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SSJPabs
2004-Dec-09, 07:00 PM
If I could, I'd throw all my legal schoolin' over the side and just draw CG spacecraft all the live-long day!

Alas, I can't. But I'm wondering, human spaceships are almost ALWAYS shaped like a submarine with stuff stuck on it. That's fine, I can live with that particular convention.

But for "alien" spaceships, what are some of the more inventive looking designs you've seen of thought up yourself?

SkepticJ
2004-Dec-09, 08:10 PM
But for "alien" spaceships, what are some of the more inventive looking designs you've seen of thought up yourself?

Ooooo goodie!(said like a little school girl)

I've fond of spaceship designs that look biological sort of. This is quite rational to. Biological systems have had millions of years of natural selection work on them to produce structures that have maximum surface area for a small volume and vice versa. Curved shapes are better. More stuff can fit inside a ball that is build using less material than a cube.

A ship that looks like a cluster of grapes.
One that looks like a stack of M&Ms one on top of the other.
Various cones that taper at varying spots down the length.
A large torus with small spheres here and there on it.
A large sphere with a much smaller one attached by a few small contact tubes.
One that looks like a mushroom that has a sphere on the other end of the stalk from the large cap.
And other stuff that is much to hard to describe. I'd need to draw them.

Moose
2004-Dec-09, 08:37 PM
I think my favorite non-cylendar design would be the Imperial-Class Star Destroyer.

The wedge shape means that every single weapon on its superstructure, except directly aft, can be aimed forward.

eburacum45
2004-Dec-09, 08:57 PM
This is a human ship, but as it is loosely based on Stephen Baxter's alien Gaijin Flowerships; (a RAIR ramscoop design).
so strictly speaking it is an alien ship.
http://www.orionsarm.com/ships/RAIR_ship.jpg

tofu
2004-Dec-09, 09:36 PM
Have you seen this website:

http://www.merzo.net/

It has scale drawings of hundreds of sci fi space ships. I've always liked the vaguely biological designs that japanese studios do. For example, the zentron or marduke ships from Macross

SSJPabs
2004-Dec-09, 09:54 PM
Have you seen this website:

http://www.merzo.net/

It has scale drawings of hundreds of sci fi space ships. I've always liked the vaguely biological designs that japanese studios do. For example, the zentron or marduke ships from MacrossBeing a big time anime fan, and being heavily influenced by that style in my own storytelling, I know exactly what you mean.

Although I'm trying to get away from too much of the "bio" type designs. I mean, they're cool but so many people do them and it might confuse others into thinking they WERE really biological ships.

paulie jay
2004-Dec-10, 01:47 AM
For innovative design I don't think you could ever beat the flaming pie plates from Plan 9 From Outer Space. 8)

Maksutov
2004-Dec-10, 06:10 AM
For innovative design I don't think you could ever beat the flaming pie plates from Plan 9 From Outer Space. 8)
The folks who made the documentary Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The Plan 9 Companion that is part of the deluxe Plan 9 DVD looked into this and found out the saucers were actually "flying saucer" plastic model kits. This of course contradicts a quote from Ed Wood about the saucers being Cadillac hubcaps.

Nevertheless the deployment of these models is groundbreaking, what with the non-GR/SR/QM force fields concentrated in a single thin white line leading up from each saucer!

Hutch
2004-Dec-10, 02:19 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Damburger
2004-Dec-10, 02:53 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?

papageno
2004-Dec-10, 03:05 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?
Why not egg-shaped (there is a reason why eggs have such a shape...)?

DataCable
2004-Dec-10, 06:45 PM
Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?
Stronger in what sense? What types of force is it subjected to?

Compared to a cube, a sphere will enclose greater volume with equal surface area, or equal volume with less surface area. But since such vessels are essentially solid (or a "dense foam," if you will) instead of a hollow shell, such concerns are of little consequence.



