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PraedSt
2009-May-29, 04:28 PM
What's the best colour for a spaceship? Black or white?

Or, what's the more pressing issue in space- conserving energy, or getting rid of excess heat?

I'm guessing the answer would somewhat depend on payload and location in space.

So let's say a manned spaceship doing the 'Moon run'. Black or white?

Thanks! :)

TRUTHisnotfacts
2009-May-29, 04:46 PM
Apollo was black and white ...most of it was white but a few lines was black and the bottom part . But the whole thing was most white .

The stealth fighter is black to make it more to be not seen .

I have no Idea what the point would be ...But It would look good to have a space car with black lines with RED that says NASA in white ..

01101001
2009-May-29, 04:52 PM
Chrome!

NEOWatcher
2009-May-29, 04:54 PM
Apollo was black and white ...most of it was white but a few lines was black and the bottom part . But the whole thing was most white .
My guess is that PraedSt knows that much.
Besides, the launch vehicle was black and white, but PaedSt's not asking about that.
The Apollo space craft was silver.

My guess is that reflective is more important only because we have a lot more precedence for it. But; it's going to depend on the heat generation of your equipment. For now, that's reflective. Maybe as efficiencies evolve it will change.
A-13 could have used a bit of absorbtion.

mugaliens
2009-May-29, 05:01 PM
The biggest problem in the wonderfully insulating vacuum of space inundated by our solar furnace is loosing heat. Thus, even spacesuits are white.

While the Apollo rocket may have had some black panels, 01101001's "Chrome!" is dead on, as clearly shown in this picture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo_CSM_lunar_orbit.jpg).

grant hutchison
2009-May-29, 05:04 PM
If memory serves, the Command Module got very cold when it was powered down during the return orbit of Apollo 13.
That suggests that even modest internal power sources can keep a spacecraft warm enough so that it requires a reflective surface in order to reject solar heating.

Edit: Oops. I see I've largely echoed NEOWatcher's thoughts.

Grant Hutchison

alainprice
2009-May-29, 05:06 PM
Chrome sounds like fun if you want the thing to generate as much heat as possible from incident radiation.

Ever leave a shiny tool in the sun for a few minutes. It gets very hot, and it isn't even absorbing as much radiation as the black BBQ. Reflection is killer for heat.

TRUTHisnotfacts
2009-May-29, 05:08 PM
The Apollo space craft was silver ?

It looks white to me that is very very interesting to say the least .

NEOWatcher
2009-May-29, 05:11 PM
The Apollo space craft was silver ?

It looks white to me that is very very interesting to say the least .
The command and service modules were silver, but on launch, the command module had a white shield covering it.

LaurelHS
2009-May-29, 05:28 PM
The command and service modules were silver, but on launch, the command module had a white shield covering it.

The Boost Protective Cover (http://apollomaniacs.web.infoseek.co.jp/apollo/lese.htm)?

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 05:28 PM
Ok, so this close to the Sun over-heating is the biggest problem, and chrome is the way to go.

How about if you journey further out- say to Mars? The outer planets? Would white be better then?

Also, close to the Sun again, could a black spaceship save significant battery power? Hmm...to difficult to control I presume..

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 05:30 PM
Thanks for all the answers by the way. I was half-expecting some wag to say 'polka dot'. :lol:

LotusExcelle
2009-May-29, 05:31 PM
Me personally I would paint it black. With lights that light up black.

NEOWatcher
2009-May-29, 05:59 PM
How about if you journey further out- say to Mars? The outer planets? Would white be better then?

Also, close to the Sun again, could a black spaceship save significant battery power? Hmm...to difficult to control I presume..
The other way around. You want black to absorb heat, you want white to reflect it. (silver being better than white).


Thanks for all the answers by the way. I was half-expecting some wag to say 'polka dot'. :lol:
How about two-toned for a long trip? Silver side facing the sun until you get far enough out in the reaches of space that you want to start absorbing it. Then you just turn around.
Basically; one big polka dot on one side.


