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  1. I recently tried to go interstellar in stock and I was able to get my trajectory to outside the Kerbol system but is there a border which you can't cross as the craft is instantly destroyed? Has anyone else done this before? Thanks, -Andrew theAstronaut
  2. I dot expect them to take like 30 years right? Since the Kerbal universe is scaled down, I think they might take 10-20 years depending on speed and distance?
  3. Wabi Sabi - Perfect Imperfection The Overview: Wabi-Sabi. A word that has held prevalence in Japanese culture for centuries. A word that holds so much meaning and depth, it lacks a proper translation into English. It means the acceptance of transience and imperfection, and appreciation of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete in nature. Wabi-Sabi holds an appreciation of both natural objects and forces of nature, appreciating austerity, modesty, intimacy, asymmetry and roughness. Our planets easily fit this brand. Instead of embracing perfect spheres, habitable planets, perfect and balanced solar systems, we have a different unique approach. Each of our bodies has something unique to offer. In this mod, you won't cheat orbit around each body, or just observe from afar in tracking station, but be motivated to say "I want to go there for myself", and furthermore, "I want to stay here and keep coming back". Planets are unique experiences. They shouldn't be one off screenshot generators, but full of worth, value, and creativity blended with realism. Everything from a super-kerbin with exotic ammonia based life, to a lonely vacuum planet should have a relatively similar amount of value and unique content. If you want solar systems crammed with content, uniquely hand crafted planets, with plenty of gameplay, offering new challenges and reasons to explore, then this is it. Quality > quantity. No filler. In-depth lore and story that will send you on an odyssey spanning the small cluster of stars you find yourself in, somewhere between galaxies. Coming soon™️. Incompatibility Screenshots: https://imgur.com/a/HYZcvaK (Check back occasionally, I will be updating this! Also also, stuff is heavy WIP so it might not be great as of now, please be nice lol) @Bendy SnowballCo-Developer, PR work, Director, Management, etc. @ballisticfox0 EVE help @ShbibePlaytesting @bobjonesisthebest:D Sciencedefs @Caps Lock Sunflare The Kopernicus Discord Server - Being a great help to me. I can't list all the names individually, but thanks @TheOrios system help/making, concepting @KerbinSphere Part making/modelling @Jason Kerman Their pole spike fixing python script @R-T-B Maintaining Kopernicus @TheProtagonists While their textures are no longer in use, I just think they are cool @RJVB09 Lightcurve Calculator @OhioBobAtmosphere calculator @JadeOfMaar System maps Soon This mod is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND. Any reuse of my/Wabi-Sabi team's assets is strictly forbidden. Contact me at smushanoob#4556 or the discord server if you have questions about the mod.
  4. FAR OUT RED SKIES - Red Skies was going to be a standalone mod until the idea of FO came around, the name FO may not stay though. Red Skies takes place in the Luhman 16 system, BUT KERBALIZED. For a while now I have been working on a mod centered around a brown dwarf star which is a star just below the mass limit for hydrogen fusion, so its basically a really hot gas giant. I do have two other mod ideas in mind but wanted to get this one done with first as its been an idea for a longgggg time now. (fyi one of the two mod idea besides this, I have is already began working on) SYSTEM CHART (NOT TO SCALE) INSTALLATION GUIDE: for download simply insert the files within the GameData folder into Kerbal Space Program's GameData. PREREQUISITES: KOPERNICUS RELEASE IN idk yet DOWNLOAD LINK: none yet Follow the post to see when it comes out
  5. i know about galaxys unbound but are there ane others?
