[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: starship-design: my $0.02 (finally)

Repeating the posting from Feb 19,
as seemingly it was not distributed by the listserver.  -- Zenon

----- Begin Included Message -----

>From zkulpa@ippt.gov.pl Wed Feb 19 20:09:34 1997
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 97 20:06:27 +0100
From: zkulpa@ippt.gov.pl (Zenon Kulpa)
To: starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu
Subject: Re: starship-design: my $0.02 (finally)

> From: "L. Clayton Parker" <lparker@cacaphony.net>
> Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 16:44:55 -0600
> > 
> > > More would be better, who knows what might come up.
> > > 
> > Not unless you plan some hibernation or "unburdening" environment
> > for most of the crew.
> I was simply allowing for emergency needs, not expecting that they would
> sustain high-g accelerations for any considerable length of time. For
> instance, there have been several proposals for gravity assisted manuevers
> during the initial acceleration (or deceleration) phase in which having the
> availability of additional thrust for a short length of time would
> substantially alter the final velocity.
OK, the above explanation voids my initial reservations.

> > Concerning ROUNDTRIP - I disagree. 
> > I am appending my letter from some time ago addressing this issue
> > in case you heve missed it.
> > WARNING: I do not want to start again my standard quarrel
> > with Kelly here. Just to state my view...
> >
> You and Kelly have a standard quarrel? How nice! <G>
Yes, we do...
And quite heated one at times, 
despite that we both are rather likable persons, 
even to each other... ;-))

> > > 3) Engineering of the all systems (command, control, communications,
> > > environmental and propulsion) should be sufficiently simple to permit
> > > repairs and maintenance by the crew during the mission, or self repair
> > > ability should be built in (preferably both).
> > > 
> > Agreed.
> > However, I think that will be possoble only with considerable
> > advances in AI and nanotechnology.
> Ummm, some of this is even simpler than that. For example, do you honestly
> think we can send a starship out with off the shelf light bulbs with only a
> 750 hour lifespan?
OK, but do you think it possible, with current technology,
to produce light bulbs with 20+ years lifespan?

However, I am afraid I do not fully understand your reply.
I did not postulate to send the starship away with unreliable components. 
My point was that making the ship components reliable enough 
will require advanced technologies, without which building 
and sending away a starship is simply not possible. 
Replacing unreliable light bulbs with
simpler components (kerosene lamps? torches?) 
may not be enough to solve the problem...

> > > 4) The propulsion system must be rugged enough to withstand continuous
> > > operation without major overhaul or replacement for a period equal to at
> > > least two and a half to three times the duration of the voyage. (Note
> > > that this almost automatically excludes most current technologies.)
> > > 
> > Agreed.
> > Note also that the roundtrip requirement would DOUBLE (at least!)
> > the problem here.
> That is why I chose two and a half to three times the duration of the
> VOYAGE, a LARGE safety margin.
OK, you may choose any safety margin, however large,
on paper (or on screen, for that matter),
but will it be technologically attainable? I doubt it...

> > > 5) Manned exploratory missions must be roundtrip, colonization missions
> > > can be considered one way for purposes of design. But the mass of a 
> > > colony ship will be corespondingly greater requiring an even more robust
> > > design.
> > >
> > See below: One-way has lesser requirements than 
> > both roundtrip and colonization,
> > and differs from colonization mission in ONLY ONE aspect:
> > reproduction is switched off (so to speak).
> I KNOW this point has been discussed before, but I simply think it is
> impractical (not to mention immoral and unethical) to send our brightest
> people out on what amounts to a suicide mission...
Geez, the standard quarrel again... ;-)

First, if the people involved FREELY AGREE to go on these conditions,
I do not see anything immoral or unethical in satisfying their wishes.
Is sending volunteers into veery dangerous missions (e.g., to war)
immoral or unethical?

Second, the one-way mission is by light years different
from a suicide mission. 
See the "Mission types in a nutshell" section at the end -
I think it can be considered as a part of our "design space".
I am against suicide missions too.

BTW, I strongly recommend an interesting account of a one-way mission
(including the discussion of one-way vs. suicide) given by the book
"Rocheworld" by. R.L. Forward. It also contains elaborate
description of a laser/lightsail-powered starship concept.

