1. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Space Engines of the Future HELP

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Wolf Daemon, Sep 7, 2016.

    How to power a space ships engines with solar power. That is basically my question. I'm trying to figure out a way that a sci fi engine would work off of solar energy.

    I have thought of having the solar power energy be energy used to properly smash atoms via hydrogen fusion but that is all I can think about.

    How much energy would it take to throw atoms at each other?
     
  2. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Also thinking of Plasma Drives for the ships. More sold on Plasma Drives but idk how good they are at getting off planets.
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    This seems like something you'd have more luck researching yourself / asking on some sort of futurism forum than asking a bunch of writers. Maybe someone here is a particle physicist as their day job, I don't know. But how the technology works in your universe and how you justify it is really up to you.
     
  4. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Agreed. I think most SF fans are willing to accept just about any sort of space engine so long as it doesn't blatantly contradict known physics. And if it does, just refer to the revolutionary breakthrough made at the Lunar Hadron Collider that made the Wolf/Daemon drive possible, and put the stars just months away.
     
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  5. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Thanks. The "Engine" thing that makes it capable to move across stars "faster than the speed of light" isn't my main engine. That part is basically a wormhole creator but I wasn't sure about the actual propulsion engine. As it stands now I am just having both Plasma Engines and Hydro-Fusion Engines depending on the ship. I feel like a plasma engine would work pretty well but haven't done enough research into the Plasma Drive to really know.

    Then again the T.I.E. fighters of Star Wars shouldn't really work because of their engines (Twin Ion Engines).
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This ^

    I found a ton of stuff searching Google and it was important research overall for my novel. In other words, it's a good idea to get grounded in the basics.
     
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  7. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Use a solar sail.
     
  8. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wifi-drive!

    Basically, using a large *quote fingers* LAZER *end quote finger* colonist consciousnesses-es are transmitted into the metal deposits of distant planets, and the resulting proto-humans burrow their iron-mud golem bodies out from the crust, to begin construction of basic... housing for launch... personnel...

    I'm sorry, this fell apart.
     
  9. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I remember reading a story where travel between the stars was pretty much instantaneous, but had to be undertaken from a spot in space that was relatively gravitationally "flat", which meant that a trip to, say, Alpha Centauri, could take a year or so. Six months from Earth to the Oort cloud and the jump point, no time to Alpha Centauri's jump point, and then six months inwards to the target planet.

    The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson, had (can't remember the exact name) a continuous shuttle from Earth to Mars in the later books. Basically, the launched a ship (using I think ion engines) into an orbit that would take it past Mars, then Earth, then Mars again on a "perpetual" loop. It never stopped at either planet, but dropped off and was met by shuttlecraft that brought passengers, supplies, and reaction mass to it. I'm guessing from what you've said that your wormhole needs to be pretty far from the Earth, but if it has enough gravity to slingshot past, you might use something like that to get out to it.
     
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  10. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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  11. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    @zoupskim

    No, no. You were just getting going. Ponder* it some more Sir, please. There's a thread elsewhere about struggling with 'original setting'. You covered that + plot in one stroke with a bit of fanciful thinking. I now want to read a sci-fi short about crust-born iron-mud other-consciousness holding golem bodies!

    Seriously.

    *just pondered—might be some super high energy requirements to port information over interstellar distances (planet to planet is fine). Need @newjerseyrunner on the case.
     
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  12. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Epic dude

    How about colonist conciousness is projected across space in discrete data packages, because physics (hand waves), to the bodies of indigenous alien life forms on those planets where the incoming colonist is overwritten on the 'host' , "holy shit bro I'm an elephant' ... "yeah well you think you got problems partner, i'm a fluffy ant eater "

    That is - every bugger has faster than light drives/skip technology/space warping thrusters/ion engines.... boooooring, do something bold and different
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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  14. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sir, do not tempt me!

    small.jpg

    This is already getting out of hand.
     
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  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not as good as using chemical/nuclear rockets (high acceleration) to get the materials to build a plasma/ion rocket (high top speed) in orbit.

