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NEOWatcher
2014-May-28, 01:45 PM
I thought this would be a good mention just to lighten the mood...

I ran across this yesterday in their magazine: Could You Build A Spaceship Out Of Wood? (http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/ask-anything-could-you-build-spaceship-out-wood)

They actually made a couple of interesting points that I wouldn't have thought of.

Although; they missed the obvoius about how to contain the fuel, pressure, and heat required to thrust it.

My guess is that by the time you can contain the fuel, or contain the thrust pressure and heat, it would be far to heavy to get to space.

Romanus
2014-May-28, 04:03 PM
Wooden spacecraft or not, seeing how wood responds to long-term exposure in space would be an interesting experiment. Some day, perhaps.

Glom
2014-May-28, 07:14 PM
We saw an example of such in 'The Duh-Vinci Code' (http://theinfosphere.org/The_Duh-Vinci_Code)

swampyankee
2014-May-28, 07:20 PM
Wood is a pretty good structural material, as demonstrated by the DeHavilland Mosquito and the USN's Elco, Higgins, and Huckins PT boats, the RN's MTBs and MGBs, the Kriegsmarine's S-boats, etc.

I suspect, though, that the conditions in space wouldn't be good for it: wood's properties depend on moisture content, and space is a trifle dry, which would probably cause quite a bit of cracking.

marsbug
2014-May-28, 07:20 PM
Perhaps genetically modified wood, with a really thick outer layer of bark to give some degree of water retention and slow vacuum degradation? I doubt you could launch a rocket made of wood, but I wonder if a capsule (or unmanned probe) might just be do-able if we allow a small amount of metals for things like wiring?

Swift
2014-May-28, 09:41 PM
Perhaps genetically modified wood, with a really thick outer layer of bark to give some degree of water retention and slow vacuum degradation? I doubt you could launch a rocket made of wood, but I wonder if a capsule (or unmanned probe) might just be do-able if we allow a small amount of metals for things like wiring?
Larry Niven had "Stage Trees" in his Known Space series (http://larryniven.wikia.com/wiki/Stage_Tree).

The Stage Tree is descented from the Mpul tree, genetically engineered by the Tnuctipun during the Thrint Empire, and is found throughout the Empire worlds.[1]

The trunk consists of solid rocket fuel.[1]

Trebuchet
2014-May-28, 11:42 PM
Larry Niven had "Stage Trees" in his Known Space series (http://larryniven.wikia.com/wiki/Stage_Tree).

Niven also had Integral Trees (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Integral_Trees) in the shape of integration signs.

All those aviation examples are, of course, plywood, which would be much better than regular wood. Which was of course made of birch. Even better if impregnated with resin, like the Spruce Goose.

DonM435
2014-May-29, 12:53 AM
Perhaps genetically modified wood, with a really thick outer layer of bark to give some degree of water retention and slow vacuum degradation? I doubt you could launch a rocket made of wood, but I wonder if a capsule (or unmanned probe) might just be do-able if we allow a small amount of metals for things like wiring?

Maybe the briar wood used to make tobacco pipes would be a starting point. It's already cultivated to be hard and heat-resistant.

Solfe
2014-May-29, 02:08 AM
Just for fun - NASA's Straw Space Shuttle (http://www.theonion.com/articles/nasa-baffled-by-failure-of-straw-shuttle,1997/).

Noclevername
2014-May-29, 04:37 PM
OK, so one made of straw, one made of sticks, the next logical progression is a brick rocket. All three will be powered by bioigenic air pressure.

NEOWatcher
2014-May-29, 05:35 PM
I've heard of brick rockets but they were plastic bricks (http://ultraodd.com/lego-brick-of-apollo-11-rocket-by-ryan-mcnaught/).

But; it looks like the Chinese space program is making amazing strides. You can order a stone rocket (http://www.ecvv.com/product/2798611.html) from them.
Just try to blow that one down.

Noclevername
2014-May-29, 06:20 PM
Just try to blow that one down.

Just try to launch it up!

primummobile
2014-May-29, 07:57 PM
I make rockets from cardboard and balsa wood but they don't make it to space.

01101001
2014-May-29, 11:46 PM
NASA Mars Exploration Rovers: What is the aeroshell?
(http://marsrover.nasa.gov/mission/spacecraft_edl_aeroshell.html)

Oak! In part.


The ablator itself is a unique blend of cork wood, binder and many tiny silica glass spheres. It was inven ted for the heat shields flown on the Viking Mars lander missions in the 1970's. A similar technology was used in the first US manned space missions Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. It is specially formulated to react chemically with the Martian atmosphere during entry and essentially take heat away, leaving a hot wake of gas behind the vehicle. (Normal friction without an ablator would cause the heat shield to burn up.) The heat loss to the Martian atmosphere lowers the kinetic energy of the entry vehicle, thereby it slowing it down .... a lot.....fast! The vehicle slows from 10,000 mph to about 1000 mph in about a minute, producing about 10 "Earth gees" of acceleration on the lander and rover.

DonM435
2014-May-30, 03:48 PM
Of course, whatever they came up with could be used to make non-metallic firearms, and the security-scan folks would have a fit.

ravens_cry
2014-May-30, 05:51 PM
Hmm, I wonder if chitin might be a better material for organic space craft.

swampyankee
2014-May-30, 07:11 PM
Of course, whatever they came up with could be used to make non-metallic firearms, and the security-scan folks would have a fit.

They can probably make a metal-free firearm now, although it may have a very short life.

Garrison
2014-May-30, 11:45 PM
I've heard of brick rockets but they were plastic bricks (http://ultraodd.com/lego-brick-of-apollo-11-rocket-by-ryan-mcnaught/).



I remember the days when we used to have people building 'Lego rockets' on this board; a piece from rocket A, a piece from rocket B and you had magical craft that could achieve incredible performance so long as you ignored the maths...

publiusr
2014-May-31, 07:30 PM
OK, so one made of straw, one made of sticks, the next logical progression is a brick rocket.

That is what the shuttle really was--I mean to repair the tiles, it was more This Old House. If you have to spackle something--it isn't just an airframe--its masonry.

As far as plastic goes, I'd like to push an AMT (Round 2) type model of the Enterprise out of an airlock to pass in front of the ISS cupola, and film the reactions of the folks looking outside.