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"Realistic" Space Warship Design?

  1. #1
    [AoD]
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    "Realistic" Space Warship Design?

    Hello everyone! I used to post here a long time ago, but now I'm back. Anyhooooo, I've started working on this science-fiction story, and it happens to involve 'realistic' space warfare. That sort of set me started on wondering exactly what a realistic space warship would be like. Of course, it's improbable that there would be actual space warfare in the first place - in the context of our civilisation for the next few hundred years to come - because it takes tremendous amounts of resources and energy just to build spaceships that aren't supposed to go and blow each other up. But let us suspend disbelief for a little while and imagine, purely hypothetically, what a space warship that is feasible given modern scientific knowledge and technology, might be like. Keep in mind that I'm just an amateur - I probably know a lot less about space physics than most people on these forums, so if there's something wrong with my reasoning, by all means, step in and correct me.

    First of all, I believe that it wouldn't look anything like Homeworld. Homeworld looks cool, but it's not realistic. My first conception of 'realistic' space warfare is a little similar to submarine warfare in that 1) being in a small, confined space in a dangerous environment, if you get hit by the enemy (or vice-versa), it's likely to do a lot of damage very quickly, 2) you and the enemy are both difficult to detect, and 3) your vehicle is tremendously expensive to build and operate.

    Given that context, let's examine the kind of environment we're working with. Unlike submarine warfare, where you can do a lot of things to evade things once detected, if your enemy in space can lock onto you with their telescopes, they can pretty much track you around forever. This would mean that stealth - not being detected in the first place - would be more important than ever. Space warships would accelerate to a certain speed, shut off their engines and then try to continue to cruise at that speed for as long as possible. If you're not giving off a lot of radiation from your engines, then it's rather difficult to pinpoint where your spaceship is, because there's such a vast field of vision in which to look, and your spaceship itself is comparatively tiny - like looking for a needle in a haystack the size of a football stadium.

    To detect people actively, you'd need to be sending radar signals all over the place and seeing which signals are relatively more doppler-shifted than others, which might indicate a space vessel moving somewhere. However, since you're effectively broadcasting your location by sending these signals out, once you do find your enemy, they will probably know where you are as well. In this respect, it should also be similar to submarines, with their active sonar. So in this case, there would be a lot of emphasis on passive detection techniques - telescopes and radios and the like.

    As for weaponry, since spacecraft are pretty fragile things, shooting missiles and such would probably do a lot of damage. A disadvantage of missiles would be that they are easily detectable - in the way that they spew out all that hot gas and radiation from their ends. A stealthier solution would be to fire mass-based projectiles at high velocity - railguns basically. Effectively, they'd simply be artificial micrometeorites. In a frictionless, airless environment, a fast-moving projectile - even a small one - would have enough kinetic energy to punch holes in large objects. They would also be difficult to detect. Lasers, on the other hand, are comparatively energy-costly - especially if you want to burn a hole through an enemy spaceship's hull, which would be armour-plated, or mirrored, to guard against possible laser-attacks. I'd imagine that lasers would be used a lot like the Taiidan defence fighters - to destroy incoming projectiles like bullets or missiles. It could be that this technology might be adapted from technologies used to destroy micrometeorites before impact. Nuclear missiles, which have a very high energy yield given a relatively compact size, might be useful in space, but their most damaging effects on earth - the concussion wave and the EMP effects - would not be so relevant in space, thus: 1) most of the damage would be done by the tremendous release of energy at once and 2) the EMP effects would be shielded against if the missile detonated at a large enough distance such that it could be dissipated by the ships' artificial magnetic fields - "storm cellars" used to shield against cosmic radiation and solar wind, similar to the Earth's magnetosphere.

    Because of the very long distances involved in space combat, you might engage your targets from hundreds of thousands of kilometres away by firing your rockets, having the rockets accelerate for a while, shut off as they cruise in towards their targets, and then accelerate again as they zoom in for the kill. Or you might fire your guns many thousands of kilometres ahead of your target's possible trajectory and wait hours - or even days - for them to hit. To ensure a faster, more likely kill, then, you might want to move in closer to your target - but that would make it more risky for you as well.