Why not egg-shaped (there is a reason why eggs have such a shape...)?
Because it's easier to expel from the mother's body, perhaps? (Then again, it seemed to work for the Orkians.)

eburacum45
2004-Dec-10, 07:20 PM
A very large cube (larger than say 1000km on a side) could be compared to a sphere with eight pyramidal mountains evenly spaced on its surface; the mountains would tend to collapse under their own weight.

Swift
2004-Dec-10, 08:44 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?
Why not egg-shaped (there is a reason why eggs have such a shape...)?
Well Mork & Mindy had an egg-shaped space craft! :D
http://www.toymania.com/334archives/mork/mork_carded.jpg

ToSeek
2004-Dec-10, 09:13 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?
Why not egg-shaped (there is a reason why eggs have such a shape...)?

Eggs are probably supposed to be spherical or very nearly but need to be elongated a little to make it easier for hens to lay them.

SeanF
2004-Dec-10, 09:23 PM
The Borg cube is hardly pretty, but probably makes the most sense in that it maximizes cube while not being concerned with beauty or styling (hey, if I'm never going within ten thousand miles of an atmosphere, why do I need to have an aerodynamic ship?)

Now all I need is that reactionless hyperspace drive......

Surely their sphere ships make more sense? Not withstanding funky star trek technology, a sphere is a stronger shape than a cube is it not?
Why not egg-shaped (there is a reason why eggs have such a shape...)?
Eggs are probably supposed to be spherical or very nearly but need to be elongated a little to make it easier for hens to lay them.
Eggs, as far as I know, are shaped the way they are because if they where spherical, they'd roll away. The way they're shaped, they just roll in little circles.

SkepticJ
2004-Dec-11, 02:57 AM
Although I think the show LEXX is one of the dumbest shows I've ever watched, I think the ship looks really cool. It's 10km long! It makes the Enterprise E look like a toy.

darkhunter
2004-Dec-11, 10:14 AM
Spherical ships in Science Fiction (just off the top of my head):

The Kzinti warships (pre hyperdrive) (Larry Niven-Known Space series)


Most of Clarke's ships (two spheres joined by a lond tube to seperate the drive from the crew)

Titan A.E. (the big one they're looking for)

The ons from an Alan Norse (I think) book I read once (can't remember the title--synopsis: young man finds what turns out to be an alien map showing the planet betweeen Mars and Jupiter before it turned into the Asteroid belt [sorry-last time I read it was over 20 years ago, and the science was right for the time it was written]. I seem to remember corporate warfare/piracy involved somehow...)

T.I.E. fighters (most of them)

I think Psshtpok's ship had at least two sherical sections (not sure about the drive section--I think it was a double torus) (Larry Niven-Protector/Known Space series)

Puppeteer General Products #1 and #4 hulls (Larry Niven-Known Space series)

does a Dyson Sphere qualify here too?

eburacum45
2004-Dec-11, 11:56 AM
The Skylark of Space and the Lady Macbeth...

papageno
2004-Dec-11, 01:36 PM
The Death Star!

(Well, since it is so big, maybe there is not much choice...)

Vilim
2004-Dec-11, 06:16 PM
I have always been fond of Douglas Adams's description of the Vogons ship in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


Like all Vogon ships it looked as if had been not so much designed as congealed. The unpleasant yellow lumps and edifices which protruded from it at unsightly angles would have disfigured the looks of most ships, but in this case that was sadly impossible. Uglier things may have been spotted in the skies, but not by reliable witnesses.

If it doesn't have to go in an atmosphere, why does it need to be aerodynamic, or aesthetic?

darkhunter
2004-Dec-11, 06:36 PM
The Death Star!

(Well, since it is so big, maybe there is not much choice...)


T.I.E. fighters (most of them)

[hangs head in shame]

...and I was wracking my brain for examples, got the T.I.E. fighter, and missed the most obvious one from the movie :oops:

edit fixed quote coding

Krel
2004-Dec-11, 06:47 PM
[quote="darkhunter"]
The ons from an Alan Norse (I think) book I read once (can't remember the title--synopsis: young man finds what turns out to be an alien map showing the planet betweeen Mars and Jupiter before it turned into the Asteroid belt [sorry-last time I read it was over 20 years ago, and the science was right for the time it was written]. I seem to remember corporate warfare/piracy involved somehow...)
[quote]

Darkhunter, I believe the title is "Raiders From The Rings". A great, fun book, I wish that I could find a copy.

