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The world: sky-nomads cruising the skies in solar-powered airships

The question: could they make some sort of static depot in the sky to stockpile food etc.? how would it work?

They live in the clouds, gliding from place to place. Obviously resources are hard to come by.

If they could leave a bubble of food and other goodies floating in some spot and come to get it later, that would help sustain them. One advantage is that in cold, thin air at altitude, the food wouldn't rot quickly. But how could they keep the bubble in place?

I suppose it could be done 'actively' if the bubble has solar panels, electric motors and GPS. But is there something more elegant? Or should I just let it drift about a bit and they find it by a beacon?

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    $\begingroup$ What does the land look like underneath? IS there land, or is it sea? What are the reasons they can't have an island/mountain/ship as their fixed base for supplies/maintenance? I think a surface-based maintenance and manufacturing facility will be even more critical than supplies, as I can't envision these functions being carried out in the sky (short of real high-tech, which magically solves all difficulties). $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 14:54

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If the ground beneath them allows throwing an anchor or using some sort of natural anchor point (i.e. a natural peak or a man made one), they can use it as fixed point.

Nothing much different than how atolls in the past were used by sailing ships as fixed point for stocking water and meat (thanks to the abandoned animals), or Zeppelin used masts for anchoring.

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An "air anchor" might help.

Similarly to how a "sea anchor" works, you would be able to minimize the amount of unpredictable drifting that the cache does. Here is a sea anchor:

Sea Anchor

Note that the sea anchor doesn't stop the boat or ship its attached to from drifting with the current, but rather stops it from drifting as propelled by the wind.

Similarly, I imagine a concept like this could be used for constructing your airship cache: A large sail or drogue "anchors" the bubble to a very consistent and predictable wind-stream, and with a clock and a map, it becomes trivial to guess how far it's drifted since being deployed.

For added complexity, you could average out wind directions by adding a long line to the bottom of the cache and sails at multiple points along the line. This way, the cache's movement would be controlled by several different layers of atmospheric movement, and if you found a location with prevailing opposing wind directions at different altitudes, you might be able to balance the system so that it doesn't move too much.

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solar-powered airships

If you've got the tech for that, you've got the tech for AI-controlled ships.

Stock your goods in a drone ship, give it a course. Such ships would be smaller because they don't need to support people inside them. They can maneuver much more safely against hard winds and jet streams. They will also need a lot less power than regular ships.

Your people could seasonally load stuff on such self-piloted ships, and when the winds somewhere are hard, the nomads go away and the AI ships stay. When that region calms down, the air nomads just come back and intercept the AI driven ships on their course.

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