  6. [KSP 1.8.1-1.11.X] (V0.4.1) Interstellar Technologies [Antimatter Catalyzed Fusion Engine Powered Interstellar Spacecraft - Kepler] An Interstellar Propulsion System mod, made by Kepler- At long last, after months of hard work practicing modeling, and after finally unlocking the secrets to textures, The mod is finally released. This parts pack will be used to expand from the mod Kerbal Space Program Interstellar Extended. Those parts are extremely imbalanced with going around the stock system. The engines are made off the base of the KSPI-E engines' statistics, [DEPENDENCIES] All of the required mods for Interstellar Technologies to function properly is now in the main mod folder. Note that the KSPI-E folder is stripped of some of it's parts, due to complaints of complexity of KSPI-E. [RECOMMENDATIONS] Those are recommendations to download to play with the mod. They are NOT required. - Far Future Technologies - TUFX - MEV Heavy Industries - Galaxies Unbound - A Stellar Odyssey - Interstellar Extended (The whole pack in order to get all the parts) - Near Future Mods by Nertea - Singularity (For Galaxies Unbound) The parts pack will be updated quickly, releases will be *quick*. I will be available in the KSPI-E discord server and the Galaxies Unbound discord server, please @ Kepler (No spacing) to make suggestions for future changes. Special thanks to @Cyne for helping me with learning to texture models. [Some of the Parts include...] - Daedalus Inertial Confinement Fusion Drive (v.0.1.0) - Antimatter Catalyzed Fusion Drive (v.0.1.0) - Kugelblitz Drive (Black hole drive) (v.0.1.0) - Laser Core Antimatter Drive (v0.1.0) - Multi Mode Interstellar Afterburning fusion drive (v0.1.1) - Multi Mode SSTO Fusion Engine (v0.1.6) - TRIGA Core Static/Pulsed Trimodal Nuclear Thermal Rocket (0.1.7) - "Coaxial" SSTO Fusion Engine (0.1.7) And so much more as the mod updates! [SCREENSHOTS] [DOWNLOAD] Primary (SpaceDock): https://spacedock.info/mod/2674/Interstellar Technologies - A KSPI-E Expansion For Additional Bugfixes and all (Probably mostly for science mode and that) please contact me through Discord through the KSPI-E or the GU discord server. The mod uses the CC BY-NC-SA License.
  7. Welcome to Lazarus: Awakenings. A whole new stellar neighborhood with a dark secret. Delayed until further notice
  8. Greetings everyone! It's been quite a long time since I was last actively part of this community and game. For those that remember me, I was once one of the Community Managers alongside CaptSkunky way back in the day. A lot of things have changed in my life, including the fact I go by Ciara now (and can't seem to update my display name on the forums) but after a very long time away I'm back! Not only am I back, but I've been inspired by StarCrusher's Galaxies Unbound Project to attempt not only learning how to mod, but undertaking a massive planet mod pack. I'd like to share this journey with you including my workflow, concepts, and successes and failures. So, please come along for the ride and maybe in the next few months I'll have something I can be proud of contributing to the community along with all these amazing and talented authors. Workflow Concept Artist Controlled Procedural Content Generation The concept of Artist Controlled PCG is one that exists in multiple mainline space projects of note. The primary concept is that an artist will use a tool to procedrually generate a planet or terrain and then utalize the output of that tool as a "Canvas" to work off of using said Canvas as a foundation to contorl the following, Atmospheric Color Points of Interest Specific Terrain Features Scatter and Ground Clutter Control Color Palette Main Goals and Features * Utalize a Procedural Star System Generation System to use as a staging point to launch pad off from. * Utalize a Procedural and Fractal Based Terrain Generation Method to make truly unique planets generating 8bit greyscale height maps procedrually * Take Real world Orbital Data and Information Generated by the tools in order to create the proper scaled versions in a Kerbol Stock-a-like manner. Test Map - Low Quality / Low Reolution Step 1 - Procedurally Generated Height Map Step 2 - Lightness (HSL) Color Desaturation Step 3 - Color Inversion Step 4 - Color Correction Obvioulsy this height map wont work, it's just a test of the process that I'm going to attempt to see if I can quickly (a few days or so) generate a height map, normal map, and color map, and with the tools I have work on tweaking the outputs to create unique worlds that are procedurally generated but the final outcome is artist controlled. I'll be running some tests tonight and tommorrow and I hope to have test worlds in game to showcase then. See ya soon! -Ciara (Formerly DR) Quick Color Map Test (The Color isn't final but I wanted to see how it would look.) Tool Used: Wilbur + GIMP Procedures Used: Percentage Noise & 1st Pass Erosion Test (Yes I know the edges are way to sharp, just testing and learning tools.)