Robert Heinlein's Torch Ships were sphereical.

David.

Humots
2004-Dec-11, 06:50 PM
Here's another website:

www.starships.com

One of the ships on this site is the famous "Umbrella" Mars ship, which is definitely not aerodynamic:

www.starships.com/SF_Image75.HTML

Humots
2004-Dec-11, 06:53 PM
Darkhunter, I believe the title is "Raiders From The Rings". A great, fun book, I wish that I could find a copy.

Actually, I believe it was "Scavengers in Space" by the same author.

Gullible Jones
2004-Dec-11, 07:11 PM
Well, in space anything goes at "low" speeds.

At relativistic speeds, having a slimmer profile might actually be a good idea...

Edymnion
2004-Dec-11, 07:24 PM
Spherical ships would actually be very innefficient to creatures with a body shape similar to ours. Or any shape, really.

Yes, spheres have maximum volume in minimum surface area. But the sphere is also one of the WORST shapes in nature for stacking. If you've got a given volume, and you have to fill it with smaller units, more than half of the volume will be wasted if you fill it with spheres (about 51% waste). Rectangular filler, however, will have 0% waste all the way out to the edges. And if the outside is rectangular as well, no space at all needs be wasted.

Plus, any life form reasonably similar to us is going to have evolved on a planet, which means gravity. Which means it is going to be used to flat surfaces to move on. Flat walking surfaces pretty much automatically mean that it will get broken up into rectangular sections inside, meaning wasted space that has to be packed with filler around the edges of a sphere.

Idealy, you'd want a series of cubes or rectangles. Seperate the engines from the living space in case of emergency, and give the whole thing a modular approach. Since there's no air resistance in space, the best design would likely end up looking like it was made of leggos.

Smooth, curvy lines look good on film, but they'd be a nightmare for real, practical use. Heck, a real one likely wouldn't even attempt to be symmetrical even. Long as weight was more or less balanced out so a source of thrust wouldn't set the ship into a spin, any shape would work.

Really, only time you'd be likely to see nice round edges would be for centrifical force generated artifical gravity. And I'd rather assume some sort of artificial gravity along the lines of Star Trek by that point.

eburacum45
2004-Dec-11, 08:15 PM
Don't forget that a fast non-warp capable spaceship would need good shielding at the front end to protect it from interstellar dust and gas; a gramme of interstellar dust would hit with the force of several tonnes of TNT, even a low fractions of c.

Unless you have some kind of deflector field the ship will need several tens of metres of shielding at the front (I prefer ice myself)
http://www.orionsarm.com/ships/Dyaush_Colony_Ship.jpg
any part of the ship not behind the ice shield will be eroded away, so the best design is long and thin.

archman
2004-Dec-12, 12:09 AM
I recall the ice shield being described in one of Clarke's books, "The Songs of Distant Earth." I think the ship was cylindrical, too, come to think of it.

DataCable
2004-Dec-12, 05:13 AM
If it doesn't have to go in an atmosphere, why does it need to be aerodynamic, or aesthetic?
*cough*LM*cough* :lol:

01101001
2004-Dec-12, 05:47 AM
Yes, spheres have maximum volume in minimum surface area. But the sphere is also one of the WORST shapes in nature for stacking. If you've got a given volume, and you have to fill it with smaller units, more than half of the volume will be wasted if you fill it with spheres (about 51% waste).
Spheres don't pack really well, but it's more like 26% waste (http://mathworld.wolfram.com/SpherePacking.html).

darkhunter
2004-Dec-12, 04:21 PM
Darkhunter, I believe the title is "Raiders From The Rings". A great, fun book, I wish that I could find a copy.

