near future human ships help

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near future human ships help

Postby creca » September 8th, 2018, 3:57 pm

i want to design a near future human spaceship, preferably one that was abandoned for about 12000+years, and preferably something that would have been made about 20-200+ years from today, can anyone assist? i usually design far future craft not designed for humans
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby AsphaltEvidence » September 8th, 2018, 10:24 pm

What sort of spaceship are you considering?
Maybe a colony ship made for colonizing new worlds? A generation ship built to transport thousands of people to another solar system? A warship capable of orbiting a planet and bombarding cities with massive chunks of metal?

Each has its own requirements, but most will follow certain guidelines:

1. Gravity is good.
Humans don't do so well without gravity. Since this is supposed to be a near-future ship, we can throw out the "gravity generators" that appear quite frequently in popular Sci-Fi stories, such as Star Trek and Star Wars. Instead, we'll look at the easiest, most achievable forms of artificial gravity, namely Centripetal (Spin) gravity and Linear Acceleration gravity.

Spin gravity is very simple. It's explained in any basic physics class. Take a bucket, put water in it, and twirl it around in a circle. If you do it right, none of the water falls out. A good example of a spin-gravity structure would be that space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It just spins and spins and keeps everybody on the inside of the circle. That's pretty much it.

Gravity due to linear acceleration is even easier. Just accelerate constantly in one direction and you're good to go. I will reluctantly use the Hermes from The Martian as an example here. I will be using the version from the book, NOT the movie. The Hermes uses an Ion engine that constantly accelerates the ship towards its destination. I'm pretty sure that it accelerates at about 1g, which means that everybody within it would feel an acceleration of about 9.81 m/s^2 towards the back of the ship at all times. If you ever see an image of the Hermes with those stupid spin-gravity wheels, please ignore it. I'm pretty sure those were added for the cool factor.

So, your ship needs to spin a lot, constantly accelerate a lot, or just let its crew float around for most of its travel time.

2. Resources are rare.
Spaceships are expensive to build. Especially if they're launched from a planet. It would be far easier to let the ship float around in space and transfer its crew using a small shuttle of some sort. This means that you shouldn't add wings to your spaceships unless it absolutely needs them. In fact, your ship probably doesn't need to be aerodynamic at all. If it were a transport ship, it could literally just be a big box with rockets on its sides.

Spaceships also require a lot of metal. All that structure has to be welded together and tested out there. Sure, you could just hollow out an asteroid and slap on a few thrusters, but that doesn't look cool at all. So you should just think about the producer of your ship and think about how much metal they'll need to make it, thus limiting its size.

Of course, almost all of this is assuming that your ship was built in space and gravity doesn't apply too much to it.

3. Oxygen is optimal.
Life support is always needed on a ship. You'll need some oxygen tanks or air recycler of some sort. While you're at it, toss in some normal living spaces that you might need in a normal home, such as beds, showers, kitchens, bathrooms, etc.

...

Ok, that's all I've got. The question is a bit too broad at the moment.
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby creca » September 11th, 2018, 9:20 pm

thank you for allowing me to add specificity to my original poast, i want a near future small crew transfer/expedition ship used to let humans go from one low gravity planet to another
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby AsphaltEvidence » September 14th, 2018, 8:06 pm

creca wrote:thank you for allowing me to add specificity to my original poast, i want a near future small crew transfer/expedition ship used to let humans go from one low gravity planet to another


In that case, it may be best to build a hybrid ship of some sort. And probably cheat a bit.

Space is big. Really big. Did you know that you could fit all of the planets in our solar system between the Earth and the Moon? That's a frickin' huge distance! The Curiosity Rover took 254 days just to travel from here to Mars! New Horizons took nine and a half years to get to Pluto.

This presents a really big problem, of course. If these low gravity planets are within the same system, that's a little less bad. But I'm assuming that these planets are not in our Solar System. This means that your ship needs to be capable of interstellar travel... and there's no way I'm gonna try to solve that problem with actual engines. It's time to break the rules.

But first, let's talk about the smaller stuff. This is what the hybrid ship is for.