    And if you're using wormhole generators for long-distance, then you really want something with a heavier "kick" for small-scale maneuverability.

    Though if you're going for a setting sci-fi enough to use wormhole generators, then perhaps your civilization has found a way to manufacture black hole rockets?
     
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  16. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Then grip more tightly—I can see the enthusiasm is there.

    I say this because I had a little project way back that I abandoned alas. Along similar lines (radio waves vs laser) but it went unrealised as I didn't believe I had the mental resources to see it out or at least to garner any respectability from the sci-fi community. So... for me to Proxima Centuari by proxy if you have a crack at this.

    Not too far away in space (not too far in space terms) is a solar system no too dissimilar to our own. Proxima Centuari (a star like our own Sun) supports a small array of orbiting planets and one of these planets (just like Earth) supports life.
    The physical similarities stop here, because the kind of life on 'Rustoria' is made up of purely magnetic fields. The rusty red iron planet is baron and has no atmosphere but this doesn't matter as its dusty surface is teeming with life that neither eats nor breathes. Instead it draws its energy from the predictable magnetic weather cycles common to the whole planet. Life had inevitably evolved here due to an overwhelming abundance of these magnetic fields whizzing around the planet's surface. Magnetic vortices resulting from magnetic storms where so much power was concentrated into such small areas that odd combinations of energy chanced their hand at sparking life over and over and over again. One instance eventually proved successful. In a short time the new living energy pockets became complex and capable of movement and independent thought. Branching off into different species the more intelligent quickly took control of the planet’s future and had reached a stage in their evolution when bridging the gaps between the stars was number one on their agenda. They were aware of us here on Earth and we were intensely disliked. The reason for the Rustorians remote hatred of humanity lay in the fact that the human race’s innate ability to mess things up had now spread across the ether. Not only had our lack of foresight led us to overpopulate and pollute our own planet, we were now busy polluting far beyond our own frontiers with electromagnetic noise. Television and radio signals had been weaving their way through the fabric of space for half a century and had cast some of their threads on Rustoria. The native little magnetic beings were pole-axed by the virulent effect these signals had. The weak, the old and the mentally ill were the hardest hit, all polarised into appearing as the characters these invasive waves were imposing. Once infected they had a stark choice: to live out the rest of their now un-natural lives as electromagnetic effigies of alien celebrities, or quick death by euthanasia. Unassisted suicide was considered immoral in Rustorian society; mercy killings were the order, always conducted by the hand of someone unknown. Most Rustorians, unable to adapt to their 'possession' chose the suicide route.
    The civilisation was desperate for a cure so laws were passed down from high levels to engage a majority of the planet's surviving eminent minds. Their objective: to seek a method of preventing or curing the disease that blighted them. As most of the scientific advancement in their recent history had been in the field of space travel the Rustorians decided to send out a prototype (almost as fast as light) scout ship to root out the source of the signals. An expendable crew was chosen and their orders were to report back their findings and await further commands.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  17. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    If you can create a wormhole, you don't need propulsion. Wormholes (Einstein-Rosen bridges) are extreme warps through spacetime in geometries that allow two parts of the universe to connect together. Bent space manifests itself as gravity. Partially create a wormhole in front of you, and you'll be pulled in that direction. Any civilization that can create wormholes is far far far beyond us, they break our laws of physics (they're valid mathematically, but require negative energy density on a large scale, which QM will not allow.)

    From who's perspective? If you travel close to the speed of light, those long trips really will seem to be nearly instantaneous due to special relativity. Traveling to Alpha Centauri at 99.99% the speed of light would take a little more than 4 years as the earth observer, but take only a few minutes from the traveler's perspective.

    I see no reason for large amounts of energy, only some redundancy to make sure that all of the information gets there in tact. In fact, I would think lower energy would be better. Currently we use microwaves, which are on the lower range of things. It's actually better when using EM: high energy punches through obstacles, medium energies get stuck, low energies photons do something really cool: they go around the obstacle.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
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  18. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Pretty sure it was space opera, so it took special relativity out behind the barn, said nasty things about SR's mother, and beat the crap out of it. I liked the limitation of sublight travel the author imposed, however.
     