Actually, I believe it was "Scavengers in Space" by the same author.

AHA!! That sounds like it... Thanks!

novaderrik
2004-Dec-13, 08:36 AM
wouldn't a ship with gentle, organic curves be stronger- like how arches used in old churches and bridges are really strong for their weight?
ships like use by the federation in Star Trek have plenty of curves that make them look more aerodynamic- and also might actually make the hull stronger for pulling off all those warp 9 90 degree turns and what not that they are so fond of doing. also, they almost disappear as you look at them directly from the front- which would seem to be beneficial for deflecting debris encountered in space or avoiding phaser or photon torpedo fire with less power used for the shields and what not. altho, if a torpedo gets within 10 miles of the ship, half the consoles on the bridge explode in a cool shower of sparks, so the benefits might be non-existant,,
the Borg cubes seem to be pretty easy to hit, but difficult to damage. and they also seem able to do all the stuff the federation ships do, but look more menacing while doing it.
so, maybe shape doesn't matter..

John Dlugosz
2004-Dec-13, 10:14 PM
But for "alien" spaceships, what are some of the more inventive looking designs you've seen of thought up yourself?

I wrote a story where the protagonist's ship was brick-shaped. I was a kid and wasn't thinking about space dust at high speed. Rather, just make it with many identical floors like a building (it was to have 1G constant boost).

Later, as a fun project, I thought about a serious design for an interplanetary ship based on known physics with slightly more advanced technology. It was a ring of individual compartments suspended from long cables from a hub. The whole thing would spin at a suitable rate based on its acceleration along the axis. Under no boost, it would be a flat wheel, and under acceleration the cars would "hang" down from the top of the central cylindar at an angle.

papageno
2004-Dec-14, 11:17 AM
Yes, spheres have maximum volume in minimum surface area. But the sphere is also one of the WORST shapes in nature for stacking. If you've got a given volume, and you have to fill it with smaller units, more than half of the volume will be wasted if you fill it with spheres (about 51% waste). Rectangular filler, however, will have 0% waste all the way out to the edges. And if the outside is rectangular as well, no space at all needs be wasted.

Plus, any life form reasonably similar to us is going to have evolved on a planet, which means gravity. Which means it is going to be used to flat surfaces to move on. Flat walking surfaces pretty much automatically mean that it will get broken up into rectangular sections inside, meaning wasted space that has to be packed with filler around the edges of a sphere.


You do not have to fill with rectange-like rooms. I think you can get away with exagon-like rooms.
Also, filler spaces do not necessarily need to be rectangle-like.

If the ship is big enough, you might even build decks in concentric shells. In this case you can have gravity towards the center.
(Alright, I am thinking of the Death Star here...)

SSJPabs
2004-Dec-14, 04:57 PM
So say you're going to build a shield to protect from random space junk etc. what kind of material are we looking at besides ice (which is pretty damn clever I think)? Something incredibly dense?

darkhunter
2004-Dec-14, 06:25 PM
What about rubble--wouldns it spread the energy of any impact out better? Assuming you could find a way to keep it in place....

SkepticJ
2004-Dec-14, 06:41 PM
So say you're going to build a shield to protect from random space junk etc. what kind of material are we looking at besides ice (which is pretty damn clever I think)? Something incredibly dense?

I'd think a magnetic field(or force field if they're possible) would be really good because it's not made of matter which can be destroyed.

Why must the space other than the rectangle rooms inside a sphere ship be wasted space filled with foam or nothing? Dome homes on earth use the space as places to put water heaters, storage etc. In a ship it would be used for hardware of varying sorts, storage and other things. A zero gravity ship would be even better because not only are the floors used but walls and ceilings become living space. You need only be engineered to live in zero g.

SSJPabs
2004-Dec-14, 08:21 PM
I'd think a magnetic field(or force field if they're possible) would be really good because it's not made of matter which can be destroyed.What kind of power would you need to generate a field that strong? :o

Or is it weak? Damn my lack of physics knowledge!