With lights that light up black.
That would be pretty cool if you'd go through a phosphoric nebula.

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 06:20 PM
How about two-toned for a long trip? Silver side facing the sun until you get far enough out in the reaches of space that you want to start absorbing it. Then you just turn around.I really like this idea.


The other way around. You want black to absorb heat, you want white to reflect it. (silver being better than white).
Wait a minute.. I was thinking that here the Sun would be too far away for any decent absorbing. So you'd want to keep whatever heat you generated from radiating away; hence white. With black, you'd cool down pretty fast, wouldn't you?

kleindoofy
2009-May-29, 06:22 PM
[sings] "We all live in a ..." ;)

01101001
2009-May-29, 06:29 PM
Shiny Hubble.

http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/gallery/db/spacecraft/05/formats/05_th.jpg (http://hubblesite.org/gallery/spacecraft/05/) http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/gallery/db/spacecraft/06/formats/06_th.jpg (http://hubblesite.org/gallery/spacecraft/06/)

Amber Robot
2009-May-29, 06:34 PM
Wait a minute.. I was thinking that here the Sun would be too far away for any decent absorbing. So you'd want to keep whatever heat you generated from radiating away; hence white. With black, you'd cool down pretty fast, wouldn't you?

A good absorber is also a good emitter.

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 06:48 PM
A good absorber is also a good emitter.
Yeah I know. I thought that far from the Sun, emission (from inside) would be more important than absorption (from the Sun). So white would be better than black.

saturn4b
2009-May-29, 06:53 PM
Me personally I would paint it black. With lights that light up black.

:lol:

Arthur - "Now I really AM going to be sick"...
Zaphod - "Go ahead - we could do with some colour round here".

cjameshuff
2009-May-29, 06:56 PM
A good absorber is also a good emitter.

In general, for something that is a good black body across a wide range of temperatures. Highly polished aluminum has an emissivity around 0.05, lampblack paint 0.96. However, water ice has an emissivity of 0.97. Water ice is in fact quite dark at low wavelengths, but in the visible range, it's certainly a lot brighter than lampblack. It will both emit and absorb a 260 K black body spectrum quite readily, but will reflect most of the radiation emitted by something at 5778 K.

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 07:01 PM
Shiny Hubble.

http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/gallery/db/spacecraft/05/formats/05_th.jpg (http://hubblesite.org/gallery/spacecraft/05/) http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/gallery/db/spacecraft/06/formats/06_th.jpg (http://hubblesite.org/gallery/spacecraft/06/)
Staying with the shiny theme, I've noticed that near-Earth craft tend to be silver, while NASA space probes tend to be gold. Why gold?

saturn4b
2009-May-29, 07:04 PM
Staying with the shiny theme, I've noticed that near-Earth craft tend to be silver, while NASA space probes tend to be gold. Why gold?

Gold does not tend to tarnish so it retains its reflective quailities more, helping to reflect more of the heat from the sun.

rommel543
2009-May-29, 07:05 PM
I prefer Jeep Green, just like my Jeep. Although a nice high gloss black with chrome strip would be ok, as long as it has leather heated seats and a good sound system. Maybe some funky lights to create a cool effect :D

TRUTHisnotfacts
2009-May-29, 07:08 PM
the universe is already black with bright lights ...If you build a space ship and paint it as the universe then it would be hard to see using a color that blends into the background . The white and silver may be the 2 colors that are the only ones that can go for space to be safe

maybe what color to paint a space ship is not so much our wants as to how safe it is

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 07:10 PM
Gold does not tend to tarnish so it retains its reflective quailities more, helping to reflect more of the heat from the sun.
Yeah, that's true but....tarnishing needs oxygen, no? I suppose you mean while waiting to be launched?

Anyway, I suppose that means the Sun is still a problem in the outer Solar System. So back to chrome!

saturn4b
2009-May-29, 07:20 PM
Yeah, that's true but....tarnishing needs oxygen, no? I suppose you mean while waiting to be launched?

