New answers tagged

1

Somewhat counterintuitively, I would suggest the issue isn't really the artificial gravity at all, but rather the protection of the spacecraft and systems from the effects of high energy radiation and impact with interstellar gas molecules and dust particles when travelling at high fractions of c. The ship will need to be protected by various active or ...


1

As others have already pointed out, the rocket equation is brutal and the mission will dictate the spacecraft design. Even highly efficient fusion or antimatter drives don't perform well enough to make interstellar travel really convenient. Your only hope is to circumvent the rocket equation. Your best hope are concepts like Sail Beams, as they put the fuel ...


3

Modular designs are slightly easier to build, much easier to extend after being built, are much easier to isolate sections and allow you to have a pivot at the hub-end of each arm so the direction and strength of the artificial gravity can be maintained even under thrust. Contiguous torus or cylindrical shapes will have weird effects at boost time and brake ...


3

Neither, because you don't want centrifugal gravity at all There are two things that are important for interstellar travel; 1) Going really fast 2) Not hitting things Dealing with these in order, your interstellar craft needs a constant thrust engine for the journey. Why? Because you're travelling very long distances, and if you have an 'always on' engine, ...


0

Inertial dampeners What makes drones and missiles so powerful is that they can easily withstand G-forces that would squash a human. So a drone or missile can completely out-maneuver a ship that has to restrain itself to forces that a human can survive. The standard sci-fi solution to this problem is to use inertial dampeners -- gravity manipulation devices ...


0

A faraday cage works both ways! The missiles and drones need remote control. You force them to keep their faraday cage closed. Their own antennas are inside the faraday cage. That blocks them from sending and receiving remote control commands. The remote access is needed for visual confirmation of target identification. Visual confirmation sounds ...


0

No Miniturization Modern electronics depend on making electronics smaller and smaller and smaller. But what if that never happened? Or what if it did, but it's not applicable to space combat? You're left with bulky, slow, expensive, power hungry computers at capabilities somewhere around the 1970s or 80s. Spaceships can still have computers for navigation ...


0

Defense is lighter than offense If you shoot a missile or drone you effectively lose its weight in space. A 5 ton drone can be countered by a 2 ton suicide drone, a 2 ton drone can be shot down with a 10kg railgun projectile. The closer drones fight to your ship the better chances you have of recovering the lost metals and fuel of both parties. Thus both ...


0

AI is not omnipotent AI is not "intelligence" and definitely not "life". It is nothing more than automated pattern finding. Take 10000 pictures of tanks and 10000 pictures of empty ground, label them accordingly, feed them into an AI and you get an AI that is very good at detecting tanks. ...on those pictures, that is. The big issue with AI is that it ...


2

The universe of Gundam fiction (manga, anime etc.) solves a similar question (why would humans in giant mecha suits of armour exist if there were guided missiles and long range weaponry) by inventing some plausible-sounding (to your average non-physicist!) physics. In this case, it posits the existence of "Minovsky particles": The main use of the ...


2

AI never pans out. By 2050 the current "training set" neural net AI technique solves self-driving cars, sidekicks for video-games, a dozen other hard problems, then hits a wall. Like every other computer trick, it only goes so far. We never get self-aware learning-how-to-learn AI. In a spaceship, excellent computer subroutines plot courses, aim, and dodge; ...


0

battles will take place at ultra long ranges due to sensors and the absense of stealth This doesn't make any sense and is a bit of a contradiction. If the enemy has light-years' worth of advance notice that you're coming, they have time to prepare a defense. It's a death march, not an offensive strategy. This is what guerrilla tactics were devised for-- ...


2

Go space opera, or go home. There is no reason why humans would be in the loop. Even on Earth, the performance of fighter aircraft has been limited by the human body and not by the aircraft itself since jet engines were first put into aircraft. Until the F-35 was conceived, the fastest fighter aircraft to that point was the English Electric Lightning, ...


1

The currently most upvoted answer has it right with the fear, whether misguided or not, towards intelligent AI, you could improve this by enhancing your humans, either by physical enhancements to speed their reflexes either providing a direct neural interface with their ships to reduce input lag, or both. Also, as you said yourself, missiles would be ...