SkepticJ
2004-Dec-14, 08:42 PM
I'd think a magnetic field(or force field if they're possible) would be really good because it's not made of matter which can be destroyed.What kind of power would you need to generate a field that strong? :o

Or is it weak? Damn my lack of physics knowledge!

The ship's fusion reactor I'd guess. Could the waste heat be radiated kms out in front of the ship to deflect particles?

eburacum45
2004-Dec-15, 09:46 AM
The power can be calculated by taking the mass of the largest expected interstellar grain, and working out the energy required to move it the radius of the ship's forward cross-section in the time it takes for the grain to travel from the leading end of the magnetic field to the rear of the field.

This obviously depends on the speed of the ship, the expected grain size, and the forward extent of the magnetic field;
at 10% c, the ship would travel 29,979km every second, so if you had a magnetic field extending thirty thousand km in front of the ship it would have one second to move any dust out of the way (assuming the dust has been charged already in some way).
This would be a large magnetic field, similar in strength to a small solar prominence.

The suggestion has been made that this magnetic field could hold a trapped plasma which could intercept both dustgrains and hydrogen atoms; this might work, but would need at least as much energy as the deflector field.

captain swoop
2004-Dec-15, 03:15 PM
I always liked the 'Liberator' from Blakes-7.

tracer
2004-Dec-15, 10:33 PM
The folks who made the documentary Flying Saucers Over Hollywood: The Plan 9 Companion that is part of the deluxe Plan 9 DVD looked into this and found out the saucers were actually "flying saucer" plastic model kits. This of course contradicts a quote from Ed Wood about the saucers being Cadillac hubcaps.
Maybe Ed was just trying to make his movie sound ritzier that it actually was.

('Cause, you know, he claimed it was a Cadillac hubcap, and not just a common Ford or Chevy hubcap. ;) )

Edymnion
2004-Dec-18, 10:31 PM
I'd think a magnetic field(or force field if they're possible) would be really good because it's not made of matter which can be destroyed.What kind of power would you need to generate a field that strong? :o

Or is it weak? Damn my lack of physics knowledge!Well, lets put it this way, there is already a ramscoop design for a traditional style space craft that would actually burn space trash for fuel. Well, more like it would use an atomic engine, a magnetic ramscoop to funnel space waste into the front of the ship, then propell it out the back as a self-replinishing propellent. So it can't be THAT difficult.

skwirlinator
2004-Dec-20, 01:03 AM
The most likely extraterrestial spaceship I would suppose would be a hollowed out asteroid or like that. Even if it wasn't hollowed out when it started. The travellers could mine it to produce the sustaining and containment items they need. It would have some semblance of gravity if it were big enough.
Wouldn't mess with it tho, To make it controllable would take some pretty hefty tech. The propulsion system alone would be megascale engineering!

This, to me, is the most realistic.

skwirlinator
2004-Dec-20, 01:07 AM
The most Koolest would be a nanosuit!


Since nanotechnology lends itself to making small things, consider the smallest person-carrying spacecraft: the spacesuit. Forced to use weak, heavy, passive materials, engineers now make bulky, clumsy spacesuits. A look at an advanced spacesuit will illustrate some of the capabilities of nanotechnology.

Imagine that you are aboard a space station, spun to simulate Earth's normal gravity. After instruction, you have been given a suit to try out: there it hangs on the wall, a gray, rubbery-looking thing with a transparent helmet. You take it down, heft its substantial weight, strip, and step in through the open seam on the front.

The suit feels softer than the softest rubber, but has a slick inner surface. It slips on easily and the seam seals at a touch. It provides a skintight covering like a thin leather glove around your fingers, thickening as it runs up your arm to become as thick as your hand in the region around your torso. Behind your shoulders, scarcely noticeable, is a small backpack. Around your head, almost invisible, is the helmet. Below your neck the suits inner surface hugs your skin with a light, uniform touch that soon becomes almost imperceptible.