    Any other thoughts? Feel free to elaborate/criticize my ideas.

    @~[AOD]

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    All ships would be sphere-shaped, non-aerodynamic, and fire nukes at eachother. Take a look in the gallery forum and dig up the community starship design thread, or check ammon's patrol craft thread for references.

    But just a note; if you're looking for something that looks interesting (eg; goes beyond basic geometric shapes), you're not going to find it. "realistic" space warship designs.... well... they suck (IMO).
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  3. #3
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    Why sphere shaped? I always imagined them to be square. How is a sphere structurally sound?
    Realistic spaceship designs are ugly. Just imagine a box with thrusters on every side. Also, they just fire either relativistic matter (depending on the answer to the 'light speed' issue) or missleboats with nuclear payloads at each other. Fighters, frigates, battle cruisers all out the window. What you want is a box full of nukes.

  4. #4
    Running Dog Scribble's Avatar
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    All ships would be sphere-shaped, non-aerodynamic, and fire nukes at eachother.
    Oddly enough, I was thinking about that whilst walking my dog today: Wouldn't an elipse or even 'needle' shape be superior?

    Given that combat would most likely take place at extreme range and (perhaps) use 'beam' weaponry you would want to minimise the cross section you present your opponant?

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    I want everyone to think long and hard about a future where geometric shapes decide wars..... wait for it....

    But honestly, I don't think a needle is much better than a sphere in terms of variety. Its all well and good for books (been done... alot), but when I think about games or movies....yick.

    EDIT; The sphere shape is best because it provides no flat armored surfaces (bowed surfaces are stronger), and provides any weapon the maximum field of fire possible. Have you taken a physics course yet?

  6. #6
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    Yeah we got a lot of done in the community warship design thread. (OF WHICH I AM VERY PROUD.)

    http://forums.relicnews.com/showthread.php?t=84994
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  7. Child's Play Donor Technical Help Senior Member General Discussions Senior Member Homeworld Senior Member Forum Subscriber  #7
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    The sphere shape is best because it provides no flat armored surfaces (bowed surfaces are stronger), and provides any weapon the maximum field of fire possible. Have you taken a physics course yet?
    It also sucks in terms of usable space and accessability, unless it's a really large sphere where the curvature of the outer wall won't matter. Cylindrical ships could provide artificial gravity by rotation, this would make for extremely impractical interior designs on a sphere for geometric reasons.
    If you're launching nukes anyway field of fire is not that big an issue, because guided missiles tend to be capable of changing their trajectory.

    Also, if you want to keep the engines away from the crew for whatever reasons a sphere isn't practical either.

  8. #8
    Apo Mekhanes Theos Progenitor's Avatar
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    physics states that a sphere is best.

    practicality doesn't...so...

  9. #9
    werst spella evar Bonnet's Avatar
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    Sphere is a no-no. We wen't over this in the community warship thread. At any fraction of the speed of light ships DO need to be aerodynamic. The particle density of the galaxy is enough that a round ship would have huge problems with wear and tear at near luminal speeds. Alex: Thats why you want a point ship. Literally kilometer long needles would be the best. That way if any space dust does hit the vast majority of its energy is defelected. Also, bowed surfaces are stronger, but since we can assume must shots would be from the font towards the ship a needle would absorb less kinetic energy per impace because the projectile would have a hit like `| instead of -|.

    As for the use of your railguns...once again no go. If a ship changes direction at all after you have fired the projecticle (which could take ten minutes at CLOSE range) at the target, if it where to slow down only slightly (compared to its speed) you would miss by 100's of miles. A more realisitc alternative wuld be to lay down a shotgun effect infront of the ship which would make it much harder to dodge.