Anyway, I suppose that means the Sun is still a problem in the outer Solar System. So back to chrome!

You're right. :doh: Come to think of it, is the gold colour because they use some kind of milar film, just as they did on the lunar module descent stage?

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 07:29 PM
the universe is already black with bright lights ...If you build a space ship and paint it as the universe then it would be hard to see using a color that blends into the background . The white and silver may be the 2 colors that are the only ones that can go for space to be safe
:lol:

Space is pretty big Truth. I don't think safety orange is necessary.

NEOWatcher
2009-May-29, 07:34 PM
Staying with the shiny theme, I've noticed that near-Earth craft tend to be silver, while NASA space probes tend to be gold. Why gold?Gold does not tend to tarnish so it retains its reflective quailities more, helping to reflect more of the heat from the sun.
Actually; it sounds like properties of the gold have more effect than the reflectivity and results in the opposite result according to this skylab discussion (http://history.nasa.gov/SP-400/ch3.htm).


The outside of the workshop was coated with gold foil, to maintain the required balance of absorption and emission of heat between the shield and the vehicle. Gold foil is a material highly absorbent to solar energy with very low heat loss from reradiation. When the shield was lost, the gold surface of the workshop was exposed to the Sun, and the workshop developed external temperatures about 200F higher than it had been designed for.

PraedSt
2009-May-29, 07:51 PM
Actually; it sounds like properties of the gold have more effect than the reflectivity and results in the opposite result according to this skylab discussion (http://history.nasa.gov/SP-400/ch3.htm).
That's interesting. So gold is a good absorber, but a poor emitter? Unusual. (Although, maybe not so much if I've understood cjameshuff correctly).

So I was right the first time, and wrong the second. The Sun's too weak out there, and you need to conserve energy...

slang
2009-May-29, 09:05 PM
Thanks for all the answers by the way. I was half-expecting some wag to say 'polka dot'. :lol:

Saw your thread and thought: "Yellow!". But I was confused with submarines.

earthboundmisfit
2009-May-30, 07:55 PM
hi there. i have an idea. once the spaceships construction phase is complete, it should then be painted white and used as a blank canvas for elementary school students. what a field trip that would be...:lol:

AndrewJ
2009-May-30, 08:09 PM
Tintin and his friends went to the Moon in a red and white ship. They wore orange spacesuits and took with them a tank which, I think, was blue.

raptorthang
2009-May-30, 08:27 PM
One would think that 'weight' is a variable in the equation. Colour added either in the metal manufacturing or added afterwards might add unnecessary weight...Or the reverse: a colour added that absorbs or reflects heat might be less weight than making some on board system larger both in the hardware and the energy needed to run that hardware.

George
2009-May-30, 09:01 PM
The really fast ships of the future should have a blue stern and a red bow so we can see them in spite of Doppler shift. :) [The bow is not important as it will be glowing red from the heat generated from plowing through all that gas and dust.]

tdvance
2009-May-30, 09:04 PM
In House of Suns novel that I just read, a spacecraft had red and green lights on the left and right (from pilot's point of view, if pilot is facing direction of travel).

I thought about that--if you really want to make it obvious which way the ship is moving, do red and green on the left and right, and pick a pair of colors for top and bottom and another pair for front and back.

raptorthang
2009-May-30, 09:40 PM
In House of Suns novel that I just read, a spacecraft had red and green lights on the left and right (from pilot's point of view, if pilot is facing direction of travel).

I thought about that--if you really want to make it obvious which way the ship is moving, do red and green on the left and right, and pick a pair of colors for top and bottom and another pair for front and back.

What possible reason would such lights be necessary? Even our primitive technology has a myriad of instruments that reads the speed and direction of objects.
Is someone waiting at a orbital crosswalk needing to look both ways before they cross? (just kidding)

PraedSt
2009-May-30, 10:35 PM
Tintin!? What have you done to my thread? :)

PraedSt
2009-May-30, 10:37 PM
Mind you, that was a good looking rocket...

