How do we build a gigantic colony space ship?

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Ortix

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I have always wondered that. What do we need? Other than immense political, financial and public backing, what else do we need like technological advancements? Also, the ship would be 1-2KM in length and 400-800 in width/height.
something like the spirit of fire in the Halo Universe Link
(don't hate on me for reffering to halo, since most of our technology comes from fiction.)

Here's my take:
There is absolutely no way to build it if we launch the parts with something the size of the space shuttle. It will obviously built in orbit, but it will take most probably 100 years to build it if we launch every week.

My guess would be to transport the materials with space elevators. Have several of them around the world, and then spaceships would ferry the materials to the building site in geostat orbit.

Since it's not a warship, we don't need ginormous 10 meter thick armor plating. It would probably be built in sections like a cruise ship. It would be smart to have the wiring be done on earth and then attach all the pieces together like a puzzle and the electrical wires would plug into eachother at each seperation of the hull once fitted together.

Robots would then weld the all the pieces together.

I don't know how we would pressurize this mammoth of a ship. We could have each compartment pressuzired i guess... but then you would get something that looks like the ISS which does not look like a space ship to me.

If we have a space elevator, we could funnel air from earth into the ship right? If not, then we can make O2 from the water on the moon. If THAT doesn't work, then someone should suggest another idea here.

IDK guys.. i'm just very ambitious and I want to see some advancement in space travel. We look absolutely pathetic as a space faring race now. We could have been so much further if we didn't cut funding for NASA during the apollo program.

I'm going to study Aerospace Engineering next year, and hopefully i can have some impact on whatever to boost our space faring capabilities. So that the grandchilderen of our granchildren will be able to travel to different planets in different solar systems and always look back to earth as their home.

P.S.

There is no pricetag to this thing. Paying for this thing would require a different economical system. It would cost trillions of trillions of dollars.
 
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neilsox

Guest
You are suggesting a craft with almost a cubic kilometer of storage and living space. We have not built anything that large since the great wall of China. We need to scale up gradually, to avoid expensive errors. I agree, the space elevator or equivelent is necessary to build 1% of a cubic kilometer in space. With present best materials, and propulsion the craft would be seriously underpowered. Then we can think about 2% of a cubic kilometer. perhaps built at a NEO = near Earth asteroid which could supply some of the raw materials. Neil
 
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andrew_t1000

Guest
I can't remember who said it, but the quote goes something like this
"Best thing about a colony/generation ship is you can be sure when your descendants get to where they are going, you can be sure they will be able to get a MacDonalds, because someone will have thought of a better way to get there in the 100 or so years it takes for them to arrive."

I'd rather see a ship along the lines of an Enterprise 1701-E, something cozy, about the size of a super carrier.
 
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rockett

Guest
An old standby of SciFi is to just inflate an asteroid. It works like this:
1. Drill hole down long axis of a moderate size asteroid.
2. Fill it with water.
3. Get it spinning around the long axis.
4. Melt the asteroid using focused sunlight.
5. Water turns to steam and gas, inflating the asteroid.
6. Let it cool.
7. Rotate structure, so the inside experiences artificial gravity. Use mirrors to direct sunlight in from the poles.
8. Pressurize with oxygen and terraform with plants and animals (as desired).

Stick your super-duper space drive and power plant on one end, navigation on other and there you are! Nice roomy comfy generation ship. :cool:

This idea is also discussed on:
Asteroid Habitat
http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21339
 
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Balthazar579

Guest
rockett":23bq7tpw said:
An old standby of SciFi is to just inflate an asteroid. It works like this:
1. Drill hole down long axis of a moderate size asteroid.
2. Fill it with water.
3. Get it spinning around the long axis.
4. Melt the asteroid using focused sunlight.
5. Water turns to steam and gas, inflating the asteroid.
6. Let it cool.
7. Rotate structure, so the inside experiences artificial gravity. Use mirrors to direct sunlight in from the poles.
8. Pressurize with oxygen and terraform with plants and animals (as desired).

