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Re: starship-design: What is SD about?

Hi Group,

Tim van der Linden wrote...

[in reply to my gripes]

>>Is anyone in charge of this mailing list?
>No, not in the sense that someone directs were we have to go.
>>Can someone set an agenda?
>If you have suggestions, you are free to try them out.
>>We keep arguing about what we can't know - will the bugs kill us? are
>>ETs doing it out there too? is FTL possible? blah blah blah...
>These subjects are merely those of the last two or three weeks.
>The month before that we've mainly have been discussing engines. The
>trouble with that subject is that it has been spoken about very thoroughly
>and that thus we soon will arrive at reasons of why something isn't
>feasable or something else may be better.
>Subjects that we haven't discussed *as often* (but still several times) are
>human factors, payload and mission objectives.
>All of these do depend on the propulsion system (and travel time), but can
>be discussed for specific designs as well. (Lee's "engine parameters"
>letters of a few weeks ago were meant to use for this purpose.)
>I'm not sure why these subjects are less frequent, maybe it is because they
>appear to be the smallest problem.
>Anyhow bugs and decontamination are very well part of mission objectives.
>And some feel that intelligent aliens are too. (They suggest armament
>against hostile aliens.)
>FTL is merely something that is so high on everybody's wishlist that we
>sometimes just can't resist bringing it up.
Now I feel stupid for griping about what are reasonable issues. I guess
mission designs and so forth are also quite relevant to the greater scheme
of things, especially since we're talking about starship design in general.
I guess I was just frustrated with what seemed to be irrelevant debates
about exo-pathogens and FTL. I was hoping that someone had settled on a
drive system and was actively pursuing a worked out design, but really this
discussion is more open ended.

If we are going to discuss FTL let's ask ourselves just what sort of FTL do
we imagine - instantaneous, very-fast or a few times c. If a flight to Tau
Ceti takes a year or two how does that affect our designs? If ships can go
FTL what about signals? etc. FTL might be possible but it might also be
horribly expensive - i.e. we might have to implode Jupiter to create a
wormhole. Or it could be as easy as a James Blish spindizzy [Dillon-Wagoner
Graviton Polarizer] which can run off car-batteries. Currently I have no
preferred opinions, but I don't think it will be easy.

What's the  best "foreseeable" design for a drive that has been discussed
here? I've vaguely heard about a combination of beam-launched
fusion-propelled system. Will we need to send fuel-mining equipment along so
they can get back?


Of course the government of +2050 might have certain people that it wants to
send on one-way colonisation missions. I imagined Mercury would be the best
place to send dissidents, but Tau Ceti might be better.