11/11/20 – Great Brakes

Spacetrawler, audio version For the blind or visually impaired, November 11, 2020.




I used to love how in old shows like “Dukes of Hazzard,” when cars would stop there’d be a huge squeal of brakes — even though it was always a dirt road. I just took it to it’s logical next level.


    1. KQY

      ST had gravity plates and inertial dampers to give them a 1G downforce always. It is when that stuff gets overloaded or shut down (Because the need to divert the power) that they need Old School restraints. But, then, the didn’t bother to bolt down most of the chairs. :p

        1. Efogoto

          @Christopher: I know that “windshield” is merely the term used by the comic translator for the actual term that Stangor uttered – because no Earthling (USofAling?) would ever say “Ethershield”. 😀

    1. DSL

      Ciara’s holding on to the wheel, knew she was going to hit the brakes and so was consciously or unconsciously bracing. I’ve noticed the same thing when driving. The fact that Stangor et al haven’t disappeared out of vaporized holes in the wi — er, ether — er, transparent front panel — indicates there is some inertial damping in place to go with the artificial gravity (though it’s been pointed out in various discussions of Trek tech that if you have artificial gravity, you have inertial damping — and, frankly, since gravity is acceleration, you have reactionless thrust as well.

      1. Nova

        I always liked to imagine any hypothetical artificial gravity tech as not actually being reactionless… rather, there would be some sort of field that induces acceleration to objects within it through means of [mumblemumble], while inducing an equal and opposite acceleration in itself, so no net gain in energy. Analogous to an electromagnet pulling itself toward another object.

        (You could still use such technology for propulsion by putting in some sort of reaction mass and letting it go flying out the back, just don’t mix up the calibration settings for the thruster fields vs the bridge fields)

        1. Gregg Eshelman

          What I’ve imagined for inertial dampers, artificial gravity, and shields is their fields are essentially physically ‘connected’ to the devices that generate them.

          There is some elasticity in that connection so that normal use, or somewhat extreme use of the shields, doesn’t try to rip the generators from the ship.

          To provide energy dissipation they’d have massive capacitor banks using a flowing liquid dielectric. Activity that causes a need to dissipate energy would shunt that energy into the capacitors, to be carried away by the dielectric then ‘siphoned off’ to charge some super advanced batteries. Thus stuff hitting the shields or yoinking the ship about gives it more power, up to a point.

          With the batteries fully charged, the ship would need to radiate excess away in some manner. In battle the ideal manner would be via directed beams of energy, AKA “weapons”. Of course that energy beam could also be a drive system.

          Now what if the shields take a hit that’s too big to fully absorb into the capacitor dielectric? Energy arcs, big, fat, hot ones between the plates. With solid and paste electrolytes that can permanently short out a capacitor. With liquid, especially flowing liquid, filter out the charred particles and keep on going.

          But that excess had to go somewhere. The batteries couldn’t take it, it’s rather wild to power weapons or the drive. I’d put some overload emitters on the hull to arc out like a big Jacob’s Ladder.

          Now comes the damage. The enemy has shot this ship so powerfully it arcs the capacitors hard enough to blow holes through the plates, in the process heating them enough to warp and physically short together.

          It’s a mad rush in engineering to isolate the damaged capacitor, dump any charge, drain the electrolyte, open the tank and pull and replace plates then close up, refill and reconnect both fluid and power lines.

          Meanwhile the port shields are down half their absorption capacity, the field has been ‘stiffened’ and it’s now up to the *physical* damper connections between the generator and the hull to soften the blows. Now the ship is being shaken about while the engineers are trying to repair the capacitor.

          Will they get it back online before a solid thump rips the shield generator loose and takes the port shield down to where it will require major mechanical and structural repairs? (Assuming the generator hasn’t been punched clean through the hull and gone.)

          There’s all this stuff going on back in engineering while the bridge crewman is merely calmly yelling “Port shields down to 50%, Captain!” and “We’ve lost 25% inertial damper capacity, Captain!”

          Just some things I’ve though on for years but never wrote down until just now.

  1. Pete Rogan

    All wonderful extrapolations of science-fiction physics and ways to play with them, but the real question here is: What did Stangor just think of that made her stop the ship instantly?

    Commanders who don’t remember things that kill people and ships don’t live long enough to leave either. And Stangor’s mammoth lack of self-knowledge continues to make me cringe.

    So NOW what??

  2. Jim Campbell

    I used to have a 1964 EH Holden (Aussies will know it) and the brakes were incredibly good at stopping the wheels from going around.

    Unfortunately, since the tyres were about 4 inches wide, this had very little effect on the speed of the car.

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