Thanks to Fred, again, for all the help writing science that kinda makes sense over the next few strips.

Ugh. My brain is a bit fried. Just spent the day laying out pages for the Little Dee novel. It’s like playing Tetris, now I’m seeing squares and word balloons and rearranging them in front of my eyelids when I close my eyes. Wouldn’t trade it for anything though. πŸ™‚

05/30/14 Initiating Turnaround

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  1. About memory Measuring memory usage in a multi-process browser

    Memory Virtual memory
    PID Name Private Shared Total Private Mapped

    Tab 05/30/14 Initiating Turnaround | One Way
    46812k 49152k 95964k 61896k 39408k

    Tab Spacetrawler - 12/11/13 King’s Showdown
    67668k 756k 68424k 85172k 39408k


  2. Flywheel? That’s a cool way to orient the ship.

  3. Otters: Hail Science! Hail Science! Hail Science!

  4. Oh good, Orion is participating! This is a real step forward for her.

  5. @Herandar: Orion has ALWAYS been participating. Just not always in the job to which she was assigned. (That we know of… CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC: DUH DUH DUUUUHHHHH!)

  6. @clacke, flywheels are Old School, and sometimes Old School is the Best School. Americans laughed when they found that the first MiGs that [were stolen] [were re-gifted] by defectors used tubes and ferrite cores instead of transistors and memory chips. Then they realized that tubes and ferrite cores are highly resistant to EMPs from nuclear blasts.

    Another example that was brought up in a discussion on a Spacetrawler strip was how Americans discovered that ink pens didn’t work well, if at all, in null gravity. So they came up with an ingenious way to pump ink while writing. Can’t remember if NASA spent a ton of megabucks to design it or if one of the pen companies did it “just because”, but it was (in engineering terms) a “non-trivial task”.

    The Soviets solved the problem in their own uniquely Russian way: they used pencils. Since Tsarist times, all exploration expeditions used pencils to keep logs, diaries, etc. That way, if you fell into a bog or a river, there was no ink to run or smear.

    Like I said: sometimes Old School is the Best School.

  7. Actually, graphite pencils are a great liability in zero G, their dust is conductive.

  8. I’ve never seen a space crew work so hard at doing a simple non-propulsive flipover.

  9. @TB: Try reading some Larry Niven, especially A Mote in God’s Eye; he goes into great detail about how difficult space travel would be, and how taxing it would be to the human body without some kind of hand-wavium intertial dampeners or something.

  10. See, they can too all work together!

  11. Inertial dampeners are pretty much a given in any SF with actual space travel. Well, except Star Trek, where any hit to the ship causes the bridge to wobble around πŸ˜›

  12. @Nathanyel: They did have inertial damp(en)ers which should have absorbed the natural inertia of a ship, including while under attack (according to memory-alpha). Presumably the small jolts were the result of the inertial dampers being pre-set when going to warp, but acted in an ad-hoc manner when dealing with attacks. The more violent motions during attacks appear to be the result of damage to the inertial dampers.

    In all fairness, though, the way they work, as with most things in Star Trek, seems mostly to be based on the need of the plot or the scene. Inertial dampers work when going into warp or when under a mild attack, but in order to show a heavier attack they work less πŸ˜›

  13. VTTBOTS beat out ST for the shaking ship routine. Of course they were supposed to be on the largest submarine and usually under watter.

    I could use some visual cues but I understand the concept of 180Β° reorientation of the ship just so so as to stay on course with minimal or no course correction.

    The 3rd Doctor added such inertial dampeners to his yellow jalopy so that they could travel faster than usual and make sudden stops without undo stress or sliding of the car. It is really a kind energy conversion device. Modifying Newton‘s First Law of Motion.
    I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

    So somehow the external force is the momentum energy being displaced and returned to negate itself. If I am understanding it properly. Though I have not read of any explanations of such “inertial dampeners.” I’m sure some are out there.

    I like the jargon, it gives it a reality to it. Better if it is closer to real physics etc.

  14. Always took it as a byproduct of antigravity / artificial gravity. If you can cancel or simulate the constant acceleration in one direction, you can, given sufficient computational powers, counteract sudden acceleration from impacts, and especially planned acceleration from, well, the ship accelerating.

    In a perfect setting, you could even just cancel out all outside gravitational/intertial influence etc., no matter the magnitude, and then simply simulate a steady artificial gravity inside the ship or station. Especially useful for “orbits” around objects with a gigantic mass.

  15. @Nathanyel, thanks for that. I knew it was an urban legend, but what I read was that, whereas NASA didn’t send the astronauts up with ordinary ballpoint pens, because tests had confirmed that they didn’t work upside down, the Soviets just sent the cosmonauts up with some to see whether they worked in weightlessness, and they (generally) did.

  16. As I understand it (could be wrong), if the Far Drive is shut down, they’re under no acceleration at all. They should be under zero-G now, and a flywheel flipover should be quite simple (other space vehicles use attitude thrusters for the turn).

    Isn’t the Higgs bubble just a device for reducing the ludicrous Far Drive acceleration down to 1 g for the passengers? I haven’t been keeping detailed notes.

  17. Well, FTL drives usually create a bubble universe for the ship in a 5(+X)-dimensional hyperspace, in which there is a far higher maximum speed. Objects in the bubble universe would not perceive any acceleration in the other medium at all.

  18. @TB, Apparently, No. I asked Fred, and he explained:

    “The Higgs generator is still running, and it is the Higgs that provides gravity adjustment. With the HG set for 1G “down”, on-board gravity will be normal…The Higgs generator does, in fact, ameliorate the Far Drive acceleration, but it is tunable (remember that they could have had normal gravity while in orbit). 1G is trivial for the Higgs Generator gravity adjuster.”

  19. Just about all current spacecraft use [Reaction Wheels] (flywheels, sized to the mass of the vehicle)- three of them, at right angles to each other, to maintain attitude (and usually at an angle- think of the corner of a cube, pointed at the ‘nose’ of the vehicle). If they get going too fast after correcting for some chronic twist, [Unloading] needs to be done, involving thrusters, using up fuel. If their bearings get too worn, they have a problem. Some long-duration missions may have more than one set, so the backups can be brought online.

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