A spacecraft designed for interstellar travel is discovered 100 million years later. What pieces of it still work, what parts would be easily repairable, and what would still be even vaguely recognizably intact? Alternatively, if nothing would work, what percentage of the ship would even be left (after sublimation to the vacuum, bombardment of micrometeorites, etc.)?
Key pieces I'm wondering about:
- The hull (how intact would it be?)
- Macro-electronic components such as sensors, lasers, or other instruments
- Micro-electronic components, such as CPUs, RAM
- Digital data storage (reasonably shielded optical storage)
- Physical data storage (printed signage, physical books, engraved plaques)
- Thrusters (antimatter or ion thrusters)
- This spaceship is designed with a technology level several hundred years in advance of what we have now (advanced enough to be able to do interstellar travel). In order to avoid the answer being "it depends on what your technology looks like", I'll make the known incorrect assumption that technology of the future looks like the present but with more energy efficiency, energy density, and precision manufacturing. So fusion power works, electronics have the same principles but are smaller, any material that we can make now at enormous expense (including moderate quantities of anti-matter) can be made fairly cheaply, etc.
- The spaceship is adrift in interstellar space. It doesn't crash into anything large, but will go through a nebula at some point. A recent projection of the courses of the voyager spacecraft indicate they are won't crash into things for at least 5 billion years, and that the golden records will still be somewhat playable after that time, so I expect the ship to still be intact, but there will be a lot of contact with lose particles and whatever energies and radiation the ship is exposed to.
- The spaceship was designed for interstellar travel and a 100-year service life but did not have any particular types of longevity engineering.
- All electronics have reasonable degrees of magnetic shielding and durability to meet the intended 100-year interstellar service life of the ship. Their digital storage would be a material that combines the durability of optical storage with the read/write speed of solid state storage.
- The people discovering this spaceship are willing to put a lot of effort into getting it working again.
- The ship ran out of power slowly and in a non-hazardous manner (ex. no antimatter containment breach).
- The spaceship is vaguely cylindrical, 1km long and 100m in diameter.
- The spaceship doesn't have crew for most (if not almost all) of the intervening time interval.