    That said, as we discussed in the community ship project warfare in interstellar space is very unlikely with our current technology. If we wish to limit this to a stellar war (between mars and earth for example) we may have better sucess.
    Last edited by Bonnet; 12th May 06 at 10:24 AM.


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  10. #10
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    Bonnet I think the amount of lead required to fill the region the ship could conceivably go was prohibitively high.

  11. #11
    Running Dog Scribble's Avatar
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    If your using Nukes, Imagine you would want to mount the weaponry as far from the hull as possible: in pods projecting out from the ship. Limits the damage done by sparks in the powder magazine. So to speak.

  12. #12
    Forum punned-it Retroboy's Avatar
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    zbob, at any percentage of the speed of light, aerodynamicity wouldn't matter. A ship going at .1C hitting a tiny pebble (say, 1 gram) at rest will impact it at 18 thousand kilometers a second.

    Kinetic Energy = 1/2 m * v^2
    = 1/2 * .001kg * 18,000,000m/s * 18,000,000m/s
    = 162,000,000,000 joules
    = the amount of energy required to lift 16,000,000,000kg one meter on the surface of the planet earth

    (reference: wiki on Joule)

    That'll go right through anything, aerodynamic or not.

    Even a piece of space sand weighing a milligram would have one hell of a kick - it produces enough force to lift 16 million kilograms a meter at that speed.

    To avoid death, the true high-C ship needs magnetic shielding, not a thin profile.

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  13. #13
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    ..or sensors that can detect a deadly obstacle like a pebble far enough away to automatically evade it.

  14. #14
    Running Dog Scribble's Avatar
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    zbob, at any percentage of the speed of light, aerodynamicity wouldn't matter. A ship going at .1C hitting a tiny pebble (say, 1 gram) at rest will impact it at 18 thousand kilometers a second.
    I think the aerodynamic bit was to not get hit as much..

  15. General Discussions Senior Member  #15
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's a lot easier to shield a needle against dust than it is to shield just about anything else. A poor analogy is to think of firing a piece of gel into the desert air and catching it before it hits the ground. A long thin cylinder of gel is going to run into less sand than a sphere or a box or a whatever. It would be a lot easier to put a magic shield on the front of the cylinder to shunt things off to the side, allowing it to slice through the air without hitting any sand, than it would be to do the same for a sphere or a box.

  16. Homeworld Senior Member  #16
    The Earth ships from Babylon 5 are probably the meost realistic ones, and they are pretty cool looking to boot.

  17. General Discussions Senior Member  #17
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    magic shield on the front of the cylinder to shunt things off to the side
    Magic? Why not a plasma shield?
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  18. #18
    Interplanetary Super Spy Fixer's Avatar
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    I think a more interesting project would be 'what if we built combat spaceships with current and modern technology'

    We're looking at spacecraft with large sections taken over for fuel storage. An angular shape with stealth coating to minimise risk of detection. A pretty advanced and large radar system to track enemy ships akin to an AWACS, maybe several ships operating in a net combined with intel from ground or orbital based radar systems. Countermeasures such as Goalkeeper guns and long range rockets.

    Railguns aren't really possible on spacecraft with our current technology due to the power requirements. We're looking at long range missiles, possibly dropped at a distance and engines fired up later so the don't lead back to the ship that fired it. Guided in by laser painting the target in combination with other onboard targeting to evade countermeasures.

    The missile wouldn't even need to get too close to destroy the enemy ship. Nuclear armed, the blast and shrapnel could destroy it from several kilometers away, meaning that countermeasures woudl have to strike incoming missiles at a good long distance.

  19. #19
    I am a sun God Ammon Ra's Avatar
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    Stealth +large radar don't mix. While stealth makes you immune to passive detection, sending out huge radar pulses is like putting a bullseye a lightyear across on your ship.

    Bad idea imo. All you'd need is a coherent neutron beam (which, has a short life span in itself, difficult to accelerate) but if you were to put fission material in pods outside of the ship, "all" it takes is a strong neutron pulse and kaboom goes your whole nuclear arsenal. However, if it's inside the ship, hebind lots of radiation shielding, there's a much smaller chance of it going off.

