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starship-design: Re: ICAN

Hi Lee,

You wrote:

>There is currently research underway in the field of intermetallics that may
>yield promising new alloys. They are designing primarily alloys of aluminum
>and nickel for use in turbines, but there have been some recent experiments
>with tungsten as well. It is conceivable that we can achieve an
>intermetallic alloy of tungsten that would provide a MUCH tougher reaction
>shell than lead. Coupled with better magnetic shielding, there may be hope.

There better be hope...

>> Well if we'd stick to the original ICAN then we'd have debugged it
>> completely by that time. But since we can't use the original ICAN and have
>> to increase performance it means a lot of changes, which likely means more
>> additions.
>> I guess that performance will go up relatively fast, but that the lifetime
>> and failure rate do increase much less. (They won't go down, since that
>> isn't acceptable.)
>The closest analogy I can come up with is unfortunately an automobile. (I
>know, we have already used this one once and got off on a wild goose
>chase...) There is barely a hundred years difference between the original
>automobiles and today's vehicles, and despite massive increases in
>performance and reliability, the basic principles underlying the technology
>are not much different. Vastly refined, but little different. Now, bearing
>this in mind, which vehicle would you prefer to drive across Denmark,
>Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria in - a replica of a Daimler Benz
>built a fifty years ago, or a 1997 Saab 900 Turbo?

I'm not sure if you analogy is close enough. I already said that if that
Daimler Benz was debugged, it would have a longer life than the original
Daimler Benz.
My question is whether a debugged Daimler Benz wouldn't drive further than
a Saab that has new combinations of parts that haven't been debugged as
You might question whether a new Saab isn't a debugged version of a Daimler
Benz, it indeed is vasly refined but little different. However a turbo,
computerized motor control etc. are changes rather than removed bugs.

(And in the case that an old replica would break down the parts would likely
be easier to replace with use of crude technology.)