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Re: starship-design: Planetary Landing

On Fri, 5 Jun 1998, Steve VanDevender wrote:

> Jonathan J Jay writes:
>  > You wrote:
>  > 
>  > >Why would you want to land on a planet anyway?
>  > 
>  > You may be spending long amounts of time on one planet at a time; it
>  > would be easier just to bring the entire ship down to the planet rather
>  > than making plenty of ship to planet transports, and possibly cheaper,
>  > depending on the amount of planets you studied.
> No, that's not necessarily the case at all.
> Building an interstellar ship that can take the structural
> stresses of atmospheric entry and landing, and hold enough fuel
> to perform landing and return to orbit, and do this reliably more
> than once, is an amazingly difficult task.

Once we have decided WHERE we're gona put the colony, taking of again
isn't really neccesary!

> At the scale we're talking about, I really do think the only
> viable option is to have landing craft carried on the ship.  If
> we can build an interstellar spacecraft, I'm sure we can build
> self-powered orbit-capable landing craft.  I really don't think
> we can build an entire large starship that can land itself.  Stop
> watching _Star Trek: Voyager_; it's rotting your brain.

Personally I think ST:voyager is one of the best Science FICTION series
there is....

Anyway, I agree that making the ENTIRE ship landable is probably a bit
unneccesary, However the non-fuel/engine areas of our colony ship is
probably gonna contain so much hardware (maintenance eq, Life support
systems, workshops, etc, etc) that you probably will wanna make those
parts such that it is at least posible to do a "controlled crash" of those
parts of the ship...

Personnally, I'd design any 'one-way' (such as the colony ship) ship such
that once we're in the target star system, you jettison the parts of the
ship wich holds the engines/fuel for interstellar travel!