    Oh, and there's the magnetic field "hyperspace" idea. Yeah, it's a theory, but it's a plausible one, and is within the grasp of current technology (more/less), while i don't see square hyperspace and stargates being feasable anytime soon.

    Regarding space combat, IT is huge. Any type of realistic combat in outer space ( at least a light year away from solar systems) would be unfesable without using AI controlled/kamikaze Nuclear warheads and/or shotgun style weaponry. Even knowing where the enemy's ships are is pointless, as once you know where they were, they could be anywhere, within a sphere with a diameter equal to the time it took to detect the ships times 0.99c. Combat within solar systems, or large collections of mass would be, imo, the most logical place to intercept and fight enemy fleets. Then again, because of that some might attack fleets in outer space due to it's "surprise" factor.

    Fleet A moves from system 1 to system 2 in a straight line, where it recharges it's energy surplies using system 2's sun. They then move to system 3, again in a pretty much straight linemoving to where the system will be when they get there. I wouldn't like spending several dozen, if not hundred years in outer space with almost no "islands" to resuply and do any repairs. it's a bit like moving around in sea with a boat. it can be very unpredictable, and once out in the sea, very hard to fix anything, to get supplies, etc. System-hoping, basicly. Add The magnet-induced hyperspace possibility, and as far as i'm concerned you get a pretty realistic model of how space combat might be fought.

    Also, regarding weapons, you all forget nanomachines. take a long tubular piece of sponge, and embed it with nanomachines, with inbuilt programs to start reproducing (and hence eating what they hit) when they detect a significant change in velocity. cheap, light, even if your ship gets destroyed (for whatever reason) the 'enemy' is stuck with a bunch of nanomachines that are eating up their ships. effective as a shotgun-style weapon, while it might not damage the ship's integrity instantly, it definatly would be my prefered choice of weapon. And/or engineer bacteria to eat metal (the snail with iron armor) and send them flying off to the ship. Spores are very resistant buggers.

    Edit: shorter range weapons, i.e. lasers, railguns, particle beams etc, would be effective for conquoring solar systems though, which i assume is the point of it all.
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  20. General Discussions Senior Member  #20
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Hunter: I'm not sure what you mean. If I'm traveling at a significant percentage of light speed, and I hit a pebble, said pebble will exert the force Retro calculated. That's a lot of energy to deflect - I'm not aware of anything even theoretically capable of dealing with that, except either not hitting it or deflecting it in advance with a laser or somesuch. We don't have and can't conceive of anything that is going to be able to dissapate and absorb that force.

  21. General Discussions Senior Member  #21
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    I meant, going with your idea of a shield at the front of the ship, using a plasma shield of sorts to deflect/destroy the particles. If we're talking close to light speed travel, then I would think we would have access to some such plasma shielding or similar tech wouldn't you? If we're talking high tempurature plasma, wouldn't that have the needed temperature to simply vaporize any small particles? Of course that would involve massive heat shileding for the ship it self and would probably melt the ship if that shileding was insufficient and the needed shielding would have to be of an obscene level it would probably add too much mass.... ok I'll go away now.
    Last edited by HunterX; 12th May 06 at 12:33 PM.

  22. #22
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    Nukes? Why not just ram capital ships with smaller ships moving at light speed on autopilot? That is an expensive method of warfare though I'd guess...

  23. #23
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    It's like you're not reading.

    1) High speed small craft ramming into capital ships are guided missiles.

    2) Hunter, given the speed at which the pebble is going to pass through the plasma it might not have a chance to vaporize before knocking a hole straight through to the ass of your ship.

  24. #24
    Forum punned-it Retroboy's Avatar
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    ..or sensors that can detect a deadly obstacle like a pebble far enough away to automatically evade it.
    Squid, the slight problem there is in two parts.