  9. Project Starshot: Interstellar Frontiers-An epic adventure ft. Galaxies Unbound The title is pretty much self-explanatory. The objective of this is to launch huge interstellar ships to some star systems in Galaxies Unbound without my computer crashing. The current star systems which i plan to explore are (the Galaxies Unbound kerbalized equivalents of): Alpha Centauri, Epsilon Eridani, Luhman 16 and Tau Ceti (not necessarily in that order). I will try to do everything at least semi-realistically in sandbox mode, which means no fancy ftl warp drives or other technologies that are -too- advanced but with unlimited funds. Note: this is mostly done for cinematic purposes, so there will -some- .cfg file editing but stuff like isp or mass are still kept at a realistic scale. Here is my modlist: (thank you to all the modders who have all put so much work into making them). BTW i will be putting some references from random scifi works, you can post it in the chat if you spotted one. I will try to make weekly updates and posts for this mission report. Note: this is my first time making a mission report and if you have any suggestions fell free to post them here. Epic music to listen to while you read this: Immortal by Thomas Bergersen Final Frontier by Thomas Bergersen Victory by Two Steps From Hell Star Sky by Two Steps From Hell Part One: Nova Kerbani Alpha Centauri Nova Kerbani, is the Solar System Kerbol system's closest neighbouring star. Even at the dawn of the space age, kerbals have dreamed to be able to travel to and explore other stars. In the last few decades, Nova Kerbani has gained extensive public interest with the discovery of multiple exoplanets with at least one that is earth-sized and habitable by the Kerbal Astronomical Society and multiple mission designs were studied or drafted, including Kerbani Dreams' Project Kaedalus and the OPA's LDSS Nauvoo . But it is only within the last few years or so with the development of advanced fusion and antimatter technologies has such a mission to explore Nova Kerbani became possible. Thus, Project Starshot was born. Chapter One: Getting Ready 15/04/2075 First Launch of the Project Starshot Experimental VSSTO Shuttle (x-VSSTO) Mission: Starshot 1 The Project Starshot mission design called for an SSTO dropship that could be used to land on and take off from an exoplanet up to 110% of earth's gravity, with or without an atmosphere. The contractors at Space Kerbalization Technologies thus designed the Starshot VSSTO (official name to be designated, but nicknamed razorback by the kerbonauts) which was a heavily modified single stage MAV from the Ares Program with chemical rockets and a fusion aerospike bolted on it. Today's mission is the first launch of the Starshot VSSTO and it will conduct a simple mission of going to orbit and returning without killing any of the crew. (Here at Space Kerbalization Tech, the safety of our kerbonauts are our top priority, which is why our first flight of an unproven technology will be crewed) Crew: Pilot-Jeb Kerman On board repair guy Engineer-Bill Kerman "We are go for launch in T-minus 5, 4, 3, ignition sequence start, 2, 1. Liftoff, we have liftoff!" At the Kerbal Space Center, these familiar words were spoken once again. However, this time it signified the dawn of a new era, as this was the first flight of Project Starshot. The vehicle shot upwards at more that 8 g, airframe groaning under the immense stress. "Mission Control, Jeb here. You have successfully created a kerbal pancake maker." Soon, the high thrust chemical rockets cut off and the g-force dropped down to a 'gentle' 3g. The vehicle continued to accelerate upwards using it's fusion aerospike, punching through the cloud layer at supersonic speeds. After the desired apoapsis was reached, the main engine cut off and coasted. A few minuets later, the engine lit once again for thew circularization burn. "Kerbin, we have orbit" After a few maneuvers, the spacecraft rendezvoused with the Venturestar class Interstellar Vehicle Hermes (ISV 001), kerbalkind's first manned interstellar vehicle, still under construction at Tycho Station. And so Starshot 1's objectives were completed, and it was time for Jeb and Bill to return home. A few minuets later, the ship made a propulsive landing and touched down on the droneship Just Read The Instructions and Starshot 1 has been marked as a complete success. (sorry for the small images as imgur is banned in my country so i had to use something else but for some reason it just absolutely refused to make the pics bigger) Coming Soon-Chapter 2: Project Starshot and the ISV Hermes
