3
$\begingroup$

I am trying to work out a system of "energy wings" for large sea-landing spacecraft in the vein of Space Battleship Yamato.


Farewell to Yamato (1978)

The "wings" would materialize only during sea landing and sea launch, creating a Wing-in-Ground Effect that lifts the ship above the water. They don't allow for atmospheric maneuvers (although they probably work as stabilizers), they are just for the transition in and out of the water. Landing is mostly a matter of airbreaking and then gliding into the sea on the wings. Once in the water the ships are essentially boats. For launch I like Trish's answer about creating rocket fuel from water.

For the moment I am suspending my disbelief that the ship has too many types of maneuvering engines (FTL, rocket, thrusters, jets, propellers…?), and focusing on just the wings and how they are "materialized". Are they fin-shaped forcefields created by rows of some kind of perpendicular energy projection? Or maybe another shape entirely, like something dynamic and undulating? Maybe they are not energy at all but something more mundane like laminar airflow or physical blades that retract into the ship, each shaped like a long thin wing?

As a bonus, could they serve double duty, possibly taking the place of thrusters in space and propellers in water?

Lastly, could energy wings scale down to smaller Ground Effect Vehicles that would need to maintain the wings for hours, or do I need enormous electric engines to generate them? One of my concerns is that I am casually creating a technology (solid force fields) that would essentially make all other technologies obsolete (why have walls if you can project forcefields anywhere?), so my goal is to find the simplest or least handwavium solution. If the wings can only be sustained for a short time because of energy requirements for example, that might rule out smaller vehicles.

The question is not about hard energy shields, and none of the answers in this question appear to apply. Reasons include it needs to function in an atmosphere not a vacuum, and the wing shape is fundamentally different from a shield "bubble" that encloses the ship to protect from projectiles.

$\endgroup$

closed as unclear what you're asking by Mołot, James, Aify, Josh King, Azuaron Apr 4 '17 at 20:49

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Hard Sci-fi energy shields $\endgroup$ – Mołot Apr 4 '17 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ This all depends on the specifics of how your energy shields work. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Apr 4 '17 at 17:48
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the suggestion @Mołot, but the answers under Hard Energy Shields do not seem to apply. I have edited to say why. $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Apr 4 '17 at 17:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think in order not to accidentally make a world-breaking technology, the force-field can only be the leading edge of the wing and can't fully encase the field projecting utensil (the extending rod or what-have-you). You absolutely do need a "solid" forcefield here because you have to create lift by using the shape of the wing's leading edge to move air molecules and create an air pressure difference. That's unavoidable. $\endgroup$ – Ross Apr 4 '17 at 18:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not an expert on the hard science of what you can do with magnetization, but yes, that sounds like what I was imagining. You may be able to get away with not having ailerons/control surfaces by changing the shape of the leading edge in other ways. BUT the atmosphere still has to "push" on the wing for lift, in other words, it has to take a load. $\endgroup$ – Ross Apr 4 '17 at 19:25
3
$\begingroup$

One solution would be to propose a technology that can physically deform the body of the ship in set ways in order to change it's shape. Something like the idea of Smart Matter(TM) in Mike Shepherd's Kris Longknife novels.

Of all the solutions, I think this one would work the best for you, because you could simply draw off the armor cladding of the hull and use that to spin short, physical wings and then draw them back in again. Also, having a system allows the ship to also reconfigure itself for atmospheric flight quite easily too.

You could propose different systems for making it work, including force-fields that heat and then deform the ship's physical matter, or self-organising semi-organic matter (it grows changes like cells in the human body) or even having some skin system over physical actuators that move segments of the ship's interior around.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm, kind of an origami ship. Malleable material is maybe worse than force fields though in rendering all other buildings and walls obsolete, but if it is a series of plates that move in and out of position, then I am not inventing any impossible technologies.... $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Apr 4 '17 at 18:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @wetcircuit are you capable to invent new impressive technology, it just not so easy. Fantasy does not equals inventing (kinda like the idea of force field wings, but that restriction over the water etc is not smart - if they are wings follow the anti-rabbit, follow the logic of the thing). Smart matter is actually not bad solution for your thing, and if you struggle with how it can be made you might take look at the answer, in second 1/3 there are some clues to the possible technology implementation. No one used it so far ))) $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Apr 4 '17 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg, If I understand, you're saying it's easier/better to have flexible "intelligent" materials that can expand from the ship, than to rely on an "energy field" that has no real world equivalent? Since my goal is least handwavium, I agree. I'm not trying to invent exotic technologies for the sake of it, but really just trying to smooth my transition from space craft to water craft, something internal to the ship so it can land on any body of water (any planet) and take off again. SmartMatter™ seemed more complicated than "just" flipping a switch and forcefield turns on, haha. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – wetcircuit Apr 4 '17 at 23:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @wetcircuit yes, you understood correctly. I agree that smart matter has much more consequences than a specialized solution. You might take the solution Plasma window - it fits your needs too. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Apr 5 '17 at 9:05

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.