NickW
2009-May-30, 11:44 PM
In House of Suns novel that I just read, a spacecraft had red and green lights on the left and right...

They do this on boats so you can tell direction at night.

tdvance
2009-May-31, 12:47 AM
and airplanes too--well, it's night in space, sort of :)

I guess it would be useful in a crowded orbit, if navigating by sight anyway. Not that that's recommended in a real crowded orbit.

PraedSt
2009-May-31, 03:03 AM
A few examples of real spacecraft.

From left: Ulysses, SOHO, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pure gold!

http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/688/ulysses.th.jpg (http://img39.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ulysses.jpg) http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/5255/sohot.th.jpg (http://img40.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sohot.jpg) http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/3846/mro.th.gif (http://img40.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mro.gif)

Well, some black too.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jun-01, 12:16 PM
and airplanes too--well, it's night in space, sort of :)
Depends on your definition as it applies to space. Darkness, yes. The sun's out, no. ;)

J Chrysostom
2009-Jun-02, 04:05 AM
How about two-toned for a long trip? Silver side facing the sun until you get far enough out in the reaches of space that you want to start absorbing it. Then you just turn around.
Basically; one big polka dot on one side.

You have to be quick around here! I had the same idea, but you're two days ahead of me.

The only thing I would add is that you could adjust continuously, rather than just flipping it over at some point in time. Also, if the spacecraft has a bigger profile in some directions than others, you could also control the amount of heat absorbed by changing its orientation.

max8166
2009-Jun-02, 08:16 AM
Solar Arrays are black to absorb as much radiation as possible, so if I were to design a spaceship It would be black, on the solar facing side at least.

Wouldn't want it to get too hot thou, so maybe if could have chrome balloons which inflate over the solar cells when it gets too much radiation.

A chameleon spaceship, the best of both er, worlds.

Van Rijn
2009-Jun-02, 09:24 AM
What's the best colour for a spaceship? Black or white?

Or, what's the more pressing issue in space- conserving energy, or getting rid of excess heat?

I'm guessing the answer would somewhat depend on payload and location in space.

So let's say a manned spaceship doing the 'Moon run'. Black or white?

Thanks! :)

You might be interested in this thread:

http://www.bautforum.com/conspiracy-theories/62859-1st-question-how-apollo-space-craft-cooled.html

It started with a fellow trying to make some unlikely conspiracy theory claims, but it led to an interesting discussion on spacecraft cooling (especially Apollo, but also ISS and some other spacecraft) with some links to references. For instance, here's a paper that discussed Apollo CSM cooling:

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720012252_1972012252.pdf

The main discussion on cooling starts at about page 16 of the paper. One of the things I found interesting is that the thermal load in close orbit around the Earth or Moon could get high enough that they had to supplement the active radiator system with evaporative cooling.

astromark
2009-Jun-02, 09:50 AM
While zipping about near to a energy source, yes the heat absorbance or reflectivity might be of some importance... but not away out into the space we need to get to grips with... No, I would encourage a dull deep dark flat black. I do not want to be found or seen... Zero reflectivity.
Or, or bright pink with purple dots... and red blotches... I want to warn alien beings that the human race is extremely unstable and dangerous and must be avoided at all cost.:)

PraedSt
2009-Jun-02, 10:05 AM
You might be interested in this thread:

http://www.bautforum.com/conspiracy-theories/62859-1st-question-how-apollo-space-craft-cooled.html


http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19720012252_1972012252.pdf

I am! Thanks. I'll get reading.

captain swoop
2009-Jun-02, 02:34 PM
Don't forget when facing away from the Sun a black surface would also give up heat faster than a white one, radiators on Apollo were black.. It works both ways.

AndrewJ
2009-Jun-03, 04:12 AM
Tintin!? What have you done to my thread? :)


Mind you, that was a good looking rocket...

Yes, Calculus came a long way from the days when he used to design submarines that looked like sharks.:)