Zeiss Ikon

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About Zeiss Ikon

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    Spacecraft Engineer
  1. So far, I've installed only a single mod: Better Burn Time. It's helpful for ordinary maneuvers, doing a better job of "centering the burn" than I can, as well as reporting if I don't have enough fuel on board for the scheduled burn (watch out for staging, though). It's much more helpful for landings, because it gives you an "earliest ignition time" for a suicide burn landing -- burn at indicated zero (time to impact equals burn time to stop) and you'll stop well above surface; go lower and you're playing chicken, a little. Best of all, though, it's got a docking mode that greatly simplifies getting stopped at the right time for a docking. I'm sure I'll add others eventually -- if my machine were up to it, I'd like to get some beauty add-ons to make Kerbin look more like a planet and less like a cartoon. I might also, sometime, try things like Real Fuels, RSS, and Realism Overhaul. If I can ever afford a fast-clock computer...
  2. Haven't had much time to play lately, but a couple days ago I managed to build an extension for Fuel Station Valentina 1 -- an additional tank that also carries a big batch of solar panels. Theoretically, this should increase the net yield of the drilling and conversion process, by not using any of the fuel produced to generate the energy to drill and convert more ore. It should also allow operating both the drill and the converter at full capacity, simultaneously, with the solar arrays providing most of the power and the fuel cells taking up the slack -- which will greatly increase the total Lf/O conversion rate, currently limited by EC generation rate from the multiple rows of fuel cells. All I have to do is keep the actual station in the sun by rotating the asteroid... With launching the tank mostly empty (just enough left to run the Vernors for docking with the existing station), it can go up on an older Mun launcher instead of requiring the newest heavy lift boosters. Val has been insisting she should pilot this vessel, even though Sigemy is scheduled in the rotation -- we'll see how that turns out when it's actually time to launch. With a single seat command pod, this won't be rotating the crew from the fuel station -- that'll be done with a three-seat pod, so two new crew can ride up, and the two who've been there can ride back down.
  3. A split beam, one half sent direct and the other half rerouted (via reflection from an object) is also the basis for holography. The reflected beam arrives with a delay that causes interference fringes which can be captured with a photographic plate or film. When developed, the emulsion can be illuminated (with a laser, for the simplest form) and recreate an image of the object, in 3 dimensions, plus a bunch of other bizarre features (take a tiny piece of the hologram film, and you can still view the entire image, for instance). This, of course, has nothing to do with either dark matter or FTL "matter" (once called "tachyons", "fast particles" by contrast to everything we know, "tardyons" or "slow particles"). There's never been any experimental evidence for tachyons, nor does there appear to be any way to falsify the hypothesis of their existence, hence the idea was dropped.
  4. Quick physics quiz: what's the orbital period of an FTL massive particle? Answer: it doesn't have one; it's above observable-universe escape velocity. If it exists, it's going to fly through once, and then it's gone, unless the universe has a fold-back at the "edge" that causes something going beyond to return via the opposite edge -- a hypothesis that, AFAIK, has been very thoroughly discredited. While the whole universe might well be infinite, all evidence at present seems to suggest that is is "open", i.e. doesn't wrap back.
  5. I see a huge hole in this hypothesis: if gravity did in fact propogate in four spatial dimensions, shouldn't it lose strength over distance by an "inverse cube law" rather than "inverse square law" as it measurably and observably does? You can show that this is the correct progression through dimensions, by looking at the falloff of light from a linear emitter (like a really long fluorescent tube), which is inverse first power, as long as you're close enough the ends don't affect things. That light is effectively spreading in two dimensions. Since light does, in fact, spread in three dimensions, point (and, once you're far enough from them, all other)sources in fact lose intensity by an inverse square law -- and so does gravity. This is strong evidence that gravity is a three-dimensional force, just like electromagnetism. IMO, a much better candidate for a higher-dimensional force would be the strong nuclear force, which holds atomic nuclei together despite their electrostatic repulsion. The strong force is very, very strong -- but only over a very short distance. In fact, it seems as if it must propogate in more than even four spatial dimensions -- perhaps the eleven of Hilbert space. If that were the case, it would fall off as the inverse 10th power of distance -- which would make it a very short-range force indeed.