    1) In order to detect the pebble with one second's notice, you have to detect it at a distance of eighteen thousand kilometers, which is 1.5 times the diameter of the planet Earth, and

    2) You then have to move a full ship width away from it. Say your ship is a mere 5 meter cross-section. Then you have to accelerate laterally 2.5 meters within one second to just miss the object (no safety margin), which is a quarter-gee "jerk" on the pilot and vessel, and would be a problem for any vessel that had the crew out and about instead of locked into a chair somewhere, as there would be zero warning. Larger ships would of course have a larger cross-section and a bigger requirement to slam the crew out of the way.

    I'd suggest magnetic shielding would be the way to go, rather than trying to dodge.

    ...or, of course, playing the odds. After all, how many meteors do you see over the planet Earth every night?

    -- Retro

  25. General Discussions Senior Member  #25
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Even if you "vaporize" it, the vapor will then hit you. If you're running a ramscoop, this might be a good thing, but if you're not, it's bad.

    My point, Hunter, which you started to ramble to ( ) is that as of right now, we could build a ship capable of getting pretty high up there in speed. It would cost an insane amount of money and take a very long time, but we could do it. What we can't do is prevent said ship from being heavily damaged by an accidental collision with a golf ball. So you're right - by the time we make an interstellar ship, we'll have figured out a shield mechanism, since to justify building an interstellar ship, we'd need one!

  26. #26
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    Read and be Illuminated!

    The above contains many, many pages on realistic space warfare and ship design in general. One important bit I'm going to excerpt:

    "Wargames like GDW's STAR CRUISER describe interplanetary combat as being like hide and go seek with bazookas. Stealthy ships are tiny needles hidden in the huge haystack of deep space. The first ship that detects its opponent wins by vaporizing said opponent with a nuclear warhead. Turning on active sensors is tantamount to suicide. It is like one of the bazooka-packing seekers clicking on a flashlight: all your enemies instantly see and shoot you before you get a good look. You'd best have all your sensors and weapons far from your ship on expendable remote drones.

    Well, that turns out not to be the case.

    The "bazooka" part is accurate, but not the "hiding" part. If the spacecraft are torchships, their thrust power is several terawatts. This means the exhaust is so intense that it could be detected from Alpha Centauri. By a passive sensor. The Space Shuttle main engines could be detected past the orbit of Pluto. The Space Shuttle's manoeuvering thrusters could be seen as far as the asteroid belt. And even a puny ship using ion drive to thrust at a measly 1/1000 of a g could be spotted at one astronomical unit.

    This is with current off-the-shelf technology. Presumably future technology would be better."

  27. #27
    werst spella evar Bonnet's Avatar
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    Fisher & Retro: That isn't the actualy energy most particles would exert. You forgot to factor in that the pebble wouldn't hit the ship at a perpendicular angle, most of the force would be deflected.

    I am don't remember the exact equation, but it would be significantly smaller.

  28. #28
    Regarding active vs. passive radar, a potential tactic would be to seed an area of space with automated probes. When activated via laser signal from a warship in the area, the probes can go active and flood the area with radio waves. This gives the home-field warship a chance to find the enemy, and it gives the enemy the location of an automated probe, knowledge that cannot be acted upon without compromising their own location.

    As far as munitions goes, you're looking at chemically guided missiles for near-certain knowledge attacks and projectiles for those times when the enemy's location is pinpointed.

  29. General Discussions Senior Member  #29
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Fisher & Retro: That isn't the actualy energy most particles would exert. You forgot to factor in that the pebble wouldn't hit the ship at a perpendicular angle, most of the force would be deflected.
    True, but you have to plan for the worst case scenario. Most particles would miss or skip off, but there would be some impacting head on that you would have to deal with. My point is that the needle is the most viable ship for speedy travel, only we still don't have a way to deal with that rare, but inevitable, worst case collision.

  30. #30
    But no matter how it's dealt with, doing so would be far easier if you don't have to do so for an inordinately large cross-section.

