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RE: starship-design: What is safest?

Hi Lee,

>> I'd guess that if military cars had to be made more reliable,
>> they should not use air-pressured tires. Chances of a car getting
>> stranded by a punctured tire on rough terrain seem to be rather high.
>They ARE designed that way...they have special foam filled tires on all 
>military combat vehicles that use pneumatic tires. Of course for ordinary 
>vehicles on base, they don't waste the expense.

Wow, you say something today and it's implemented tomorrow. ;)

>> While some applications may ask for highgrad computing power, many don't
>> need to. In much electric equipment limits are pushed, something that we
>> certainly can't trust to do in our starship.
>> So we should make circuits/chips that have the computing power of x years
>> back but use the much more precise and reliable technology of today.
>> Similar to what Zenon wrote, we shouldn't expect the same luxuries as in
>> our homes.
>Well, the technological level of many of the systems in the ship will be 
>many years behind the "bleeding edge". This is almost a fact of life with 
>NASA. Your average hand held organizer is smarter than most of the 
>computers on the space shuttle...

True, however the crew could build some things themselves using theories and
data that are transmitted to the ship from Earth. These would be water drops
on a hot plate though.

>> If a fusion engine is so simple, then a fusion power plants should not be
>> to hard to build and maintain either. What I've seen from fusion power
>> designs is that they look pretty complex, more complex than chemical
>> rocket engines.
>Timothy, that wasn't even logical. A napalm bomb is a fairly simple device 
>compared to a gasoline engine and they both use the same fuel, think about 

Hmm, I didn't think of comparing a bomb to a starship exhaust. While I've
heard of designs that actually propose exploding an H-bomb behind the ship,
I didn't think we'd do it that litterally. It surely would ask a lot more of
structural enhancing.
For a more graduate flight, you'd need a little bit more control than a
bomb. My guess is that the kind of control and savety is comparable to that
of a fusion powerplant. (Afterall we are talking about power outputs several
order bigger than we are used to from ordinary power plants.)

>> I don't know what kind of circuit failure you mean.
>Umm, how about a short in the sensor that controls the level of residual 
>CO2 in the atmosphere of the ship? Or maybe the circuit that activates the 
>refueling valve for the oxygen supply, thereby venting the oxygen to space? 
>There has to be at least a million ways...

Sure, there must also be a million ways for a nuclear power plant to meltdown.

My guess is that we'd have some independant backup systems for critical systems.