). Also, if you could get close to the speed of light, you could travel the entire visible universe in a second (from your point of view), as long as you didn't hit something.

Also, don't forget you do have to stop at the other end. How does he stop? Even without relativity, there wouldn't be much time to react, and if he ran into (say) Mars at extreme, almost-light, speed, it will be far more impressive than any nuclear bomb.

How about, instead of boot rockets, he has a gizmo that turns him into a light beam. The light beam will fade out if he tries to travel too far, but if it hits something massive (like a moon, spaceship or planet) before fading, it will turn back to normal matter (but don't ask why). He experiences no time passing while as a light beam.

No boot rockets. It's something that's naturally occurring, or rather, one of his abilities.

Stopping in time. You just reminded me that a journey to Mars would include turning the ship around midway in order to slow down in time to stop at Mars (I think I read it on this site a few years ago) . In that case he would have to turn around halfway through his journey with the stuff still coming out of his feet. The same stuff comes out of his hands, which is how he's able to make turns in space (like thrusters on the side of a ship).

baskerbosse
2011-Aug-19, 01:14 PM
He has a natural shield that remains just above or on the surface of his skin, which replaces the use of a pressurized suite, and I can't say what comes out of his feet. Though I can say his body lowers his need for oxygen so his absorption rate is less, allowing him to remain in space this way for about an hour. He can move at the speed of light, but it's a one hour round trip.

Now that I wrote that.... What is within a half hour at light speed from the Earth? I'm obviously still working out the details.

You don't need half an hour to get whereever you would like at light speed.
As speed approaches light speed, travel time approaches zero due to relativistic time dilation.
Essentially, you can get anywhere in the universe in no time at all.

Catch here is; -You cannot travel at light speed. :-)

Peter

AKONI
2011-Aug-19, 01:51 PM
Okay, how close can you come to light speed?

Hal37214
2011-Aug-19, 08:05 PM
Okay, how close can you come to light speed?

99.9999...%, but although Superman can fly to Krypton without needing to shave along the way, when he returns to Earth, many years/centuries/eons will have passed.

Paul Wally
2011-Aug-19, 08:48 PM
I don't think the mistakes Hollywood makes can be chalked up to ignorance alone. They have to go hand in hand with laziness.

Sometimes it's neither ignorance nor laziness. For example it takes some work to create all those incredible sound effects in space even though they must know there's no sound in space.

AKONI
2011-Aug-19, 10:57 PM
99.9999...%, but although Superman can fly to Krypton without needing to shave along the way, when he returns to Earth, many years/centuries/eons will have passed.

Okay, how do I calculate it? Lets say it's a trip to Pluto and back at 99.9999...%,

Or a trip to Proxima Centauri?


What steps do I take to figure it out?

Hal37214
2011-Aug-19, 11:48 PM
Okay, how do I calculate it? Lets say it's a trip to Pluto and back at 99.9999...%,

Or a trip to Proxima Centauri?


What steps do I take to figure it out?

Sorry, I'm not a math guy, but I know that there was a very recent thread, I think in S/A Q&A, in which someone provided equations for time dilation calculations.

eburacum45
2011-Aug-21, 04:04 PM
Here are a couple of space-adapted clades from Orion's Arm that might inspire you;
Vacuum Adapted Humans (http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/47f6f4568b9da)
The Sailors of the Ebon Sea (http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/47f597011eb3c)

The Sailors spread a plasma sail, which can be used for propulsion. Here's a NASA .pdf about the feasibility of using such a plasma sail.
http://www.psfc.mit.edu/library1/catalog/reports/2000/05ja/05ja026/05ja026_full.pdf

Unfortunately this wouldn't get you anywhere near lightspeed.

baskerbosse
2011-Aug-22, 12:01 AM
Okay, how do I calculate it? Lets say it's a trip to Pluto and back at 99.9999...%,

Or a trip to Proxima Centauri?


What steps do I take to figure it out?

You can try this :
http://www.cthreepo.com/lab/math1.shtml

-Resources for Science Fiction Writers..

Peter

starcanuck64
2011-Aug-23, 08:46 PM
How long is the person doing without a suit? I suppose you could subscribe to altered DNA and say the person is able to bypass their lungs for a time. Babies do this in the womb, but once they are born, the ability is gone. I have no idea how long that would give you, but I would imagine it would be less than holding your breath underwater.

Does the person have any technology at all? I just don't think there is a biological process to generate thrust. Well. I can think of one, but it doesn't come out of your feet. :)

Edit - google foramen ovale, ductus arteriosus and ductus venosus. Yeah! I remembered something from high school!

