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Re: Summary draft comments

At 10:24 AM 2/1/96, Kevin C Houston wrote:
>On Thu, 1 Feb 1996, Kelly Starks x7066 MS 10-39 wrote:
>> Ah, its been about a week since I sent out my draft summarry document
>> (attached), and (other then Daves compliment) I haven't heard any responce
>> to it.  No one has any complaints, things they want added, changed etc?
>> Kelly
>Actually, I found most of what you said to be fair and balanced.  Some of
>it may be _wrong_, but i can't prove it (yet)

Thanks, and yes much of it could be wrong, but I figured we have to start

>For one-way trips, I agree that they are undesirable.  I agree that very
>little supoort would be generated.  I disagree that there won't ever be a
>situation in which we'd have to send one.  I agree that we should try
>evey thing else first, and then as a last resort see if we can make a
>one-way trip.

Ever is a long time.  I mean if the sun was going into a violent phase we
might be desperate enough for everything.   But none of those things seems
likely in 2050.  In general a interstellar mission is a like-to-do, rather
than a need-to-do.

>> > >Round trip (Crew returns to Earth with ship at mission end.)
>> >
>> >---------------------------------
>> >Pick up and return by follow on flight
>I think we need to look into this idea some more, I don't think we have
>given it enough consideration to discard it too quickly.

It would have real advantages, if the follow up ship could take advantage
of completed infastructure to travel at higher speeds.  But it would mean
the follow up ship would have to launch without knowing is their was an
infastructure there to catch it.

>> >
>> >>Pros
>> >Most of the advantages of the round trip model, and would allow the first
>> >ship to be a mobile research station or other specialized ship, with faster
>> >courier ships providing round trip flights.
>> >
>> >>cons
>> >High risk and more complicated.  Multiple ship types, and concerns that the
>> >first ship might be left stranded.
>I don't think the multiple ship types is all that worrisome, I think that
>the engines would be the same, so the only difference would be the hab
>rings, etc.  specialized equipment.

Ship types is a engineer and complexity issue (you'ld be amazed how much
trouble little modifications), but the stranded ship problem would be
critical.  Possibly the first ship could have (slower) self return

>> >---------------------------------
>> >Crew constructs equipment for return flight
>> >This option come up with light/microwave sail craft, beamed power craft,
>> >and fuel launcher craft.  The crew would  construct automated duplicates of
>> >the systems that launched the ship from Sol space.
>> >
>> >>Pros
>> >Would establish launcher facilities in both star systems.  Which could
>> >allowing faster two way flights with specialized fast light ships.
>> >
>> >The crew might get back faster with their ship using the constructed
>> >launcher systems for assistance.
>> >
>> >cons
>> >If they can't build the equipment, they don't get home.
>perhaps they should be required to build the sol-based launching system
>as a dry-run.


>> >
>> >The construction phase may require so many resources that the first flight
>> >is devoted just to infrastructure construction.  With little or no
>> >exploration being done in the first mission.  This obviously would cool
>> >public interest and slow down the return of productive information.
>I really see the developement of a two-tiered crew.  one set flys the
>ship, and builds the return infrastructure. the other set does the
>exploration and analysis of the data.  The flight crew may not have any
>real work in the target system, so they may be the logical choice to
>build the return infrastructure.

Definatly some kind of multi crew designation.  Maybe I should ty to rough
out a crew structure?

>> >---------------------------------
>> >Multi-step.  (Ship proceeds to other target star after completion of first
>> >mission, in first starsystem.)
>> >
>> >>Pros
>> >One mission explores multiple star systems.
>> >
>> >>cons
>> >Technical feasibility is low since wear and tear on the ship would
>> >accumulate, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a catastrophic
>> >failure.
>> >
>> >Because of the extremely long flight times with likely technology, the
>> >mission would take so long as to be undesirable.  At some point the ship
>> >would be superseded by newer faster ships sent straight out from earth,
>> >decades after its launch.
>> >               technical                 political          Desirability
>> >             Risk    Feasibility     risk     Feasibility
>> >-------------------------------------------------------------
>> >One-way      med-low  Medium         Ex-high    Nil          Low
>> >Round trip   medium   medium         low        High         high
>> >Pick-up      Med-high medium         medium     medium       medium
>> >Construct ret high    med-high       medium     medium       medium
>> >Multi-step   Ex-High. med-low        low        Medium       medium
>> >Multi-gen    Ex-high  Low            high       medium       low
>> >Hibernation  high     Low            medium     medium       low
>> >
>I think the risk factor on construction return is too high, it should be
>medium to medium-low, the technology should be well-tested before the ship
>leaves earth.  The political feasibility should be higher also, because
>we won't have to pay for the return flight, the explorers (or their
>robotic helpers) will build the solar arrays to power the return flight.
>I would say the desirability of the construction return option is medium
>high to high.  Other wise I agree with your other analysises

Well we'ld have to pay for the return flight one way or the other.  I also
worryied about a crew without backup, and years out of practice, tring to
build a massive infastructure in an area they may not know anything about.
I mean what if they can't find some critical resource, or find the area has
an unexpected problem.

>> >---------------------------------
>> >Infrastructure construction
>> >
>> >>Pro
>> >This could establish facilities necessary for routine, lower cost, flights
>> >between home and this starsystem.
>> >
>> >>Con
>> >Construction could take so many resources that little or no exploration
>> >will be done.
>Again, I think there will be plenty of resources, given self-replicating
>robots.  They don't have to be human-equivilent thinkers.  they only have
>to have the _intelligence_ (as opposed to the capabilities) of a bee or a
>microbe.  Think of the incrediblly complex hive that bees can make with
>limited thinking abilities.

I think self replicating robots is a high risk tech.  So far we've never
gotten close to developing it.  So depending on it for some critical
process worries me.  On the other hand I've been thinking of expanding the
ultra tech sectioon and discus alternat missions given a couple of exotic

>> >
>> >Less interesting to public than an exploration or colony program.
>if it was done co-currently with the exploration, then I don't think the
>public would mind.

Oh, yes.  I was refering to a mission that only did infastructure.  A mixed
mission would be possible, but could get very big and expensive.

>> >propulsion systems
>> >---------------------------------
>> >---------------------------------
>> >Staged fusion ship
>there is an equation that gives the maximum limits of a staged vehivle,
>but I don't know what it is.  there is a point where adding another stage
>actually takes more power away from the engines than you get from the
>engines, this is known as the point of diminishing returns.

Yeah unless the later stages have incrediable spec. imp., its a no go.

>> >Beamed power
>> >
>> >Beamed power (or fuel launchers) have the advantage of eliminating the need
>> >for the ship to carry the heavy fuel (and power systems).  That improves
>> >the ships power to weight ratio significantly.  But the systems are
>> >difficult to do, limit range, and don't seem to help us to slow down.
>> >
>> >Beamed power systems are most effective as microwave sail craft.  But
>> >powered electromagnetic drives are possible also.
>    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>And probably required for the mid-point to Target portion of the trip if
>you intend to travel near light-speed.

We certainly need something.

>Kevin (who wants the maser energy to heat up this frozen wasteland, so
>that I don't have to live in -26 F (-32 C) anymore)

YEOW! I'm glad I didn't take that job in Mini-St.P.  Then again, I really
hate Ft. Wayne.

>P.S. to Timothy, tell the BBC that We'd love to talk with them.  I for
>one would have no problem doing an interview.   :)


I'll incorporate your comments in the next draft.



Kelly Starks                       Internet: kgstar@most.fw.hac.com
Sr. Systems Engineer
Magnavox Electronic Systems Company
(Magnavox URL: http://www.fw.hac.com/external.html)