What shape would actual spaceships of the future have?

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by T & P, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. T & P

    T & P |-o-| (-o-) |-o-|

    Large, long distance exploring vessels carrying hundreds and able to travel for months or years a la Star Trek, I mean. There is no need for aerodynamic, Star Destroyer-style pointy shapes in space, at least not for larger ships that would not be meant to land on planets, so what would be the most logical shape? Spherical? Cubic? Or long and thin to minimise damage from asteroids/ cosmic debris?

    Very important question, this...
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    A380 likes this.
  2. kropotkin

    kropotkin libcom

    Probably spherical to maximise the distance between the outer shell and the central living quarters. This would protect the humans maximally from cosmic rays
    T & P likes this.
  3. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    iirc near light speed ships would need (or benefit from) a streamlined shape?
  4. Reno

    Reno The In Kraut

  5. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I read that they'd have to be long and pointy - like that asteroid/alien ship that recently whizzed past Earth - to reduce the risk from being struck by objects.
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  6. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Make it so. Please!
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  7. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    But would it, I mean who is to know from which direction objects would be coming?
  8. Bavid Dowie

    Bavid Dowie Banned Banned

    Since gravity and aerodynamics would not be so important the ruder the better
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  9. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    You'd be travelling a lot faster than anything else around so from your frame of reference you'd effectively be hitting a static object head on. If you're travelling at say 0.1c it's very unlikely anything is gonna hit you from behind.
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  10. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I was thinking more of a fast object coming from the side.
  11. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    Less and less likely the faster you go. Imagine trying to throw a rock at a car as it travelled past you at 60mph. Now imagine the car was going mach three.

    At mach three however, the driver is going to struggle to avoid slower-moving obstacles ahead. With increased speed the probability of a head-on collision approaches one, even in unusually light traffic.
    existentialist likes this.
  12. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Aha, yes point taken.
  13. existentialist

    existentialist The sausages need an explanation

    If you are travelling at near light speed, then the probability of things hitting you is nearly 100% that the impacts will be frontal.
    editor likes this.
  14. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    And as you accelerate, the probability of getting rear-ended by anything approaches zero. At c, nothing in the universe can catch you. Sadly you'd be unable to appreciate this newfound invulnerability because your subjective experience of time will have stopped and your mass will be infinite, breaking the mathematics of the universe and possibly unmaking all of creation.
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  15. S☼I

    S☼I parading on your rain

    Aren't the chances of a collision in space around the same as dropping a Malteser off the Burj Khalifa and have it land in the hood of a cycling rapper?
  16. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    What of the orbitals of Iain M Banks fame?
  17. prunus

    prunus Mostly gone

    I did that once. Fluke, I reckon.
  18. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    AC42684E-5582-49B5-B47C-9C6EEFAD5A4A.jpeg Like the film Flesh Gordon

    Attached Files:

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  19. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist slowtime

    get some water ice from the solar system, there must be big chunks in the belts, use as a massive shield. Accelerate it in front of you as you go, jobs a good un.
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  20. Sea Star

    Sea Star have you ever explored your dark side?

    if we just capture an asteroid, hollow it out,then send it flying out at near light speed out into deep space then it'll be asteroid shaped.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  21. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    They don't go anywhere, besides orbiting a star. Their Minds can detect and eliminate approaching space debris. In one of the books an orbital's mind lets a comet pass straight through its ring, just to show off.
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  22. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    Once you get into the territory of relativistic speeds the chance of a collision increases, as does the energy involved in such a collision. A 10kg lump of rock which you hit at 10% of lightspeed hits with around 4500 terajoules, which is more that you'd get from a million tonnes of dynamite.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
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  23. Riklet

    Riklet procrastinación

    Maybe like giant optical fibre cables, laying/creating future travel pathways as they travel towards their destinations.
  24. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Lasting Damage

    How do plan to you propel this spacecraft?

    One idea is to use a solar sail, then aim a laser beam at the sail to propel it to 20% light speed.

    Shielding. Shields need to be frontal, going at 10 % light speed (current space probes are very slow, NASA's Juno probe can only manage 0.00024% speed of light)

    100 μm = 0.0001 meters

    Science fiction books have various ways to solve this problem,

    • Gaint iceberg at the front to act as a shield.
    • Have lasers zap any particles.
    I think the laser idea is more practical from a mass point of view.

    Gravity, lack of gravity causes lots of problems

    After five months in orbit above the Earth, an astronaut would typically lose as much as 40% of muscle and 12% of bone mass, says Jeremy Curtis from the UK Space Agency.

    "The muscle loss is the equivalent of a 20-year-old turning into a 60-year-old over a period of three months," he says.​

    So the space craft needs to spin in some way to generate gravity.
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  25. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Whatever it is, I'm against it

    They have resistance training machines on the ISS to prevent this problem.

    One way to generate (or rather mimic the effects of) gravity without spin is acceleration. Your basic interstellar trip is simply accelarate until the halfway point, then flip your ship round through 180 and accelerate back the way you came. If you can accelerate constantly at something approaching 1G then that's your gravity problem solved.
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  26. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Lasting Damage

    Unless you can find a way of going faster than the speed of light, 1g acceleration will have to stop after about a year. (assuming there was a propullsion method which could provide such acceleration, all the foreseeable methods focus on getting a space craft to 20% light speed, antimater, fusion, solar sail etc)


    How fast will 1g get you there?
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  27. twentythreedom

    twentythreedom Patterdale Terrorist R.I.P.

    Disc shaped, obviously
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  28. S☼I

    S☼I parading on your rain

    Yeah, if we want to freak out the people on an Earthlike world near Proxima Centuri, we need it to look sufficiently alieny
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  29. existentialist

    existentialist The sausages need an explanation

    Worth a try, all the same :D
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  30. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I suspect they are going to be Musk shaped, as he seems the only person seriously talking of long distance human space flight at the moment.
    InfoBurner likes this.

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