You stand up and walk around, experimenting. You bounce on your toes and feel no extra weight from the suit. You bend and stretch and feel no restraint, no wrinkling, no pressure points. When you rub your fingers together they feel sensitive, as if bare - but somehow slightly thicker. As you breathe, the air tastes clean and fresh. In fact, you feel that you could forget that you are wearing a suit at all. What is more, you feel just as comfortable when you step out into the vacuum of space.

The suit manages to do all this and more by means of complex activity within a structure having a texture almost as intricate as that of living tissue. A glove finger a millimeter thick has room for a thousand micron-thick layers of active nanomachinery and nanoelectronics. A fingertip-sized patch has room for a billion mechanical nanocomputers, with 99.9 percent of the volume left over for other components.

In particular, this leaves room for an active structure. The middle layer of the suit material holds a three-dimensional weave of diamond-based fibers acting much like artificial muscle, but able to push as well as pull (as discussed in the Notes). These fibers take up much of the volume and make the suit material as strong as steel. Powered by microscopic electric motors and controlled by nanocomputers, they give the suit material its supple strength, making it stretch, contract, and bend as needed. When the suit felt soft earlier, this was because it had been programmed to act soft. The suit has no difficulty holding its shape in a vacuum; it has strength enough to avoid blowing up like a balloon. Likewise, it has no difficulty supporting its own weight and moving to match your motions, quickly, smoothly, and without resistance. This is one reason why it almost seems not to be there at all.

Your fingers feel almost bare because you feel the texture of what you touch. This happens because pressure sensors cover the suit's surface and active structure covers its lining: the glove feels the shape of whatever you touch - and the detailed pattern of pressure it exerts - and transmits the same texture pattern to your skin. It also reverses the process, transmitting to the outside the detailed pattern of forces exerted by your skin on the inside of the glove. Thus the glove pretends that it isn't there, and your skin feels almost bare.

The suit has the strength of steel and the flexibility of your own body. If you reset the suit's controls, the suit continues to match your motions, but with a difference. Instead of simply transmitting the forces you exert, it amplifies them by a factor of ten. Likewise, when something brushes against you, the suit now transmits only a tenth of the force to the inside. You are now ready for a wrestling match with a gorilla.

The fresh air you breathe may not seem surprising; the backpack includes a supply of air and other consumables. Yet after a few days outside in the sunlight, your air will not run out: like a plant, the suit absorbs sunlight and the carbon dioxide you exhale, producing fresh oxygen. Also like a plant (or a whole ecosystem), it breaks down other wastes into simple molecules and reassembles them into the molecular patterns of fresh, wholesome food. In fact, the suit will keep you comfortable, breathing, and well fed almost anywhere in the inner solar system.

What is more, the suit is durable. It can tolerate the failure of numerous nanomachines because it has so many others to take over the load. The space between the active fibers leaves room enough for assemblers and disassemblers to move about and repair damaged devices. The suit repairs itself as fast as it wears out.

Within the bounds of the possible, the suit could have many other features. A speck of material smaller than a pinhead could hold the text of every book ever published, for display on a fold-out screen. Another speck could be a "seed" containing the blueprints for a range of devices greater than the total the human race has yet built, along with replicating assemblers able to make any or all of them.

Reference: http://www.foresight.org/EOC/EOC_Chapter_6.html

eburacum45
2004-Dec-22, 10:27 AM
This is the way I see human-built interstellar craft in a thousand years time or so;
http://tinypic.com/yijo9

the ice shield at the front shadows the whole ship to protect it from collision with the interstellar medium; most of the rest of the ship is fuel, probably using antimatter catalysed fusion to accelerate.
I'll add a few more hatches and access points before I make it available as a 3ds model, perhaps a temporary mast poking out beyond the shield to observe forward (although this mast would wear away quite quickly).

captain swoop
2004-Dec-22, 01:07 PM
How do you renew the ice shield as it wears away?