Water boils in a vacuum, I think that would kill you long before you ran out of oxygen.

KaiYeves
2011-Aug-23, 10:47 PM
Here are a couple of space-adapted clades from Orion's Arm that might inspire you;
Vacuum Adapted Humans (http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/47f6f4568b9da)
The Sailors of the Ebon Sea (http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/47f597011eb3c)

Those are really cool concepts!

Jeff Root
2011-Aug-24, 01:21 AM
AKONI,

Anything "coming out" of your hero's feet to propel him describes a
rocket. As Van Rijn said, no rocket can accelerate to anything close
to the speed of light. Why? Because it would require an enormous
amount of propellant (whatever it is coming out of his feet), and
because it would take a long time to accelerate to such a high
speed. Theoretically the most efficient propellant you could have
would be light, specifically gamma rays, produced by the interaction
between antimatter and ordinary matter. Such a gamma-ray rocket
would produce extremely low thrust unless the beam was terribly
intense, in which case it would, as Van Rijn said, be a death ray
to eveything and everyone below your hero's feet. A low intensity
gamma-ray rocket would mean your hero would have a hard time
getting off the ground against Earth's gravity, and would accelerate
slowly once in space.

If your hero accepted a less efficient rocket with greater thrust, so
that he can get a higher acceleration without projecting death rays,
he will need to carry with him a propellant tank at least as big as the
one the Space Shuttle carried. Maybe ten or a hundred times that
size. Whatever comes out of his feet will still be fairly dangerous
to those below, though not as bad as gamma rays.

Although rockets are pretty much the only way to get around it in
reality, they cannot give your hero the capabilities he needs.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

mike alexander
2011-Aug-24, 05:50 AM
Let's say you wanted to get to Mars in an hour. Call the trip 50 million miles. My rough calculation suggests accelerating at 5000 gravities for half an hour, flipping over and decelerating at 5000 gravities for half an hour.

A major problem here is that the traveler is going to be rather badly squashed in the direction of travel.

Tog
2011-Aug-24, 09:01 AM
For propulsion, how about this...

He has some property that acts on hydrogen atoms and molecules similar to magnetism. To accelerate, he draws hydrogen atoms in from in front of his body. As they draw near, he moves forward. In effect, he'd be like a cross between a Gauss gun and a Bussard ramscoop.

Another method might be to allow him the ability to break down atoms to the particle state (somehow), and project a large volume of pure Higgs Bosons out in front, effectively creating something like a small black hole that he falls towards. Since the energy needed to create this effect must be precisely collimated, it constantly moves out in front of him in a series of short pulses. Also similar to a Gauss gun. He creates the black hole 100 feet away and it drawn toward it at some acceleration. at 80 feet, that hole vanishes and a new one is created at 100 feet. This continues until he gets up to speed.

Maybe the field that keeps him alive in space also forces the gravity well to only pull in one direction so it doesn't disrupt other planets nearby.

Noclevername
2011-Aug-31, 06:55 PM
For propulsion, how about this...

He has some property that acts on hydrogen atoms and molecules similar to magnetism. To accelerate, he draws hydrogen atoms in from in front of his body. As they draw near, he moves forward. In effect, he'd be like a cross between a Gauss gun and a Bussard ramscoop.

Another method might be to allow him the ability to break down atoms to the particle state (somehow), and project a large volume of pure Higgs Bosons out in front, effectively creating something like a small black hole that he falls towards. Since the energy needed to create this effect must be precisely collimated, it constantly moves out in front of him in a series of short pulses. Also similar to a Gauss gun. He creates the black hole 100 feet away and it drawn toward it at some acceleration. at 80 feet, that hole vanishes and a new one is created at 100 feet. This continues until he gets up to speed.

Maybe the field that keeps him alive in space also forces the gravity well to only pull in one direction so it doesn't disrupt other planets nearby.


It's simpler to say that he just somehow manipulates localized gravity, using Earth as a "springboard" and Mars as a braking platform. Possibly he somehow (using that word a lot here) unifies the EM and gravatic forces, allowing him to manipulate gravity fields like magnetic fields via bioelectricity (I believe that's how Superman's flight was explained after the John Byrne reboot in the 80's).

AKONI
2011-Sep-02, 01:49 AM
I just want to say you people are TERRIFIC!!!

Noclevername
2011-Sep-04, 02:16 AM
I just want to say you people are TERRIFIC!!!

We are, aren't we? Er, I mean, thank you! ;)