  10. Grond's Micrometeorite Shield Mod A mod that adds medium sized to extremely large micrometeorite shields for big interplanetary or interstellar ships. Currently there are two shield sizes, 10 meter shield with a 2.5 meter attachment, and a 50 meter shield, 3.75 meter attachment, and a pretty powerful antenna. Download: SpaceDock It is also available on CKAN! Dependencies: Community Tech Tree Recommended: Near Future Construction (heavily recommend) Near Future Propulsion Near Future Electrical (this one as well) Far Future Technologies Restock Restock+ Changelog: 1.1 - Added a 50m shield that doubles as a long range antenna, also fixed the file structure so it's not horrible; 1.1.1 - Quick MM patch to make the mod "technically" work without CTT, but I wouldn't recommend it because it makes all the shields cost the same amount of science; Licensing: All code and cfgs are distributed under the MIT License All art assets (textures, models, animations) are distributed under an All Rights Reserved License.
  11. Hello all! I have just completed building the ship Hail Mary from Mr. Weir's latest novel. Now, obviously there are some inaccuracies, one of the most glaring of which I will detail below. (!SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!) The ship in the novel was powered by an alien micro-organism called Astrophage, emitting infrared light at the 25.984 micron frequency. To simulate this I have simply included a transmission module from KSP's interstellar extended mod (henceforth referred to as KSP I-E) in my engine module which was incorporated in the config file of one of their lasers. Then, I added in a new resource labeled "Astrophage", with the approximate density of a cell (even more spoilers; in Weir's book a huge panspermia event occurred at Tau Ceti which means that all living organisms have the same rough properties and hence, same structures.) I then incorporated this new resource into the fuel tanks provided by KSP I-E, and voila! I now added the fuel tanks to fit the correct volume as specified by Weir. Except... not really. For some reason the fuel tanks only hold about 900 tons of fuel as opposed to the 2,000 they should. Despite following Weir's details as closely as I could ("largest diameter they could launch was about 4 meters... three fuel tanks side by side... estimate they take up about 75 percent of the ship's volume), I find that Astrophage has to be either too dense to be a reasonable cell or, more likely, I have messed the proportions up. With all that ranting out of the way, I will below post Mr. Weir's Hail Mary specifications as opposed to my vessel. Weir's ship specifications: Dry mass 100 tons, wet mass 2100 tons, delta-v 0.92c (acceleration to and deceleration from), 3 crew, induced comas, "a few months" of food supplies, 125m^3 internal habitable volume, ~500m^3 total volume My adaptation's specifications: Dry mass 104 tons, wet mass 1012 tons, delta-v not yet measured accurately due to time, DeepFreeze chambers (which Weir unfortunately explicitly said DO NOT EXIST on his ship.. grr.. are there any other mods that can simulate reduced consumption of resources while not eliminating it completely?), 70m^3 internal volume, 7 months of air and ~4 months of food/water for 3 crew. More details to follow on the layout shortly. Thank you all for your time reading this, and I welcome any feedback or input from any fellow readers to try to improve the design replication!