SkepticJ
2004-Dec-22, 02:26 PM
This is the way I see human-built interstellar craft in a thousand years time or so;
http://tinypic.com/yijo9

the ice shield at the front shadows the whole ship to protect it from collision with the interstellar medium; most of the rest of the ship is fuel, probably using antimatter catalysed fusion to accelerate.
I'll add a few more hatches and access points before I make it available as a 3ds model, perhaps a temporary mast poking out beyond the shield to observe forward (although this mast would wear away quite quickly).

Hmmm, I see them more like this.--> http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/

Actually this is probably wrong to. Think about what people of 1850 thought the 21 century would be like. "What size would the trains be? How do you clean the streets of all that horse sh*t? How do your ship's hulls go across the Atlantic at such great speed without melting from the friction?

You see, they didn't, couldn't conceive of jet planes and gas cars.

eburacum45
2004-Dec-22, 05:41 PM
To repair the shield a simple spray of water every now and then should suffice; but there might be other good materials, like aerogel or even wood like the shields used by the Chinese space program.

Yes; advanced propulsion concepts are fun; see here in particular.
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/TM-107289.htm

but many of these concepts will need shields too.

Darasen
2004-Dec-22, 06:09 PM
A friend of mines dad is the guy who made the Mork & Mindy egg ship ![/quote]

ZaphodBeeblebrox
2004-Dec-22, 07:31 PM
A friend of mines dad is the guy who made the Mork & Mindy egg ship ![/quote]

I'd say he was a Visionary, but I've Always Assumed he thought it up, while he was High and Eating a Hard-Boiled Egg.

A Little Bit of Both, perhaps ...

:wink:

JohnD
2004-Dec-23, 12:11 AM
All,
Pah! Miniscule, Paltry, Small Beer!

The Ultimate Space Ships have to be the GSVs (General Systems Vehicles) of Ian M. Banks' Culture. Sentient and autonomous, they are measured in kilometers and contain millions of humans and sentient machines.

Dyson spheres and even Banks' Orbitals, that like GSVs possess Minds, do not count as 'space ships' as they are not designed for movement. So even though they are bigger than GSVs, they cannot be included in the count.

Anyone who has not read Banks is in for a treat. There is even a discussion of the Culture by Banks on the 'Net - it may be found in several places so just Google for "A Few Notes on the Culture".

John

AndrewGPaul
2004-Dec-23, 01:56 AM
And most of those ships aren't even solid! the actual 'hull' of the ship is surrounded with atmosphere(s),and sometimes other, physically unconnected, bits of the ship. The whole thing is held to gether with forcefields, up to several kilometres out from the actual 'hull'.

captain swoop
2004-Dec-23, 10:13 AM
Wasn't the STTNG Enterprise held together with forcefields?

Makgraf
2004-Dec-25, 06:18 AM
All,
Pah! Miniscule, Paltry, Small Beer!

The Ultimate Space Ships have to be the GSVs (General Systems Vehicles) of Ian M. Banks' Culture. Sentient and autonomous, they are measured in kilometers and contain millions of humans and sentient machines.

Dyson spheres and even Banks' Orbitals, that like GSVs possess Minds, do not count as 'space ships' as they are not designed for movement. So even though they are bigger than GSVs, they cannot be included in the count.

Anyone who has not read Banks is in for a treat. There is even a discussion of the Culture by Banks on the 'Net - it may be found in several places so just Google for "A Few Notes on the Culture".

John
The main thing I enjoyed about Banks' ships were their names. They'd have funny names like "Funny, It Worked Last Time..." or "No More Mister Nice Guy". I wasn't otherwise taken with the Culture novels, I just didn't grok them. If you're going to read them I'd caution highly against Excession and whatever the games one was named.

Togusa
2004-Dec-26, 01:20 AM
Wasn't the STTNG Enterprise held together with forcefields?
Yep. IIRC, the ship had an actual framework, but the frame members contained waveguides through which energy from the ship's structural integrity field coursed. The frame gave the ship its overall shape and structure at low speeds, while the SIF held the whole thing together under operational stresses, such as travelling under warp speed.