    Besides: "Realistic" space warship design. You're postulating a design based on a propulsion system that doesn't exist yet, one that might not even be able to exist. Even if it is possible, it might not work like that. Why aren't we discussing the relative merit of different cooling systems in eliminating waste heat from the hyperions that result from the shift to upspace, instead of screwing around with pebbles?

  31. #31
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    well since we're talking about space warships, do we even need to be discussing travel between star systems? what's wrong with this one?
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  32. #32
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    Well, given the assumption I posited about using 'technology feasible given present-day science', I think we might be limited to interplanetary warfare and travel - not interstellar warfare.

    @~AOD

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    I find it hard to believe that laser weaponry hasn't been mentioned. Laser weapons will have a lot of advantages over missiles/railguns:

    1) Very high speed of propogation (light speed), undectable and therefore uninterceptable.

    2) Possibly use as an anti missile system.

    3) No known way of shielding against them in the near future. A few theoretical methods, but that depends how far future we are talking.

    4) Focussing issues such as those encountered with laser weapons in an atmosphere are irrelevant.

    Some not so good things about them as well:

    1) Limited range (depends on wavelength and beam width).

    2) Low efficiency, therefore high power needed to run one.

    3) Don't look as cool as railguns/missiles.

    The first and second points could be addressed by using a system such as that of the Honor Harrington universe - mounting the laser on a missile and strapping a nuclear weapon to it to provide the power.

    Reality is only a special case of imagination

  34. General Discussions Senior Member  #34
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Beelze: You can get up to significant speeds using the Orion nuclear spaceship design, and I've agreed throughout the whole discussion that a needle probably would be the best way to go. As I said, we can do that now, thought at impossible cost, and the only technical reason for its failure would be the inability to deal with space pebbles.

  35. #35
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    Who knows maybe one day humanity might just stick to space hulks.

  36. #36
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    What is a space hulk?

  37. #37
    Disciple of Khaine darkelf's Avatar
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    From wikipedia:

    The term "Space Hulk", from which the game gets its name, is used within the Warhammer 40,000 universe for any masses of derelict ships, asteroids, and other assorted space junk that eventually merges into one massive form, ranging from the size of a small moon to a large planet, inside the Warp. These Hulks are usually infested with mutants (possible remnants of the past crew); Genestealers (as above, see also the entry on Tyranids); Orks, who like to mount guns on hulks and travel on them to invade new worlds, and sometimes worse.

    Because a Hulk may contain bits of lost information or technology, the Imperium often sends teams of Space Marines to search for and recover these valuable items. Aside from the dangers of possible inhabitants, the Hulk may not stay in realspace for very long, eventually slipping back into the Warp.
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  38. #38
    Interplanetary Super Spy Fixer's Avatar
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    A space hulk is an amalgamation of lost spaceships, wrecks, debris and general crud that gather together in the hellish alternate dimension of the warp, occassionally passing in and out of real space.

    Orks in the Warhammer 40k Universe hitch onto Space Hulks as they phase into reality
    http://us.games-workshop.com/games/b...ing/orks/2.htm

    Last time I checked, none had passed nearby lately.

  39. Gamers Lounge Senior Member Forum Subscriber  #39
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    I know i might be late into the discussion, but IMO, a submarine shaped design could work. Since submarines are designed to handle extreme pressure (rounded surfaces being stronger and all) i think those designs would make excellent candidates.

  40. #40
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    Except it would have to be an inside-out submarine because all the pressure is on the inside.

  41. #41
    If you have a method of propelling a ship to a significant percentage of lightspeed. You can use that technology to either use smaller versions of the engine to hurl a solid mass at a target or a X-Ray Nuke. Standard nukes are kind of useless unless you get really close to a target in space and the kinetic energy of a lightspeed torp far exceeds that of any nuke if you are going for actual impact detonation.