In my previous post, I noted that the Hermes in the movie version of The Martian used both centripetal and linear accelerations to generate artificial gravity and mentioned that it was a really stupid idea. I'd like to amend that. It's a good idea! Just not when both are used at the same time. Instead, it would be better to constantly accelerate while traveling from planet to planet within a solar system without using those spinning rings. This would ensure maximum comfort of the crew by minimizing the effects of microgravity while also providing a shorter travel time. It also has the benefit of not squishing your crew to jelly in a single, high-acceleration launch. On arrival and in a safe orbit of the destination-planet, the ship should then use its spin-gravity wheels. This would essentially turn it into a "bicycle wheel" station from which astronauts can travel to the planet in smaller shuttles. Those astronauts still on the station will be able to enjoy the benefits of standard gravity due to the spinning while they wait.

The number of crew doesn't really matter now. A ship like this can probably be scaled up or down as much as you like, just as long as you leave it in space and let the shuttles do the work.

Now it's time to break the rules.

I'd recommend using an FTL drive. Nothing else would allow a small crew to travel to another solar system without dying of old age before getting there. In my comic, I used a drive based off of the hypothetical Alcubierre Drive. Look it up on Wikipedia if you're curious about it.

I cheated, though. It'd be impossible for such a warp engine to work without certain exotic materials that we just don't have. So I made up my own unobtanium to get it to work. And you'll probably have to do that too if you follow the same route I took.

I have no idea how else you'd get it to work. Maybe use some wormholes? I dunno. But that's about it. Thanks for reading.
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby pixlyJolt » September 15th, 2018, 11:29 pm

creca wrote:i want to design a near future human spaceship, preferably one that was abandoned for about 12000+years, and preferably something that would have been made about 20-200+ years from today, can anyone assist? i usually design far future craft not designed for humans

. _________________________________________________________________________________ .
I don’t think this was the kind of ‘human ship’ I was thinking about :?
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby iMilq » September 19th, 2018, 10:32 pm

AsphaltEvidence has already stated most of what is really important, but I would like to add on a bit.

If the low-gravity planets are actually within the same solar system and have an atmosphere, then you could really get fancy. Assuming that the gravity you are thinking about is weak enough, you could theoretically make a Single-Stage-to-Orbit (SSTO). An SSTO is basically like something out of Star Wars; it can operate both within and without atmosphere and transition between the two easily enough. Of course, this is nowhere near as efficient as what AspEv was explaining, but it's really cool.

However, I need to state a couple things before I go into the technical aspect of SSTOs. Firstly, SSTOs are really only required if the target planets have atmospheres. If the planet doesn't have an atmosphere, you may as well use a lander craft similar to those used in moon landings. You could just use a more efficient landing craft anyways, even if there is an atmosphere. The SSTO is the entire spaceship in itself. It does not need landing craft. Using an SSTO means that the entire crew is risked every time they want to enter an atmosphere. Secondly, SSTOs are pretty much only feasible in a science-fiction world where you can ignore quite a few variables. To explain this, I will need to go into detail.

The SSTOs I am talking about are hybrids of atmospheric aircraft and space-faring vessels. This means that they require multiple kinds of propulsion systems for peak fuel efficiency. Within an atmosphere, the SSTO will use engines that take oxygen from the air and mix it with the fuel within the combustion chambers of its atmospheric engines. After all, fire requires oxygen. This isn't possible in the vacuum of space, so these engines will need to be shut off and rockets will need to be used. Liquid fueled engines would be more efficient than solid fueled, so oxidizer would be required. These kinds of engines are nowhere near as efficient within an atmosphere, hence the requirement for a separate source of thrust. Of course, these engines and their fuel take up space and are very heavy and the thrust-to-weight ratio of the whole vehicle needs to be balanced. Adding on to the whole thing, another set of engines might need to be added for lengthier space travel. Ion engines would be even more efficient for astronomical distances than liquid-fuel engines, but are not exactly the best for getting out of a gravity well. With all of this mass added to the spacecraft, we are not going to get a very large or comfortable ship. Unless we unleash the magic of science fiction and introduce some sort of all-purpose and very efficient engine or an inertia-manipulation device, it would need to be limited to planets of very low gravity to work at all.

Sorry about the wall of text that probably wasn't that useful. It's just another thing to think about.
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Re: near future human ships help

Postby Otto Gruenwald » October 18th, 2018, 1:37 pm

Give up on realism. Go full gonzo scifi.
Solar system eating fish ships that sort planets into individual scales.
Kick realism to the curb, embrace the fishship, and be free.

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