  6. Another option: launch from the natural surface of whatever body you're starting on. I've never seen a rocket plume so much as leave a mark on Kerbin, Mun, or Minmus, and certainly not on Gilly (the only bodies I've landed on so far). Otherwise, if you want to launch from a built-up structure other than KSC's launch pad, you probably need to look for one of the mods that lets you build and launch vessels from other bodies or other places on Kerbin -- those will include the ability to make a launch pad that will (usually) stand up to reuse.
  7. I'll agree with klesh -- I'm pretty sure that means "on a course that will crash into Kerbin" -- not "crash your vessel into Kerbin." Once you get the "contract fulfilled", you can maneuver enough to get an aerocapture/aerobrake, restore a stable orbit, or do something else.
  8. Okay, apparently the estimate has been revised upward since I first read about this, and now stands at 1000 to 10,000 breeding pairs. The upper end of that is about the size of the colony the OP postulated, however -- so humanity has seemingly been through such an event in the past (even if it wasn't due to Toba, there still exists a genetic bottleneck between about 100,000 and 50,000 years ago).
  9. Genetic evidence indicates that, about 75000 years ago, a supervolcano eruption and its climatic effects seem to have reduced the human (presumed not including Neanderthal, Denisovan, and Floresiensis) population to as few as 100 individuals. Maybe that's why humans are so closely related compared to apes?
  10. Another (IMO) excellent fictional treatment of a variation of this scenario is John Varley's Ophiuchi Hotline books. In that setting, Earth had been invaded, interdicted, and literally beaten back to the stone age by aliens from Jupiter (gas giant dwellers, who had nothing in common with humans in terms of thought processes, but thought cetaceans were perfect conversation partners), leaving the (very few) Lunar colonies to fend for themselves. Fast forward (as I recall) 400 years, and they've spread through the solar system and out into the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud (avoiding the gas giants and their moons as unsafe) -- but their society doesn't look just like ours, even allowing for four centuries of technology development.
  11. Maximum time warp is some ridiculous value with a bunch of zeros -- I don't recall if it's 100,000 or 1,000,000, but given you're on a transfer orbit from Kerbin to Eve, your transit time would be something like 75-90 days, and at 100,000 time warp, that time will pass in just a couple real-time minutes -- and if you were on a cometary transfer (i.e. highly eccentric, for a bad window and/or very fast trip) you'll be above system escape velocity as you travel. If you had an encounter set up before you warped, an unintentional gravity assist can also kick you above system escape. To avoid this, after setting up a maneuver (say, a capture burn), you can click on your orbit past the node, and one of the popup options is "warp to next maneuver". This will auto-warp at highest speed, so take the least of your real-world play time, but will automatically stop one minute before your burn is due. Not the best for going and getting a cup of coffee while your game runs, but perfect for avoiding an overshoot (aside from the fact that if your attention isn't on the game window, you'll still overshoot because you won't notice the warp has stopped within that minute). Another option is to use auto-warp to a location short of your next burn. For an interplanetary transfer, the closest you're likely to be able to click will give you hours, or even days, but the auto-warp will stop before you overshoot and you can then manually warp closer when you come back to your computer.
  12. I'd forgotten Stellafane -- when I made my 8" Dob I lived in Seattle, and my first star party was in New Mexico (three days drive from Seattle, and another three back, but it was worth every mile -- Enchanted Skies had a dark site where I could see the Trifid and Lagoon nebulae with the naked eye). Now, I'm in North Carolina, so roughly twelve hours' drive from the Stellafane site. When is the annual gathering there?
  13. There may have been a failure to think things through there. Good thing you didn't pump up to 100 psi instead; there'd have been twice the mud.
  14. Nice. I did model rockets in 7th and 8th grade (1970-1972), then came back and built and flew them again from 1996 until 2001. I got out of it because the high power rockets, which were what really appealed to me, were far too expensive for my budget: back then, a Level 2 launch might cost $100+ for the motor, and recovery was iffy enough you took a significant risk of destroying an airframe that cost another $300 to build (upgrade to Level 3 and you can add another zero or even two zeros to those prices -- and this is most of twenty years ago). One thing I did notice -- I was a much better builder in my late thirties than I'd been at twelve.
  15. I read this at the University of Idaho library around 1974-1975 time frame, along with Rocketry Manual for Amateurs (built around zinc-sulfur motors -- even amateur rocket motor makers shun this stuff now, in favor of ammonium perchlorate and catalyst cured rubber, often with aluminum powder added). Very happy to finally have a copy.