Stick your super-duper space drive and power plant on one end, navigation on other and there you are! Nice roomy comfy generation ship. :cool:

This idea is also discussed on:
Asteroid Habitat
http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?t=21339
This one is amazed at the simlicity of the idea. Idk if it would work, but it sure sounds worth a try.
 
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andrew_t1000

Guest
I first read about the idea of inflating an asteroid this way in a Larry Niven essay he put in one of his short story collections.
One huge problem is homogeneity or consistency of your target asteroid.
Even if its a nickel/iron body it still won't be like blowing glass.
The other thing is why bother with expanding it with steam?
If you could get that kind of mass hot enough to get it plastic, not molten, just spinning it would create the effect you are looking for.
Even if you solved all the problems of heating your asteroid, spinning it up, getting uniformity in the shell, annealing the shell properly as it cooled so it doesn't get brittle, what about all the hassle of fitting it out with the infrastructure to make a viable habitat.
A big empty shell might seem like a good idea until you start to think about the little things like air, water, waste circulation, transportation, communication all have to be added, then it needs to be pressurised.
Just building in a big hollow space, that will probably ring like a bell, is a really bad idea.
Just the resonance issues would be a huge problem to solve, let alone when you fire up your drive.

Lunar or asteroid regolith, mixed with polymer resin made from hydrocarbons "mined" from somewhere like Titan, re-enforced with steel mined from asteroids, assembled in zero G, then spun up would present less of a challenge.
All of your infra-structure could be incorporated into the hull, along with workshops, hangers, cargo space, granaries, reservoirs for water, air and fuel.
That would leave the entire interior for crops and living quarters.

Seriously if we can solve all the engineering to build a Rama style ship, we'll have already developed an FTL drive.
 
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rockett

Guest
Personally I have never been a fan of generation ships. There are too many inherent problems with the idea, and frankly people are too unreliable. FTL or suspended animation would be a better idea, and probably we could do them by the time we completed the generation ship (if we focused on that goal instead), let alone gone anywhere with it.
 
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Valcan

Guest
If it were just me i wouldnt build one emense colony ship but multiple large vessels.

Say each one a few thousand feet long. Nuke powered. Cylindrical. A cap on each end that acts as a shield and contains water/reaction mass.

But if we were going to do it i would recomend colonizing a few of our neighboring planets first. Mars establish a few orbital colonies etc....
 
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Ortix

Guest
i didn't really want it to be a genetion ship. I inteded it to have an FTL drive but just big enough to transport a lot of people.

Why build a gigantic cruise ship if you can put everyone on smaller yachts? Cost effectiveness...
 
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nec208

Guest
First big starship like the Enterprise D and voyager look cool but nothing we have now chemical rockets,Ion rockets ,plasma rockets ,nuclear ,fusion ,laser propulsion will allow this .

In fact in 15 to 20 years from now if there is a chemical rocket that will take up 15 people or SSTO that takes up 4 or 7 people of any propulsion that would be a very very very very big breakthrough.And you want a floating ocean liner or small floating city .Not physically possible with todays rockets or propulsion we know of today.

It will be centuries and centuries if some other propulsion is found or made like anti-grafity ,mono-magnetic propulsion or element 115 that has scientist scratching their head what it is that alone build or use it.

It not even real science do to scientist do not understand it that alone build or use it.Even if there was technology no one would build ship that big on less you where moving large number of people on earth to go and live on a other plenet cloney.

Big army space-ships and big army planes are bad tactical advantage.Well Battlestar Galactica got it right and star trek wrong on a army tactical advantage.Also even when one looks at UFO cases on the history channel or any UFO case the UFO are not that big and do not look like spaceships like star trek.Most are disc-shape ,triangle ,or cigar shape.
 