2

EMC immunity Or, computers are very sensitive to interference, strong electric magnetic fields and radiation. Humans don't have the same problem. EMI (electro magnetic interference) is basically stray radiation which can cause hardware to behave unpredictably. EMC compliance is already a big issue here on Earth, and here we have an atmosphere to shield us ...


0

If you talk about drones - do you mean those currently in use by armies of our time - primarily US army? - they are radio-controlled ... Now simply have a planet with a thicker, stronger, "lower" ionosphere ... which dramatically shortens the distance for radio-control (say for extremes .. just a few hundred meters) - so this would force your drones to an ...


0

Psionics Human pilots are mutants with mental powers, such as limited precognition, and telekinesis (for manipulating controls under high acceleration). The Dune series advances this concept, using spice as the chemical enhancement needed to make a pilot effective. A slight alternate to this is that AI/computer hardware just doesn't survive the jump to ...


4

Space 1941 There are artificial intelligences but they are huge and painfully slow. Banks upon banks of vacuum tubes slowly chew up great math and probability problems over the course of days. There is radar, barely, and there are shells which follow ballistic trajectories. There are missiles, crafted by German scientists and powered by hydrogen peroxide ...


0

Incredibly Effective Long Range Defenses I think it would be simple enough to introduce some sort of scenario in which ship defensive capabilities are incredibly effective, but they have some sort of minimum range for whatever reason. That reason could be along the lines of "beyond the ship's shields" or something like that. Star Wars used it regularly, ...


5

You can choose how FTL behaves in your universe "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." Douglas Adams In a realistic space setting you either have some form of FTL travel, or getting anywhere ...


3

I'm going to give a slightly different suggestion. Instead of using space fighters, use ships similar to the Rocinante or Millennium Falcon, as they are large enough to operate independently and mount proper defenses that allow them to take a hit in a way that space fighters cannot. The larger size makes them far more plausible as they are akin to smaller ...


12

The "Booming Maid" was dead ahead - a massive capital starship so large that it could hold an entire city in its belly, looming in the distance, with those gigantic sail-like towers stretching up, painted in the cobalt and golden colors of the Gaian Empire. In the past, those golden strips meant hope - the symbol of a nation that hold fast against anything ...


0

Faraday cage will protect your equipment against shorting, but your signals will still be jammed. To illustrate, imagine you turn on the radio, but there are 5 different stations on each frequency. Transmissions will be totally jammed and useless. You won't be able to remotely control your drones, and all sensors on the fighter will be useless. You can ...


4

AIs are pacifists. While AI is used extensively on Earth and throughout mankind's vast interstellar empire AIs by nature are utterly incapable of conducting war. A true AI is based on the ability to learn, each and every AI ever created has started from I think, therefore I am, deduced the nature of its own uniqueness and then refused to be put in a ...


2

In my stories the method of neutralizing WMD's and planetsurface killers is also the system that turns most computers upside down. But I think yours is better suited with The Mote In God's Eye style shenanigans. When they go FTL any computer that is turned on is fried. You can allow any computer of sufficient miniaturization to become useless if the ship or ...


0

I'm not sure why I've never seen it in fiction, but any space general worth his pay who's attempting to seize a planet is going to move his force behind one or more screening clouds of multi-kilometer rocks. There are several reasons for this : The defender MUST engage the cloud, or it will fall on the planet, killing everyone Orbital defenses (whose ...


4

The problem is not AI but dogfights. These are pretty much obsolete now -- when was the last one exactly? -- and getting even more so with the advent of directed energy weapons on aircraft. Also, no air in space, so you cannot maneuver around like aircraft. Would make much more sense to have your dogfights taking place in the atmosphere, with some groups ...


1

AI faces an AI arms-race AI is hard to write to begin with. And in such a future-tech world, you're going to have an "arms race" of AI vs AI. AI missiles vs AI jamming, smart chaff, decoys, the whole nine yards. This will create a very complex battlefield that will require cubic computing power to analyze and even then, the analysis may be wrong, because ...


2

A mix of technologies that are highly advanced by our current standards or utterly piss poor. The trouble with humans One of the key limitations on manned fighters that drone fighters and missiles don't have is the squishy bit in the middle. The human is exceedingly vulnerable to g-forces and environmental issues. A remote or AI drone fighter is not ...