  12. In the recent KSP 2 video Interstellar Travel, one of the developers mentions how each star in the sky is simulated. The skybox in the pre-alpha footage looks absolutely stunning with hundreds of shimmering stars and nebula. This poses a few questions: Does the skybox change as you travel between star systems? If so, does the skybox slowly switch to another, or do the stars themselves actually move? Is it technically possible to fly to every star in the sky (even if there is no solar system associated with it? I hope the first two questions are true. It would be so cool to see constellations from the Kerbolar System morph into new ones as you travel to far-off worlds. Green background (Kerbolar System) Red/brown background (unknown system)
  13. Akin to SpaceEngine, KSP2 procedurally generating star systems? (If the comment made on KSP Episode 5: Interstellar Travel is true, this seems the most physically plausible) Thoughts?
  14. Hello everyone! This forum thread is what I'll use in posting my pictures and what happens on my next interstellar missions Hope you like it! For the first chapter, the objectives are: Travel to two targeted stars Observe and collect science
  15. The Challenge: Plant a flag on this planet, Proxima Centauri! Its the nearest real possibly habitable planet located near Alpha Centauri, about 4 lightyears distance which is made accessible by Alternatively use Centauri Dreams Updated to: https://www.dropbox.com/s/spyd3qnc6ppnocn/CentauriDreams.zip?dl=0 Although Alpha Centauri is our closest neirbour, traveling 4 light years though the interstellar medium might be further than you think The main constraint would be that FTL drives are not allowed, but you are allowed to use any slower than light (STL) engine from KSPI Extended, Far Future or Photon Sailor If you want to chat about the Interstellar challange you can do it at our KSP Interstellar Discord Server like KSPI-E Daedalus engine and/or magnetic nozzle. Here is an simple example : Here is a more advanced example For more info see: The alternative, travel by photon sail Preferred method of proof would be video. The preferred method of win is to be the fastest, but style also plays a large role Entry Player Proof Duration Max Speed Launch Mass Dry Mass Wet Mass Part count Cost DeltaV 3-1-2017 @Nansuchao youtube 690 y ? 61.152 t 129 t 439 t 161 41.963.000 ? 5-3-2017 @superdavekerman imgur 299 y 330d 1.027.340 m/s 9.068 t 129 108 t 129 13.361.780 2,767,705 3-4-2017 @proteasome imgur 69 y 91 d 4,164,000 m/s 4,123 t 68 4,123 t 68 1.236.987.000 0,165,752 9-12-2019 @pmborg youtube part 1, 2 ,3 26 y 23d 119,755,559 m/s 94.705 t 12,977 t 553,788 t 99 4,451,096,064 142 M 19-4-2021 @Zapataz youtube 17 y 149,000,000 m/s ? 59 t 80 t 25 11,543,300 ? 14-11-2021 @GenerallyCompetent imgur 13 y 0.783c 838,198 t 270,554 t 383,896 t 57 7,469,861 275 M unofficial entry: Slow Boats in style Another unofficial entry:
  16. NEW FORUM PAGE UP NOW Project Pile turns to Galaxy Mod 8 months ago, I set out to create an ambitious project known as Trilogy, to which I became very burnt out creating. As an escape from working on the same thing daily, I created Flamed Out, which became my first released mod. After that I began creating new projects and announcing them near daily. It began to get repetitive. Start a new project, cancel a project. Everything fell through. I took a break for a couple weeks. And in an attempt to streamline, I present to you; KIP Systems. My take on a GU style mod. *EXTREMELY EARLY WORK IN PROGRESS* Now, you may be wondering; Where did the name Lazarus come from? Many months of motivation getting less and less eventually caused me to quit modding for a while. I eventually came back with this mod, which is comparable to the story of Lazarus, a person who died and came back to life. "First Look"/Teaser: NEW TRAILER: The Roadmap https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gcio4zoCganeWupOl5CfWUquvX93POIsGKJL4FQ6Wpk/edit?usp=sharing Discord https://discord.gg/RB5WbrGVar