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fatal2tyb

Guest
why not use a sub as a space craft. A sub is a closed system as is the ISS. The sub would of corse need to be moded. ECT.
 
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SteveCNC

Guest
The way I see it for a ship to be that large it would have to be modular to be safe and carry redundant systems . I think that is the best way for us to move beyond this system . But a ship like that would also be one that even if you find a habitable planet , most people would probably want to stay on the ship (I know I would) .
 
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rockett

Guest
fatal2tyb":2ohk62ph said:
why not use a sub as a space craft. A sub is a closed system as is the ISS. The sub would of corse need to be moded. ECT.
SURE! Use a Los Angelas class sub weighing in at 700 tons! After all, it already has a nuclear reactor! And you could throw nuclear bombs out the rear torpedo tubes if it has any to lift it off using the explosions! :lol:

(sarcasm intended)
 
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bdewoody

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fatal2tyb":1d8y7kmj said:
why not use a sub as a space craft. A sub is a closed system as is the ISS. The sub would of corse need to be moded. ECT.
And just how do you propose to get 11,000 tons up into space? A sub's hull is designed to withstand much more pressure than is needed in space. A spaceship's "hull" only needs to hold in 1 atmosphere of pressure.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
A sub is designed to resist pressure from the outside (LOTS of it, in fact). It would explode if launched into space, since all the force would be in the wrong direction...
 
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Valcan

Guest
nec208":1di36b78 said:
Not really. Using resources found in space like a asteroid or the moon we could do this right now. It would just takea massive infestructure which would require investment. And a massive budget in the hundreds of billions.....wait a minute didnt we spend that amount not to long ago? What was it on again?............................anyways.
We have all the technology and ability to do it what it really comes dwn to is cost. We a present are not willing to support the cost.

The upside of building something like that is the cost for a launch would go way down :lol:

And um the Los angeles class displaces around 6,000-7,000 tons 9depending on weither it is surfaced or diving) so yea 700 not so much and the Ohio is around 16,000 or so.

Look for a series called Into the looking glass it has one its a good book accually.
 
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mj1

Guest
rockett":2r6s1bwy said:
Personally I have never been a fan of generation ships. There are too many inherent problems with the idea, and frankly people are too unreliable. FTL or suspended animation would be a better idea, and probably we could do them by the time we completed the generation ship (if we focused on that goal instead), let alone gone anywhere with it.
Today of course nothing like this is feasible. However, it would not hurt to have NASA and some of the other space faring organizations around the world at least do some research on the feasibility of getting something like this done in the next 100 years, if for nothing else than to have a contingency plan to put in place in the event of some extinction level event like an asteroid hitting the earth or some other planetary disaster.

In any event, I think that the current new course of the space program could be the seed for a permanent industrial presence in space that could serve as future infrastructure for this type of project. Imagine NASA getting out of the rocket to LEO business and letting the commercials fill that void while putting their minds to projects like this and other manned deep space missions. We could as a stepping stone to the colony ship vision, build a ship in space either in LEO, lunar orbit, or perhaps at a Lagrange point that would be used to send a manned crew out to deep solar space like the moons of Jupiter (for future manned outpost surveys), the asteroid belt (to investigate commercial mining possibilities), etc. NASA would plan and coordinate the mission. The crew (probably not even born yet) would be international. The commercial launchers would ferry supplies and material to the construction site. Projects like this would be a stepping stone to a future infrastructure that could be used to build a colony ship, if need be. It is my vision for a future that would provide a real stepping stone to not just space exploration, but a full fledged space economy. This type of project can be started now, with the long term vision of getting off the ground in say 40-50 years. We will never see such a thing, but it would be a nice gift to leave our descendants.
 
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aaron38

Guest
andrew_t1000":3lfov94i said:
Seriously if we can solve all the engineering to build a Rama style ship, we'll have already developed an FTL drive.
Except for the small problem that FTL is most likely impossible. We may solve all those engineering problems, but be stuck at sublight. I have no doubt that colony ships will be built when the time comes, assuming fusion of course, but they won't be colony ships in the sense of transmitting our culture, or even our basic values. More like arks from life's drive to spread, spores flung out in the hopes of landing somewhere fertile.