The Voyager (from Star Trek: Voyager) also used a structural integrity field, but there was an additional reason that the ship needed it: Voyager had the ability to land on planets, and it did so in at least a couple of epsiodes; without the SIF, the ship would have collapsed under its own weight the second it touched down and put weight on its landing pads.

SkepticJ
2005-Jan-10, 10:54 PM
Here's two of my ships. The top one is an Idatonian Arcology ship(length 562+km) and the bottom one is an Idatonian Defender(length about 3.7km)

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-8/808504/arcocruiser.JPG

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-8/808504/IdatonianDefender.JPG

Can't wait until my drawing and painting classes. :D

AstroSmurf
2005-Jan-11, 11:47 AM
Miniscule, Paltry, Small Beer!
Incidentally, this would be a good name for a GSV. :D

SSJPabs
2005-Jan-11, 12:10 PM
Hey SkepticJ, can you tell me what they are made of?

BTW, some of the greatest ship designs I've seen are from the video game RPG series Star Ocean. Tri-Ace's technological designs are mindblowingly beautiful. Just check out the opening movie of Star Ocean 3.

SkepticJ
2005-Jan-11, 04:32 PM
Hey SkepticJ, can you tell me what they are made of?


Fullerine tube composites, metal alloys and various plastics; all are nanotechnological smart materials with nanites inside to repair microcracks, impacts and to change the form. The spots are asthetic to the Idatonians, I have no purpose for them being on there. Perhaps the spots are their language
or something.

John Dlugosz
2005-Jan-12, 11:38 PM
Actually this is probably wrong to. Think about what people of 1850 thought the 21 century would be like. "What size would the trains be? How do you clean the streets of all that horse sh*t? How do your ship's hulls go across the Atlantic at such great speed without melting from the friction?

You see, they didn't, couldn't conceive of jet planes and gas cars.

I was just thinking of that the other evening.

A person in an earlier age might not have envisioned jet planes, but could calculate the energy budget and figure that an airborne transport would, using engineering means unknown, move at a respectable fraction of the speed of sound. From there calculate how long it takes to cross the ocean, and speculate that there won't be a need for club cars or such, that rows of seats like a theater would suffice. In fact, why not make it an actual theater, and perform a play to occupy the passengers and provide a more familiar and comfortable context for them to remain in tightly-packed rows of chairs for a few hours?

Jules Verne not only knew that the Nautilus couldn't possibly carry enough coal even with the best advanced engineering. Perhaps he even figured out that any chemical reaction won't provide enough power for the mass and bulk he needed--no infrastructure for him to stop to take on an advanced fuel--so he used some technobable that conveyed the sailent points. In particular since it was not chemical in nature, we today recognise that his description could be applied to the real USS Nautilus when it was launched 85 years later, and went 20,000 leagues over a span of two years on a single fueling.

Perhaps it was less of a coincedence in life immitating art, first of all because the description of the power source is really more vague than modern readers remember, and he may have calculated the necessary attributes to make a long-duration-mission submarine possible even if he couldn't build it. The US Navy had the same requirements, and finally built one when it could be engineered.

Today, we can calculate how much antimatter it would take to accelerate a probe to whatever speed, and figure out the physical requirements for a interstellar robot probe. So it won't be too surprising if a lot of the details turn out to be correct, because the physical requirements are right, it is built as soon as those requirements are met, and the earliest/soonest technology to do so will be the forseeable technologies that grow from the current, as opposed to radical breakthroughs.

On another note, fiction not only inspires the future development but becomes closer and closer to the upcoming events as time passes. They are essentially draft scenareos! Kids watching a space-thriller in the 50's may have thought, "they should have sent the robot first!". Anyone watching Destination Moon would realize that maybe the should be able to cut off the empty fuel tanks. The next generation of novels (though not movies, unfortunatly) will build upon that, refining the ideas and becoming aware of more issues. The concepts and even the plans will be worked out ahead of the hardware.

--John