  17. Brief Deep Sky (a sci-fantasy, far future agency... mine) would like to test the muscle of any agency capable of producing interstellar class ships. The challenge: To gather at least 2 super-heavy asteroids in orbit of either the homeworld or whatever celestial body that your space program doesn't mind performing full industrial exploitation of. The asteroids are presumed to be rich with 1 or more rare resources that won't easily, or at all, be found in the surfaces of most planets. This challenge is of the sort "something for you to do and use for progression" and is not "a comparison of ships built with the same parts/performance" so you will find generous limits on part mods. In fact... this should simply be impossible to do without part mods. If you wish, you may emulate this as a contract in a career game with the following specs (as a baseline anyway. Tune them as you see fit): +1 million investment +/- 5 times the invest amount if you succeed or fail +/- 30 if you succeed or fail Mission Reporting Provide at least these details of the vessel(s) you use: Ship dry mass, wet mass, propellants, launch cost. Mission start time, elapsed time, per asteroid, and total mission time. If you use one ship for all asteroids, then idle time between pursuing asteroids counts. Less time is better. Mass of each asteroid at the time of capture; Mass after you used out whatever necessary resource(s) to fuel your ship and parked the asteroid. Screenshots or video highly recommened but not required. (Honesty is key.) Mission Unique Bonus Participation (Anyone can get this) Big Daddy ISRU Program (A): Use the Ore to produce propellants other than <any stock resource> or LqdHydrogen. Big Daddy ISRU Program (B): Use resources other than Ore to produce your propellants. (You must keep all the Ore. The rest of your space program will find use for it.) Champion (Only one can get this) We run on efficiency!: Use the least average asteroid resource out of all the space programs. (Does not count if you rely heavily on gravity assists. We want those asteroids within the next decade at most, not next century.) No order is too tall: Bring the most asteroids. Rules You must be using a planet pack that makes asteroids wider and heavier. Known packs allowed: Galaxies Unbound JNSQ Whirligig World RSS HyperEdit, VesselMover and other obvious cheat tools not allowed, obviously. No restriction on part mods (except for propulsion systems). Propulsion system mods allowed: KSPI-E OPT Continued (for its Dark Drive) Far Future Technologies (especially with "Calvin's patch" or equivalent, that buffs their Isp's so that they're properly interstellar grade) Karbonite Plus (for Karborundum) MEV Heavy Industries Interstellar Technologies Propulsion mods and techniques disallowed: Wormholes, Jump gates or (other) FTL tech Anything resembling EM Drive, GN Drive, or other self-fueling/infinitely fueled engine Anything that causes engines to be infinitely fueled (I know of mods that contain "fuel cells" and "generators" that produce fuel, Ore or EelectricCharge for practically no cost) Any obviously extremely imbalanced or "sandbox fun" propulsion mod Goals / Points +1 for basic finish +3 if you bring a 3rd asteroid +2 for each asteroid (after 3) that you bring +1 if the target body has > 1g +1 if the target body has > 2g +5 if you use one ship and don't do parallel missions Un-scaled Asteroids If you would like to attempt this challenge without the asteroid sizing then the requirements are as follows: You must bring home 3 E-sized asteroids. Goal changes: +3 if you bring home 5 asteroids +1 for each asteroid (after 5) that you bring
  18. Technology has brought the kerbals far, but has not brought them a new home. Instead, it has destroyed their home, and forced all kerbals to move onto a singular habitation ring. After thoroughly looking through old data, they reluctantly chose Dominion, a dead planet in a dead star system, to be their new settlement. Upon landing it was immediately noted that the atmospheric oxygen levels were perfect for Kerbal life. Dominion reached a population higher than Kerbin's and every previous colony combined. It was a golden age for kerbals, but all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately death is a repeating trend in this strange system. What is Trilogy? System concept art (Original concept map only) Planets: Credits: @Caps Lock - Helped with configs and taught me almost everything I know @WarriorSabe - Helped with ring texturing and config nodes @DeltaDizzy - Helped with minor changes (atmosphereFromGround) @Hpl - Helped with a number of minor changes and fixes @RJVB09 - Shared PQS mods to the Kopernicus server for me to use @Maple Kerman - Helped with a number of minor changes and fixes @Livaco - Helped with config reformatting and a number of minor changes and fixes (Seriously, Livaco if you're reading this you are an actual god) @BobTheKerbal - Gaseous Giganticus retextures and cloud textures Other people in the Kopernicus server helped too! Discord for development updates: https://discord.gg/Q6bpBARpXp This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0)
