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Old 03-28-2008, 10:16 PM
Berengarius7 Berengarius7 is offline
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Default We're getting closer to building a starship....

A few months ago, i saw a web article from a university in California that has actually built a working impulse engine that can drive a ship at 100,000 yards a second. Today i was looking at the latest issue of Popular Mechanics and it contained an article that showed that the U.S. Air Force now has laser cannons they can mount on planes that can melt a hole through a tank from 10,000 feet in the air. All we need now is practical artificial gravity, warp drive and deflector screens, and we're in business. It's closer than we think people. All we have to do, is do it. We could have been standing on Mars ten years ago if we weren't dumb enough to quit trying. The human race really needs to get our collective heads out of our collective butts. Our sun isn't going to keep burning forever.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:06 AM
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Also new interstellar Probes are using something called an Ion Engine, it is one of the most powerful space craft engines so far, the name is from TOS, Scotty said that an Ion Engine was more powerful than anything they have, I don'r remember the episode atm.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:20 AM
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Berengarius7, I could not agree more with you on the whole Mars thing. We should have had a standing space staion too and a moon base as well. It's not like we don't have the technology. But politics all ways get in the way of the things that are really important.

As for the Ion engine, we have had them since the 60's, they are nothing more than plasma burning engines. And while they are powerful they will never reach the kind of speeds that Trek has. I really think that was a writers mistake when Scotty said that, because let's face it. He was just a actor reading lines.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lt. Fordman View Post
Berengarius7, I could not agree more with you on the whole Mars thing. We should have had a standing space staion too and a moon base as well. It's not like we don't have the technology. But politics all ways get in the way of the things that are really important.

As for the Ion engine, we have had them since the 60's, they are nothing more than plasma burning engines. And while they are powerful they will never reach the kind of speeds that Trek has. I really think that was a writers mistake when Scotty said that, because let's face it. He was just a actor reading lines.
I'm Talking about a new Ion Engine that was created only a few years ago, it's currently being used for new interstellar probes...
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:31 AM
Berengarius7 Berengarius7 is offline
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You know, we could build a Mars capable ship right now. We just need a reasonable and practical design, probably a component driven design that we could shoot into space in five or six seperate large pieces and assemble in orbit. Each piece would be about as large as a space shuttle. You need practical engines that could get us there and back in say three months. You wouldn't want our astronauts to be in space much longer than that without the benefit of some sort of artificial gravity, and a longer trip than that really isn't practical right now anyway. You need some sort of sheilding to keep the crew safe from small asteroids, and i've seen pictures of sattelites that were struck by them that held up well enough to continue operating normally. You need the ship to be large enough not only to support a crew of say six to ten people, but also to house all of the necessary supplies and equipment to get them there and back without starving. Then you have to have a way to get a couple of people down to the planets surface and back to the ship after samples have been taken. The ship should, of course feature redundancy in all of it's key systems in the event that any one key system should fail. I believe it could be done with the technology we have now. It just takes time, money, and effort.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:47 PM
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Actually, it could take less than that... who says you couldn't just take a lander or two up to the ISS, along with an ion drive module, and take the ISS itself to Mars? Probably won't happen, but, it's a possibility.

Legion, there are no interstellar probes either flying, or under construction. There have been a couple of ion drives used for cometary and asteroid missions, but those were strictly within the solar system. And yes, the new drives are far more efficient than those used in decades past...(until recently, ion thrusters have only been used for attitude control on long duration satilites) and they continue to improve with research. Before long, they may indeed be the closest thing to an "impulse drive" that we can get.

I think it was "Event Horizion" that made me laugh... they said the crew had to undergo suspended animation to cope with the accelleration of the ion drive... to which I muttered, "No, you need to go under suspened animation to get around the boredom of ion drive."

It's slow, but steady... the microscopic thrust eventually building up to velocities that chemical rockets cannot match. Theoretically, you could get up to about .75c with an ion drive... but it would take decades of constant accelleration.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:06 PM
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I think Star Trek fans have a tendency to totally overestimate our technological capabilities. The problems for missions to Mars are not the space ship or the lander (all done on the moon allready) but the overwhelming huge and amazing big distance to Mars. That makes the need for a huge ship, capable of carrying everything that is needed on the flight. But weight slows the journey down and makes the needed ship even bigger.

At one point we then get problems with the integrity of the damn thing.

If you think its easy... I didnt even start on the problems, I just pointed my finger on one of them.
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Old 04-02-2008, 09:59 PM
Berengarius7 Berengarius7 is offline
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BB, That's precisely why we're trying to build better engines to shorten the travel time it takes to get there. More powerful and efficient engines, faster trip. Faster trip, less supplies needed. Less supplies needed, smaller ship. We are going to do it, and soon. I predict in less than thirty years, not more than forty. We're further along than you think.Since the last moon-shot in 1972, we've just been sitting on our laurels figuring things out. But now, it's time to go, and i say, GO!
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:53 PM
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The technology for interplanetary travel is not going to come from a society that pours billions of dollars into meaningless overseas millitary campaigns while it cannot even afford to feed, employ, and protect everyone within its own borders. This is not to start a political arguement, but while I have the same hopes and aspirations as everyone in this thread, remember that Roddenberry's universe was extremely idealized regarding the above issues. That is what we all have to conquer before successfully setting our sights beyond our ionosphere.
Sorry to put a damper on things.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:08 PM
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You also have to consider the issue of properly shielding the crew from cosmic radiation. One of the problems with manned space flight of long durations is that we aren't able to (last I heard) to be able to provide sufficient shielding for the crew to allow them to live healthy normal lives after extended periods of exposure to the sun's radiation. That is the real problem. Propulsion really is probably the least of our concerns for manned interplanetary flight. Otherwise you'll have a crew that will probably be sterile by the time they get to Mars, and probably will develop illnesses later in life due to chromosome damage. It also seems a rather moot point considering the shuttle program is coming to an end really soon, with no replacement in sight for a while.

Of course, once the practical concerns for the crew are taken care of and the technology is further improved, all that's really needed is funding and political backing. It's not like the Apollo program took place under utopian conditions. Vietnam, civil right, immigration, etc were all hot issues during the course of that program.
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Last edited by Akula2ssn : 04-27-2008 at 08:39 PM.
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