    Think in terms of sublight slow ships with ion engines, firing from extreme range of hundreds of thousands of kilometers to where targets will be with a spray of pebbles or ball bearings. People in cramped confined cannisters that are all engine and fuel and a few weapon systems. A hit could be a small puncture that will be fatal to the ship a few weeks later when it runs out of fuel and air. No big explosions, no beam weapons, no nukes etc..

  42. #42
    Running Dog Scribble's Avatar
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    Except it would have to be an inside-out submarine
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  43. #43
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    Scrib: It makes perfect sense. A submarine is built to keep the water pressure from pushing in and crushing it. The reverse is true with a spacecraft, it is designed to prevent the pressure (atmosphere) from pushing out into space.

    Fisher: Here is where deflections come in handy and yes...plasma shielding. For starters a system to detect objects infront of you would not have to destroy them, put simply deflect them by milimeters to avoid the absolute point of the ship. As for plasma shielding, its usefullness wouldn't lie in deflecting the larger debries that might damage the ship but interstellar hydrogen. This would help prevent space travel wear and tear as well as cut down on the radition caused by a ship hitting an atom at near the speed of light.

  44. #44
    Running Dog Scribble's Avatar
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    Its akin to one of William James 'inverted people' a terrible thing that breaks your imgination into splinters. You are forced to reconcile the whole and the sperated. An inverted creation that is the right way around.

  45. #45
    werst spella evar Bonnet's Avatar
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    That just made me spit coffe on my keyboard scribb..thanks.

    Anyways:
    Afoxi, submarines are designed to hold pressure, not deflect impact, which are two different things. Pressure is a constantly exerted force over an area. Impact wont be constant or over an area. Besides any direct impact, as Retro's calculations show, would pulverise any kind of material we have today, we simply have no idea how to make something that would withstand that. So our best chance is reduce the chance of impact (our silhouette) and the angel at which it impacts it.

  46. #46
    Redwing Hydralopod SquidDNA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonnet
    and the angel at which it impacts it

  47. Child's Play Donor Technical Help Senior Member General Discussions Senior Member Homeworld Senior Member Forum Subscriber  #47
    Finally done. Moe's Avatar
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    Bad idea imo. All you'd need is a coherent neutron beam (which, has a short life span in itself, difficult to accelerate) but if you were to put fission material in pods outside of the ship, "all" it takes is a strong neutron pulse and kaboom goes your whole nuclear arsenal.
    No. No no no. Did I mention no?

    Re: Nanomachines: Yeah let's try not to go crazy.

    A ship going at .1C hitting a tiny pebble (say, 1 gram) at rest will impact it at 18 thousand kilometers a second.
    Wait what? c is 300,000 km/s, .1 c therefore is about 30 thousand kilometers a second.

  48. #48
    werst spella evar Bonnet's Avatar
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    Yeah, just short of that moe.
    .1 * the speed of light = 29 979 245.8 m / s

    (google is beautifull)

  49. #49
    Member Busby's Avatar
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    Well...

    I don't understand why we automatically think space warships would be crewed by Humans.

    It would make more sense to have automates warships in space;
    1.) They could be smaller due to lack of need for Life support, crew quarters, food etc.
    2.) A computer is relatively less mistake prone than a Human.
    3.) A automates ship could operate further from a base then a crewed ship could.
    4.) Computers are not affected by Zero-G as Humans are.
    5.) A computer would be able to process more tactical data then a Human captain and bridge crew would.
    6.) A computer is more accurate with weapons and is able to avoid fire better then a Human.

    There are proberly more reasons, but I can't think of any more right now.

  50. General Discussions Senior Member  #50
    terrible, terrible damage Starfisher's Avatar
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    Bonnet, I don't know what kind of ship you're proposing here, but the only angle that won't impart massive energy from a collision at a significant speed is not having a collision at all. You still need to be able to handle big hits, and I thought the purpose of this thread was about things we could to with today's technology - we don't have any propulsion system that will move a ten kilometer (or whatever) long needle without a lot of bulky, non-deflective stuff at the back.

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