  19. My second greatest creation to date. Welcome to Flamed Out. What is Flamed Out? What planets does this add? Screenshots Future plans Known bugs REQUIRES: Kopernicus: KopernicusExpansion: EVE (WORK IN PROGRESS, MAY BE BUGGY FOR RELEASE 1.0): Singularity: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
  20. The result of overworking myself. Heliocentric Presents: Flamed Out. What is flamed out? What planets does this add? Screenshots When will it be released? Discord servers to join for updates: https://discord.gg/Q6bpBARpXp (Personal modding server) https://discordapp.com/invite/XmVp23s (Kopernicus server, check #helio-mods for frequent updates)
  21. This post cam way before KSP2. But. So we can prepare a challenge at first day KSP2 releases. This challenge will be to land on every planet and moon in KSP2. That means you have to visit every celestial body in one mission. This means you will need a ship capable of going to every celestial body in one mission. Rules: You can use multiple ships attached to a mothership. You can refuel. All of the ships or ship has to made at once. No multiple launches from the KERBOL SYSTEM. You have to place a flag on each planet or moon. (Expect Gas Giants) No mods. Try to do stock KSP2. Pictures, craft downloads, videos, and etc. (Evidence) No cheats. Science is allowed. Rovers are allowed to maximize science. Interactions with ships in Interstellar space is allowed. Interactions with colonies and other things outside of KERBOL SYSTEM is allowed. Contestents: Everyone is allowed to play and take part. In case of Cheating If someone think someone is cheating evidence from both sides to support their claim will be needed. Whoever provides the most convincing evidence will decided the fate of the challenge run. No Spam. Thank you and please enjoy this challenge. -Dr. Kerbal
  22. This is the most recent post on ToughSF: http://toughsf.blogspot.com/2020/11/nuclear-photon-rockets-flashlights-to.html Nuclear Photon Rockets: Flashlights to the Stars In this post, we will have a look at the concept of using a nuclear photon rocket for interstellar travel. They are an old concept that should theoretically be the ultimate form of relativistic propulsion. However, today they are unknown or unpopular. Why might that be the case? The image above is by David A. Hardy. The interstellar challenge The Daedalus starship. Interstellar travel is on a completely different level than interplanetary travel. The distances involved are orders of magnitudes greater. The shortest distance between stars is measured in trillions of kilometres. To face such distances, high velocities are required. The closest stars. A robotic probe might not mind spending several centuries to reach a destination. A human crew would want the trip done in their lifetime. Taking longer than that means running into technical and ethical trouble. The closest star to our Sun is Alpha Centauri A, currently sitting 40 trillion kilometres away, or 4.2 light-years. It would take 4.2 years to reach it when travelling at the speed of light. If we want to complete the trip within 20 years, we would have to travel at 21% of the speed of light. We also want to slow down at the destination. This means that we need a way to accelerate up to 21% of the speed of light, and then slow down back to zero - the deltaV sum is 42% of the speed of light. So how do we go that fast? The Falcon 9's Merlin rocket engines. Rockets are the space propulsion system we are most experienced with. There are many ways to measure a rocket’s performance, but only some are relevant to interstellar travel. Thrust, for example, is much less important when the trip will take many years; taking one month to accelerate instead of ten months is no longer a significant factor. Instead, let’s focus on exhaust velocity. Using the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, we can