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Set in year 2615 A.D. humans have colonized nearby star systems, we can travel between different star systems using artificial wormholes. A spaceship leaving Solar system for Alpha Centauri have to find the correct wormhole then fly into the sphere, the inside space is the surface of another wormhole located within Alpha Centauri. There are countless wormholes littered across the our neighboring star systems, fortunately these wormholes are the size of Moon and most registered spaceship have a updated coordinates of these wormholes. (No FTL)

Description of wormhole

The surface of a wormhole looks like a fun house mirror although no two surfaces are alike in term of appearance space travellers without an updated map often got lost whilst entering the wormhole. A wormhole lasts billions of years before shrinking into nothing, no signs of technology around wormhole meaning these wormholes are self-subsistence.

How wormhole works

  • Alice is currently within Solar System.
  • Alice wants to go Alpha Centauri.
  • Alice enters a wormhole.
  • As Alice enters the surface of the spherical wormhole, she is coming out from another surface of a spherical wormhole located within Alpha Centauri.

Question

How can we improve the existing space traffic system to allow space travellers to easily identify the correct wormhole that leads to their destination?

Comment below should you have any doubt.

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  • $\begingroup$ so basically the worm hole is similar to the one in the movie "interstellar"? $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Aug 24 '15 at 5:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Lorry Laurence mcLarry yes somewhat but no blackhole involves $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 24 '15 at 5:37
  • $\begingroup$ Considering the speed with which spaceships move, you're not going to be able to even see a physical sign as you blast past it. You need to set your course at launch because you will be going too fast to do much in terms of modifying your trajectory. (Unless the story is supposed to be comedy?) $\endgroup$ – Erik Aug 24 '15 at 8:27
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    $\begingroup$ Unclear or stupid: why can't they navigate among charted bodies and/or station beacons nearby? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 24 '15 at 11:09
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You can use the signs, but only in fun setup: Futurama route 66

Because, if we are in year 2615 and can create wormholes, it is safe to assume that we can:

  • Program our ships in order to navigate to the wormholes
  • Have enough antenna systems to help ships to decide into which worm hole are they flying
  • Basically have ships intelligent enough to guide themselves (we almost can do this even in 2015...)

Of course that you can provide road signs into space. As you can see from the picture above, Futurama did it (and the series is set in year 3000), so why couldn't you?

But if you do it, for most sci-fi geeks it will become laughable idea. So create story accordingly

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Do you need road signs, or do you need a way to update maps? I wouldn't think that people fly using visual flight rules ...

  • Those wormholes are artificial, you say. Made by humans or by long-lost aliens? If it is made by humans, there should be a schedule. "Funds for Proxima Bypass Wormhole voted." - "Construction on Proxima Bypass started." - "Opening of Proxima Bypass delayed another month, new date is the 23th, accounting office investigates."
  • There would be a computer file format for wormhole maps. I would guess a map is relatively small, compared to the latest Star Wars prequel or animated cat image. The entries for individual wormholes would include a timestamp, so a ship could compare the update with their current map and 'merge' them.
  • Perhaps the messaging protocol for map updates includes sending your own map, so every arriving ship updates the map storage at the nexus.

Put a station/satellite/beacon near the wormhole to handle that communication, or perhaps three or four on all sides.

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  • $\begingroup$ I need big road signs $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 24 '15 at 5:38
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Actual Road signs in space seem a bit silly because you could approach the worm-hole from any direction in 3-dimensional space, and are not being channelled along a 1 dimensional road.

Perhaps there could be a navigation beacon near the worm hole that transmits traffic orders to nearby spaceships, similar to an aircraft control tower. Presumable radio signals travel through the worm hole? So you only need one one one side.

Maybe you need a radar detector on both sides so that traffic control can be transmitted a clear view of both sides.

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    $\begingroup$ So we need to setup lighthouses and hire traffic marshals to station around each wormhole. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Aug 24 '15 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ In the future, you could probably trust a computer AI to direct traffic. The question is weather the communication protocol is 100% universal. Like are there uncountable alien civilisations? Or does everyone talk the same language and conform their software to the standards of the same governing body? $\endgroup$ – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Aug 24 '15 at 6:00
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Putting beacon satellites next to the important wormholes (the ones that allow for the shortest travel times to destination planets and space stations) seems like the simplest solution and can obviously be paid for by advertising, pointing out the businesses at the other end of that wormhole.

They are however vulnerable to foul play. What if for example some nefarious agenst of "Burger Hegemon" drags the beacon from "Tacozoid Bell" over to another wormhole that leads to a black hole?

A more universal system might be that important destinations and transit areas send out very strong, encrypted signals. These pass through any nearby wormholes and come out the other side. Ships would identify wormholes by the signals coming out, using the strength of the signal to determine to which destination a wormhole leads and how far it is from the wormhole exit to the destination beacon.

A signal might even pass through more than one wormhole if it's very strong or benefits from some unknown physics, allowing the ships to see more than one jump ahead to find their route.

An example:

Alice wants to travel from Earth to the trading post around Alpha Centauri B. She tells the computer to scan for the unique code belonging to the trading post and gets three results, the strongest one appearing to come from a wormhole near Jupiter. After verifying the code against the public key in the ship's database and determining it's authentic, she sets course for Jupiter and enters the wormhole.

Not having used this particular wormhole, Alice is quite surprised when she emerges from the wormhole in deep interstellar space, more than 200 lightyears from the Solar System or Alpha Centauri. Flying around in a quick circle of the wormhole, she discovers there's a second wormhole only 0.3 AU away that transmits the trading posts signal loud and clear. After the second jump, Alice has arrived at only a few thousand kilometers from the space station. Saving her several days of flying compared to the single jump from Pluto orbit she used to take.

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One way would be to have beacons. The id. of a wormhole appears on the screen as text when a beacon is located or within range.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi Daniel Talis, and welcome to Worldbuilding. While this is a valid answer, the idea of beacons has already been mentioned by four different people, in greater depth than this does. We like answers that go into depth and explain how something would work, and we also like answers that don't simply duplicate what has already been said. Can you edit this answer to expand on it, to make it stand out more from the existing answers that mention this technique? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 1 '16 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, that's all I have on this topic. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Talis Aug 1 '16 at 20:46

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