43 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Frigates are "Jack-of-all-trades" ships: For an all-out war, legions of robotized attack ships are great. They can exterminate everything with the best of them. But history shows that navies ...
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  • 54.2k
31 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

A dead man tells no tales. Humans can be easily and quickly terminated, should the necessity arise: an electric discharge or a poisoned needle directly from the helmet, for example, and the subject is ...
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  • 241k
27 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

The AI Insisted To the extent that some handful of your AI are nearly as self-aware and emotionally sophisticated as people are... The AI don't like risking themselves any more than you'd expect ...
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  • 9,167
19 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Humans are creative, AI is fast. Humans can conceptualise a situation far better than any AI, especially simpler AI. Perhaps the larger bright AIs may approach human level but not the type fitted in ...
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  • 2,236
12 votes

What would an alien spaceship need to have to be undetectable to us with our current technology

I assume that it would prevent emitting heat, maintain radio silence, absorb radio waves, and have to bend light around it to be invisible to passerby satellites and surface telescopes. Radio waves ...
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  • 52.3k
11 votes

Is this concept for very low energy space travel plausible?

In space, there is no free lunch If you're thinking that waiting for gravity to bring you back is reasonable, then a solar sail option is inefficient and unreliable. You don't have an atmosphere to ...
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10 votes

How would modern militaries respond to a large number of unknown spaceships suddenly launching towards the moon from Earth?

The USA would become aware of these launches almost immediately, via the Space-Based Infrared System of satellites. If there were any launches from Russia, China, North Korea or Iran, this would cause ...
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  • 18.2k
10 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

War is political Sure, you can delegate the decision making about targetting, evasive manoeuvrers, repair priorities, etc. to your AIs but do you want your AI choosing whether to prioritise rescuing ...
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  • 6,395
10 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

There are no dedicated military vessels. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_army#United_States At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Elbridge Gerry argued against a large standing army, ...
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  • 277k
9 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Evasive Manoeuvres, Mr Paris! Having a meatbag at the helm makes the ship's manoeuvring system impossible to hack. Space is big. Weapons take a long time to reach the target. Missiles take minutes or ...
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  • 41.2k
8 votes

Is this concept for very low energy space travel plausible?

No If natural gravity could pull the ship back to the Dyson Sphere, it would already be pulling the asteroids the ship was sent out to get. This process would be insanely slow. What value could ...
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  • 89.8k
7 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

For Human Factor You did not mention any robot or android capable of doing advanced fixes and maintenance, sure there are some fixes that can be done autonomously but any major "on the go" ...
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  • 309
7 votes

What would an alien spaceship need to have to be undetectable to us with our current technology

Distance is all that's really needed. A little bit of a frame challenge here, they don't need to be that close, and don't need any special shielding tech to go unnoticed if they're not. We can't even ...
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  • 7,275
7 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Because people need a hero. I watched the movie Don't Look Up last summer (and hated it, but that doesn't matter). It seems to bear no relation to your question, what does a comet hitting Earth have ...
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  • 1,199
6 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

AI Have Weaknesses Are these muffins or dogs? Would an AI successfully understand new things? Does it suffer from the "I have a hammer, so everything is a nail" style of thinking? Is AI ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Is this concept for very low energy space travel plausible?

The biggest issue with energy loss is stopping at the destination. A fuel burned to produce thrust will be pointed directly away from the Dyson sphere. Since mass is energy, the loss of any mass is ...
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5 votes

What material should a whipple shield on a lighthugger be made from?

Preemptive strike The biggest threat is from objects in its path. These might be coming so fast that there is no time to see the thing and act. The ship periodically fires an explosive shell ahead ...
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  • 277k
5 votes

What would an alien spaceship need to have to be undetectable to us with our current technology

You won't be able to, short of ridiculously advanced super-science like access to other dimensions to dump waste and the like. As always for Stealth in Space, the major problem is heat: you have to ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How would a spaceship not affected by gravity navigate between planets?

Hmm... Interesting. You could use X-matter's antigravity to get out of the Earth's atmosphere, I suppose, but I don't think there'd be much point. X-matter is probably expensive, so you wouldn't want ...
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4 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Your AI is not quite good enough for the jobs asked of "frigate-style missile artillery ships". Even today we automate what we can, and put humans in positions that require humans. In your ...
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  • 722
4 votes
Accepted

Is a Bussard Ramjet for collecting water possible

Not really You appear to be mixing up some ideas. The Bussard Ramjet, like all ramjets, collects nothing. Unlike turbine engines, ramjets have no moving parts and use the force of incoming matter (in ...
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  • 89.8k
4 votes

How would modern militaries respond to a large number of unknown spaceships suddenly launching towards the moon from Earth?

In addition to the answer by John regarding missile warning systems ("Where does the rocket impact if it cuts the engines in 30 seconds? In 60 seconds? ..."), you can expect: Depending on ...
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  • 97.9k
4 votes

Is this concept for very low energy space travel plausible?

Since this is a very high tech society, and presumably the bureaucracy only cares about the net energy or mass that is returned to the sphere. Perhaps they temperature regulate the sphere by ...
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  • 3,591
3 votes

Structural integrity of massive space vessels and mobile megastructures (>1.5km)

Space opera rule of cool: Go ahead. If this story is a space opera / fantasy. Don't sweat the details. The beached whale of a ship can gracefully belly flop onto the spiked platform with no problems. ...
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3 votes

Structural integrity of massive space vessels and mobile megastructures (>1.5km)

Assuming no handwavium anti-gravity. Problem 1 Your ship looks like a boat, there's even a bridge on top of a tower. So, intuitively, the tower points "up", as it does once landed. People ...
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  • 4,129
3 votes

Is a Bussard Ramjet for collecting water possible

Asteroids Some asteroids contain ice. It is easier to gather from asteroids than planets, since you don't need to design your spaceship to be capable of entering and then leaving the big gravity well ...
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  • 41.2k
3 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

AI is great at handling situations that they've been trained to handle. When they encounter something radically different than anything they've ever seen before, not so much. Humans do significantly ...
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  • 6,725
3 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

Because the crafts contain a human pilot who utilizes AI systems such as resource management or advanced weapons targeting. Giving you a "best of both worlds" approach. One system can back ...
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2 votes

What would an alien spaceship need to have to be undetectable to us with our current technology

As a slightly different take on the problem: You don't actually need to be undetectable. Here is a tip from Information Security point of view - instead of trying to make transfer of sensitive ...
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2 votes

Why are my combat spacecraft crewed?

This is a question that comes up a lot in fiction like Star Trek and Iain Banks's Culture series. Between their slow reaction time and their inability to handle even fifteen gravities of acceleration, ...
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