Various sources consider heat emission and heat management a major issue when it comes to setting up "realistic" space battle scenarios.
I have a few questions in regards to this:
- Heat is a byproduct of creating power via various means. Say my starship is powered by a central reactor, the reactor will transform some kind of fuel/material into energy to power its various systems. And it will likely emit a ton of heat as a byproduct of said process.
Does this mean the reactor heat emission is the primary source of heat, or would, for example, firing a laser gun, also emit a sizeable amount of heat which would have to be take into consideration? Would firing some kind of rail gun or mass driver emit heat, as compared to a laser?
If I need energy and my reactor emits heat while creating something like electricity, why can't I simply surround my reactor with something like a mantle of solar sails, so I could harness the heat and transform it into power, in effect circumventing ANY heat issues in the process? I'm thinking what you consider heat management would in this example simply lead to a smaller reactor with less heat and power output, but the heat would be converted into power, setting off the smaller initial reactor size / efficiency.
Do conventional, chem engines emit heat or is this a moot point since the heat is generated outside of the starship, i.e. at the thrusters, and hence of no issue to the starship?