> now for robot probes this
> is more than adequate. I would expect that ANY system we send a manned
> exploration team to would already have been visited by at least one robot
> probe to determine if it was even worth a second look.
However, if the system is worth a second look,
it still may be worth (and technologically attainable)
to establish there a manned long-duration outpost
(using a one-way mission), but still not
worth (or technologically possible) to send there
a (necessarily HUGE) colonization expedition.

> 1) One way implies NO RETURN. Establishment of a long term base with
> EVENTUAL return, resupply or additional personnel is not the same thing.
I do not think sending people to the fate hanging on "eventuals" is honest.
I think it is honest to say openly - the mission is one-way,
it is planned as such from the beginning, and
if there will be some "eventuals" is not guaranteed in any way.

> 2) Send robotic Pathfinders FIRST. No "one way" manned missions to 
> systems that do not have a hope of eventual settlement or offer some other
> overpowering reason to establish a permanent manned presence.
Though, we may quarrel long and hard about the meaning of the term
"overpowering reason".

> 3) It makes more sense to establish our base(s) in the new system in space
> first, then on the planetary bodies. We spent four and half million years
> trying to get off of this planet, what's your hurry? In other words, the
> industry that you assume to be in place in our outer solar system would in
> reality be the first settlers of the new system. Given human behavior, I
> suspect that it makes more sense that way anyway.
But remember the artificial gravity problem
(rotating habitats or something).

> 4) Under these conditions, procreation within the limits of the life
> support system is not only possible, it might even be desirable. You need
> to look at this from a "human" perspective as well as scientific and
> engineering.
Sorry, I do not understand your point here.
What do you mean by "procreation within the limits of the life
support system"? If procreation, it MUST mean the life support
system is going to last indefinitely, so what limits?

> So to review, a "one way" mission to set up an initial outpost either 
> in orbit or upon one or more satellites (not planets) with the eventual
> promise of additional personnel and resupply as well as a chance of
> rotation back to Sol, with the purpose of eventually settling the new
> system and its planet(s) is reasonable.
"Eventual", "chance"... This smells of cheating...
If the return is sure enough, it is not a one-way mission.
If you allow that some people of the crew may not want to return
and thus provide for them an environment lasting their lifetime
(plus safety margin), why not to allow that choice for all the crew?

BTW, what is a difference between satellites and planets
that makes you view the latter as not adequate for an outpost base?
The physical difference [which body orbits the star and
which another planetary body] seems not relevant to this decision. 

> A mission that is "one way" in the sense that there will be no hope of
> return, resupply, relief, etc., is impractical and indefensible.
I disagree.
It would be interesting to ask people - 
how many would like to go for a one-way mission?
I, for one, would have no reservations...

-- Zenon

Mission types in a nutshell
by Zenon Kulpa

1) Suicide mission:
   - death soon after (with great chances - during) 
     achieving the mission target.
   - possibly exciting job for a short time needed to
     achieve the basic mission objectives. 
   Does not quarantee (or excludes):
   - survival (and interesting job) for any time after 
     the short time needed to achieve the basic mission objectives;
   - delivery to any specific point in space 
     (with possible exception of the mission target);
   - possibility of reproduction during mission.

2) One-way mission:
   - delivery to the mission target;
   - survival for the standard life span (plus safety margin);
   - exciting job for the standard life span 
     (possibly except for the duration of the trip to the target).
   Does not quarantee (or excludes):
   - delivery to any other point in space except the mission target;
   - possibility of reproduction during mission.

3) Round-trip mission:
   - delivery to the mission target;
   - delivery to the starting point of the mission (say, Earth)
     [note: with less certainty than the delivery to the target];
   - survival for the standard life span (plus safety margin)
     [note: with at least twice (than one-way mission)
      the chance of death during the trip];
   - exciting job for the standard life span 
     (possibly except for TWO times the duration of the trip to the target).
   Does not quarantee (or excludes):
   - possibility of reproduction during mission.

4) Colonization mission:
   - delivery to the mission target;
   - survival for the standard life span (plus safety margin)
     for the colonist and his/her children;
   - exciting but hard job for the standard life span;
     (possibly except for the duration of the trip to the target).
   - possibility of reproduction during mission.
   Does not quarantee (or excludes):
   - delivery to any other point in space except the mission target.

NOTE: Of course, the term "quarantees" should not be understood
as absolute quarantee, but only within reasonable possibilities
of technology at the time of the mission.

I would be grateful for including the above 
somewhere in starship design WWW pages.

-- Zenon

----- End Included Message -----