Space Travel Question

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ihwip

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The photonic thrusters thread under SS&A sparked a debate between my friend and I.<br /><br />If you could accelerate to such high speeds, a single impact of a micrometeor would pretty much destroy anything we can build. I was thinking we would need to build some seriously strong armor just for the sake of guarding against this issue and it would double then as a radiation shield for any potential travellers.<br /><br />What is the odds of a ship travelling to Mars in 1 week encountering an object capable of destroying it?
 
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MeteorWayne

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Small, but certainly not zero.<br /><br />Of couse, once you add all that shielding, you increase the mass of the ship so much it can't accelerate that fast..... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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nexium

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My very rough estimate re-words your question somewhat. There is a 2% chance that the craft will not make a soft landing on Mars or miss Mars completely or the crew will die during the week, because it collided with something during the one week enroute. That drops to 1% if we go 100 times slower taking 100 weeks to get there. If the failure probability is linear (and it is not) a 100 week trip to a place 100 times farther away than Mars would result in a 200% probability of failure due to colliding with something. The calulating of probability envolves a lot of assumptions and gets very complex.<br />Since thrust will be insufficient for heavy armor, the next best approach is multiple layers of foil spaced one or more meters apart surounding the craft. At 0.001% or more of the speed of light the foil is also very effective against sub atomic particals, but does not protect significantly from hard X rays, gamma rays nor neutrinos, but an inch of quality steel is also ineffective against hard Xrays, gamma rays and neutrinos, even at low speeds. Neil
 
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MeteorWayne

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You bring up a good point.<br /><br />The radiation load of a trip to mars is not inconsequential.<br /><br />In that case, faster is better, as long as you don't hit anything. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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siarad

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As the crew need water, this could provide both shielding & collision protection if suitably compartmentised against leakage.
 
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ihwip

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I really think in the end we are going to give up on human space travel and send more and more advanced AIs into the cosmos. Until we can send a volunteer army of humans in a gigantic compartmentalized craft, I don't see any space colonies being created outside the Lunar orbit anytime soon.
 
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qso1

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There is always the option of hollowing out an asteroid and using the asteroid as a hull. Thats probably not going to be possible for at least a century...and thats if we find a rationale for doing it within the next few decades. At some point I think this will be the option that is the most feasible. The shield material is already in place.<br /><br />Although I would say this option would only be feasible for any craft capable of greater than 50 percent SOL. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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ihwip

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not a bad idea! Now if only we had an asteroid coming near the Earth that we could coax into a stable orbit so we could 'work' on it. There is that one that will come close in 2029. How hard would it be to tweak its orbit to something safe yet local?<br /><br />We could also just try to dig out the moon and build a gigantic thruster on it. Use it as a gigantic space station.<br /><br />That's no moon! It's a space station! Er both! haha.<br />
 
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ihwip

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This could work. The process would be simple. Speed it up to escape velocity and sling it around the sun in a descending orbit. Then work on it as it is getting closer.<br /><br />I was also thinking that maybe nanites would be useful. Say we had an asteroid and sent nanites in to burrow in and purify the surface and make it more dense. You could slowly transform an asteroid into a space ship from the inside out.
 
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lysol

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Mars moons really arnt good space craft quality rocks. They are more sedimentry in style. You want is a nice big type M asteroid
 
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ihwip

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Fair enough. We could easily do the same thing on a larger scale using factories and such but that might take a while to get installed.
 
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qso1

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IHWIP:<br />There is that one that will come close in 2029. How hard would it be to tweak its orbit to something safe yet local?<br /><br />Me:<br />Something like this is probably a century or more from being a practical reality but the way I envisioned it...the asteroid is a small NEO no more than maybe 3 miles in diameter and relatively close to earth. A propulsion system is installed that brings it closer to earth over a lengthy period of time, perhaps as much as two decades. During that time, some preliminary construction activity can be taking place.<br /><br />In my graphic novel series, the asteroids are placed at either L-4 or L5 for continued construction activity which at some point will involve months, even years of using directed energy devices to gradually hollow the roid out.<br /><br />Of course, this idea is sci fi for now. I put some detail into it but only that which is required to make it seem plausible for the purposes of the story. Would it actually work and how hard would it be to accomplish? I Don't know.<br /><br />As for the moon, well...its already in a pretty stable orbit and would serve well as a space station.<br /><br />BTW, I wasn't the first to think of hollowing out an asteroid. I'd heard it somewhere and decided it was the most practical/feasible way to deal with the debris at SOL problem and lorentz transformation radiation. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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nyrath

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<b>Now if only we had an asteroid coming near the Earth that we could coax into a stable orbit so we could 'work' on it.</b><br /><br />In reality, the instant that plans were revealed to alter the asteroid's orbit, the paranoid leaders of nations with nuclear weapons would tell us to forget about it.<br />
 
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