If any new life does come from Earth's dying gasp, probably no one will know it.
 
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aaron38

Guest
Actually, the older the galaxy gets, the more likely it would become for a planet to have life. Life, at it's core is information, not mass. The molecular machinery needed to build an ecosystem from scratch weighs next to nothing. If we detect earthlike worlds with liquid water but no sign of life, would we send a probe to seed it? If the sun was becoming unstable, would we send out probes loaded with seeds of insect and plant life? Probably, and I bet other intelligent life would as well. Whole plannets could skip the stages that took 3 billion years here. New intelligence would arise that much sooner.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
You can go 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999% the speed of light without violating the laws of physics, hence no need for a generation ship to the nearest star. If anything you would want to place the colonists in suspended animation/freeze them, since it would be a 4 year trip one way, ship time.

--Brian
 
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Space_pioneer

Guest
You would have a problem procreating on generation ships. Much easier just to develop cryonics a bit more and then freeze people for the trip duration.
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
Space_pioneer":10gnqfrj said:
You would have a problem procreating on generation ships. Much easier just to develop cryonics a bit more and then freeze people for the trip duration.
Yep, I agree. :) If we can't go fast enough to make it a short trip, it is better to freeze/render them unconscious. For one thing, you don't know if succeeding generations are going to want to continue the ship's mission.

--Brian
 
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neutrino78x

Guest
MeteorWayne":3aliwrq9 said:
A sub is designed to resist pressure from the outside (LOTS of it, in fact). It would explode if launched into space, since all the force would be in the wrong direction...
I do not have a college degree, but I am qualified in submarines, which means I know a lot about submarines (you have to pass a board), and I disagree with this statement.

The hull of the boat is designed to withstand Test Depth, and will theoretically remain stable until Crush Depth. I cannot tell you either depth, as they are classified, but I can say that it is "greater than 800 feet" (243 m). I assure you that the differential pressure at even 600 feet is far greater than it would be if normal atmospheric pressure is pressing against the inside of the hull while the boat is surrounded by a vacuum. Water pressure increases one atmosphere with every 33 feet (10.1 m) of depth.

Let me put it this way, the Space Shuttle survived atmospheric pressure against vacuum, and its hull is far, far thinner and of a far less dense alloy than that of a 688i or Trident submarine.

I suggest to you that if a submarine were placed in space, with normal pressure we maintain in the boat (approximately 1 atmosphere), and all hatches closed, what would happen is Absolutely Nothing (TM).

--Brian
 
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rockett

Guest
neutrino78x":3ahj03il said:
I do not have a college degree, but I am qualified in submarines, which means I know a lot about submarines (you have to pass a board), and I disagree with this statement.

The hull of the boat is designed to withstand Test Depth, and will theoretically remain stable until Crush Depth. I cannot tell you either depth, as they are classified, but I can say that it is "greater than 800 feet" (243 m). I assure you that the differential pressure at even 600 feet is far greater than it would be if normal atmospheric pressure is pressing against the inside of the hull while the boat is surrounded by a vacuum. Water pressure increases one atmosphere with every 33 feet (10.1 m) of depth.

Let me put it this way, the Space Shuttle survived atmospheric pressure against vacuum, and its hull is far, far thinner and of a far less dense alloy than that of a 688i or Trident submarine.

I suggest to you that if a submarine were placed in space, with normal pressure we maintain in the boat (approximately 1 atmosphere), and all hatches closed, what would happen is Absolutely Nothing (TM).

--Brian
Perhaps true, but even if it worked, you would have to resurrect Project Orion to have any chance to get it up there. :lol:

Project Orion (nuclear propulsion)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)
 
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