Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ships

SpaceX has unveiled its large spaceship to carry 100 people to Mars. That's quite an engineering feat to pull off with our current technology. They are doing it and outsmarting the smartest smartypants of this most-smarts-than-anyone-has-seen planet, NASA. *Phew*

UES Encounter
I, of course, just dream up of a spaceship and plant it in your mind, like the UES Encounter for instance. It appears in the novel I'm writing, Pursuit in Time. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by talking about the ship.

If you take our current tech, and think about how much advancement we will have in say 70 years, you might geek out and think of really cool stuff. Unfortunately, most things will be quite the same. There will be advancement in materials, and some other technology, but we humans tend to only advance areas we are interested in and leave alone those we are not. So if we apply some conservatism, we might get a more realistic picture.

So, UES Encounter was an international project set to launch around 2113. It was a response to SETI successfully making contact with aliens via radio waves years earlier. Thus communications started with an alien race. A language was learned through these communications and technology was shared. Then an agreement was made to meet.

The meeting place was in a neutral area in outer space. The meeting also seemed to be a test for humans because it was 2 light years from Earth. That's right. It was half way to Alpha Centauri.

Nobody had ever left the Solar System. They had only gone as far as the asteroid belt. That was for mining. It was unprecedented to send a crew into interstellar space. The only data they had on it was from the Voyagers and other unmanned probes.

As news spread on Earth about aliens, groups and factions protested. They said they didn't want aliens on Earth. Others claimed aliens had already been to Earth. There was a lot of social turmoil. The mission went ahead on schedule.

The Encounter itself had a modular design, but it wasn’t like any ship that humans had ever made before. Some of its systems were ideas from alien knowledge. It needed to push speed limits to close to the speed of light. To that end, it needed very large plasma ion engines with a hybrid reactor powering it.

Fusion reactors had finally come online. The hybrid reactor was a combo of fission and fusion by using an extraordinary isotope called cyclematter. Using the cyclematter, the two reactors were able to feed off of each other’s waste. Thus creating an immense amount of energy in a short time. It was perfect for a space ship application.

The ship needed to accelerate at around 30 Gs to reach its speed and distance goals. Of course that type of acceleration would not be good on the crew. So an inertia damper system which dubbed as an artificial gravity system was devised. This system was also the first of its kind since Earth ships had no need of such devices. It relied entirely on magnetism. A strong magnetic field kept everything headed in the right direction, even bio matter. Before you ask, the electronics were shielded from the magnetism. This system also had a subsystem that shielded the crew from radiation.

For long range communication with Earth, the ship relied on a unique system that used quantum entanglement. This allowed instant communication with Earth no matter where the ship was in space.

Other than that, most systems on the Encounter were pretty much based on the ones we have today: water recycling, air filtration, carbon dioxide management, EVA equipment, tough outer skin as a physical shield,

The ship was designed for one trip and one trip only, but it would log the longest distance ever in human history. Of course, that’s assuming all goes well.