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  19. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I thought it'd be a good deal of wattage to get a message out there—even say to transmit some data to the next nearest star beyond our solar system. Here's the nub of some calcs I got someone to do (don't shoot the messenger):

    A good laser might have a beam divergence of around 1 milliradian. That means that at a distance of 4.24 light-years the beam's radius would be 4 x 10^13 metres. Now, a magnitude 30 object—about as faint as the Hubble Space Telescope can see—equates to a radiant flux of around 2.5 x 10^-20 Watts per square metre.

    Putting it together suggests a laser of 125 megawatts would do the job.

    However, there are a couple of catches. Firstly the telescope can only see the faintest objects if it takes a long exposure. This means the laser needs to transmit continuously; while much more powerful lasers exist they can only send very brief pulses. It also means the data rate would be very low. As in one letter per day would be doing well.

    Secondly, the calculation assumes no background light, when actually the Sun will be trying to drown out our laser. The narrow frequency range of the laser helps here, but I'm not sure by how much.
     
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  20. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Silly me, I thought you meant the energy level of the individual photons.

    I'm still not sure about that. In 1974 we sent something called the Arecibo message towards a star cluster 25,000 light years from us and we sent it at only 1000 kW. As far as I understand, we would been able to detect the message if we were on the other side with the technology that we had in 1974. I've not confirmed that yet, though.
     
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  21. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Side note. I'm pumped to see @Wolf Daemon return. Where you been, bud?! How's your book coming? I want to Beta it!
     
  22. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    The background/history of my universe is that an advanced alien race gave humanity it's tools for survival in space but didn't give them a lot else. Only giving them pieces of information to build the Worm Hole Generator etc. But ultimately they left the known universe due to humanity trying to sneak information away from them (basically we tried to steal information from them)

    As I said above, humanity was given the tools to make the worm hole creater which is still a mystery to them. And wormholes if I remember are pretty much black holes but they have an exiting side (hence why using them for long distance space travel), so opening one or trying to partially open one near Earth or any other star or planet would cause disaster, hence the need for actual propulsion.

    I've been away at college for a while. I finished Chapter 15 not to long ago (if my guideline is anything to go by then it's at least half way through the story). As for the book at the moment it has been put on hold for a moment for another project I am working on.

    Pretty much throughout college everyone was playing either card games, board games, or video games so near the end of the school year I designed a simplistic Pen/Paper Role Playing Game based around my universe to play with friends. They all liked it enough to say I should make something more of it and ever since I have been working with a business partner to edit and play test the game. Just need an artist for the artwork now which is hard to get sadly.

    I'll probably go back to working on my book once I have finished a side project for the game (I am writing a universe guide to explain it in even more detail than we have in the main rule book so far) which shouldn't be too long.
     
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  23. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    Oh okay, that's actually better if they remain a mystery to us because such a device would violate the laws of physics as we currently understand them. Pop science documentaries tend to make a leap that is just plain wrong. Einstein said that wormholes could exist, as they are a valid mathematical solution to his field equations. However, there is no solution for how to take spacetime without any holes and add one. Spacetime can bend and stretch all it wants, but it can never rip. Wormholes don't actually even need to be stretched out like you said a black hole. A gradual gradiant is just as valid. I've heard that string theory allows for space to rip, but I've not seen any math to support it.
     
  24. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    This assumes that the laws of physics as we understand them are correct - there was a time when we believed the plum pudding model of mollecular structure was completely correct
     
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  25. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    No one ever considered a plum pudding model (atoms actually, not molecules) to be correct. It was a proposed hypothesis, but stood up to no tests and never had any math. We know our physics is incomplete, like many other times throughout history, we have two models that are inconsistent with each other.

    Back to the original question: Why have you not considered antimatter? We currently know how to do that, it's just too dangerous and expensive right now.
     

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