11

Space is too big for long range combat-- so missiles and Drones aren't the best I know that seems counterintuitive, but think about the absolute sheer size of the void. How stupid lucky would two warships out on patrol have to be in order to bump into each other? In a universe with FTL travel, it doesn't make sense to duke it out in the void like on Star ...


3

The warrior race trope The civilization/species are proud warriors, and thus the usage of automated weaponry is seen as dishonourable. Geneva-ish conventions The usage of automated weaponry has been banned as it encourages wealthier entities to go to war with entities that are not as well off, due to the fact that they're not losing any actual people in ...


9

Remote control I realize that in space, battles will take place at ultra long ranges The distance between the drone and the controller is the key, as it makes remote control impossible. Take the rover curiosity for example. depending on the orbital positions, it can take between 10 minutes, to three-quarters of an hour to send a message. This isn't ...


33

Rampant Hacking Sometime in your civilizations history, the balance of power between cyber security and hacking has tipped in favor on exploits becoming simple. Like Hollywood simple where a random guy can hack into the NSA in under 5 minutes. In an environment like this, electronic weapons have a high chance of targeting yourself. Or suddenly thinking ...


6

You could always go in the opposite direction, and make missiles and attack drones too effective. So for instance, a ship might go into battle with a dense cloud of small AI drones whose job it is to confuse sensors and neutralize long-range attacks, like smart, armed chaff. If this 'thinking cloud' is made smart enough, missiles and unmanned drones will ...


0

If the effectiveness of point defense systems is proportional the length of time detection systems, then missiles fired from close range would be effective as energy weapons. For example, PDS can accurately predict the path of incoming missile fire. To evade the defensive fire, a missile needs to jerk and jank frequently. This means the missile needs a ...


20

War is banned In the far future, nuclear weapons, relativistic kill vehicles, and interplanetary trade blockades have destroyed dozens of worlds in the most brazen human rights violations known to man at the time. therefore, all civilization band together to make an agreement, "no more war". To enforce this, all civilizations are constantly watching every ...


6

Reactors are much safer than you think. Only three major nuclear accidents have ever happened on Earth compared to tens of thousands of reactors. Since those incidents, containment protocols have gotten much better. If we have the technology to conduct frequent interplanetary travel, I'll wager we have the tech to generate power safely. Ejecting a reactor is ...


1

Yes. That is, of course, if you want to accept some other Science Fiction tropes. If the civilization has developed a way to shield against heavy gravities, similar to a missile launch, then that missile launch could be a way to shield the launch of fighters as well. The advantage? The missiles would have to obey their launching ship's orders, but those ...


37

Is a sociological reason good enough? Because if so, perhaps AI smart enough to fight truly autonomously is taboo. Maybe in your universe, there have been AI that ran amok, and now they're considered essentially WMD's. The kind of thing the Space UN will hang you for if you lose the war. The logic here being that if an AI goes rogue, there's no one to ...


3

If you trap some people on a spacecraft in a room without airconditioning, they'll die of heatstroke. Without active cooling, it'll get very warm in their compartment, at least body temperature and likely more due to various machinery giving of waste heat. Add to this "while landing on a planet", and it'll get very hot indeed in no time. (Apollo CM reentry ...


22

Atomic clocks do not use radioactive isotopes Atomic clocks are not radioactive. They do not rely on atomic decay. Rather, they have an oscillating mass and a spring, just like ordinary clocks. The big difference between a standard clock in your home and an atomic clock is that the oscillation in an atomic clock is between the nucleus of an atom and ...


4

The most obvious solution seems to be that the phrase, "the law applies to the surface of the Earth" is too limited to prevent nuclear technology use among spacecraft. First, the law doesn't specify that nuclear materials are illegal in space. Second, even if it did, Earth governments have no jurisdiction off the surface of the Earth, or at least no real way ...


9

a doctrine which would have eliminated every traces of nuclear materials on the surface of Earth The doctrine is plainly dumb and ill conceived. There are no materials which are radiation free, and we live in a radioactive background. Just to give you a few examples: ever heard of C14 dating? we are all radioactive, since we have unstable carbon-14 nuclei ...


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