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starship-design: SD subjects
At 20:30 12-08-98 -0500, L. Parker wrote:
>Timothy et al,
>First of all, Kyle, didn't compute the numbers, so don't blame him. They
>come form NASA's "Warp Drive When" page which is a converted slide from a
>presentation done several years ago.
>For the lay public this presentation (and hence, this site) provides an
>excellent review of just how difficult a problem we face. However, as
>Timothy points out, these figures are (were) based on certain assumptions
>which are not necessarily valid. It is theoretically possible to reach ISP's
>as high as the ones given for antimatter without resorting to a pure
>antimatter reaction, which we don't know how to do anyway.
>Second, the ISP's given for antimatter are estimates based on theory - there
>is no actual proof that these figures are correct. They may be higher or
>Third, no allowance is made in these figures for any sort of enhancement
>which might increase the ISP.
>Of course, the purpose of the site is to point out that we need something
>better - a "Warp Drive".
Lee Parker wrote:
>Meanwhile, all we can do is continue to plan for
>what we know how to do. I might point out that ninety percent of the design
>will remain the same no matter what the drive is. The change is in gross
>mass and mission duration, so why don't we focus on the rest of it?
Excellent, this used to be at least half of the lists messages several
years ago. Maybe the newer members like to write down some of their ideas
about it, and surprise the "old gang".
The following is a compilation of the subjects suggested by David Levine
the originator of this list. I've used his descriptions as closely possible
while trying to create a compact overview.
(The original descriptions can be found in the Starship Design mail-archives.)
Engineering Design Group
- Propulsion: The main method of interstellar travel. What is
technically possible? How much energy do we have? Or how much are
we willing to use? How long do we want the trip to last?
- Structures: The design of the basic structure of the starship. We
will have to consider several different configurations for several
different possible propulsion types.
- Shielding: The method of shielding the vessel from debris and radiation.
Mission Operations Group
- Target Selection: How far is the target to be?
Do we think the
journey should be accomplished in a human lifetime? In a crewmember's
lifetime, or the lifetime of someone on Earth? Should we choose a
star similar to the sun? Or one in which we are fairly certain there
is a planetary system?
- Mission Objectives: We also need to consider if we will be stopping
at this system or just flying through. Will we be returning to Earth?
Continuing on to another star? Or staying at the target?
Support Systems Group
- Crew Selection: How do we decide who is to be sent
on this mission?
Is the trip to be one way or two? How long will it take? Do we have
to consider future generations on the trip, or just this one?
- Ship-Astronaut Interaction: The design of the interactive aspects
of the vehicle: How will it be controlled? How will those controls
be designed? This is partly ergonomics, but there are other Human
Factors issues, as well. We must consider many things: will the
astronauts experience free-fall or gravity? If gravity, how much?
If this ship is multigenerational, how will the descendents be
different from the original crew of the vehicle? Will they be
taller? Will they be less physically strong? How will this affect
their ability to use the same control system their ancestors did?
Very few control systems have been used for as long as these will
need to be. Will they be efficient? Will they last?
- Habitation Systems:
The design of the living areas of the
astronauts. Again, these are places that will have to be lived in
for at least a few years, and possibly centuries. We have to concern
ourselves with the mental well-being of the crew, as well as the
possibility that in a multigenerational voyage, the descendents
of the crew may be different from their ancestors.
- Computer Systems
- Secure Systems
- Science Studies: What type of science we will be doing while we are
en route, and when we get to our destination. And we have to look at
_how_ this science will be accomplished. What kind of instruments?
Will we carry any Voyager- or Viking-like probes? How will they be
Speculative Studies Group
- Encountering extraterrestrials (intelligent,
dumb, macro or micro organisms)
Other unknowns, not part of the other groups.