work out the ratio between propellant and non-propellant masses of the rocket we are using. Mass Ratio = e^(DeltaV/Exhaust Velocity) DeltaV in m/s Exhaust Velocity in m/s A chemical rocket consuming oxygen and hydrogen propellants has an exhaust velocity of 4,500m/s. We find that for a chemical rocket to achieve a deltaV of 42% of the speed of light, we would need e^28000 kilograms of fuel for each kilogram of equipment, structure, engines and payload. That is a number that lies between 10^8428 and 10^13359. For comparison, the entire mass of the Universe is estimated to be 10^53 kg. Chemical rockets for relativistic travel are beyond impractical. The needle array of Enpulsion's IFM nano thruster. How about a rocket engine with a better exhaust velocity? Something like one of our most efficient ion thrusters? The Ultra-FEEP thruster that accelerates liquid indium to nearly 1,000 km/s is the best we can expect for now. It would still not be enough for relativistic velocities. To achieve a deltaV of 42% of the speed of light, we would need 6*10^55 kg of indium for each kilogram of dry mass. If you run the numbers yourself and lower the deltaV target, you would still find ridiculously high mass ratios being required. A deltaV target of just 2% of the speed of light, which would turn the trip to the nearest star an endeavour that spans about half a millennium, would still require a physics-breaking mass ratio of 10^579 from the chemical rocket, and a mass ratio of 453 from the Ultra-FEEP thruster. The lower value for the electric thruster seems much more reasonable, until you consider that indium is found at a concentration of 0.21 ppm in Earth’s crust. At our current output of 700 tons per year, a 1,000 ton dry mass craft would require at least seven centuries of indium production to fill its propellant tanks. To get away from these extreme figures, a logical decision would be to increase the exhaust velocity all the way to the maximum. The maximum is the speed of light. Photon Propulsion When your exhaust is light itself, the mass ratios required for relativistic velocities become decidedly modest. Light, more specifically photons, can be produced indefinitely ‘out of nothing’. In other words, if you heat up a surface, you can create a photon rocket that spontaneously produces and emits light without ‘running out’ of anything. All that is required is a power source. The more energetic the power source, the more photons that can be produced and the higher the photon rocket’s performance. The theory fits together neatly. The concept of using a nuclear reactor to heat up a surface so that it emits enough photons to produce appreciable thrust is at least 50 years old. Nuclear photon rockets could solve our problem of interstellar travel by harnessing the greatest sources of energy and utilizing the exhaust with the highest velocity. All the fuel they would ever need would be loaded up at departure, so they do not have to rely on the existence of any infrastructure at the destination or any assistance along the way. Perhaps they would have enough to return to us without having to refuel! However, ‘photon starships’ are not a popular idea today. They are not featured in NASA’s NIAC programs, nor are aerospace engineers dreaming up modern designs for them. What ‘catch’ has them relegated to relics of the past? Fission Photon Rocket A nuclear photon rocket from Boeing's PARSECS study. Let us start with the most familiar of nuclear energy sources: the fission reactor. A fission reaction produces about 80 TeraJoules for each kilogram of maximally enriched fuel. 95% of this energy is in the form of gamma rays or fission fragments; they can be blocked by a thick wall and converted into heat. About 5% leaks out in the form of neutrinos. This reduces the ‘useful’ energy density of fission fuel to 76 TJ/kg. In a typical reactor, the fuel is in solid form. Only a fraction of its potential 76 TJ/kg can be extracted in one fuel cycle. The products of fission, such as xenon-135 and samarium-149, remain trapped next to the fuel. These isotopes have a high neutron cross-section, which means that they trap and absorb the neutrons needed to sustain a fission reaction. Nuclear engineers consider these products to be ‘poisons’. If enough poisons accumulate in the fuel, the fission reaction cannot be sustained. The result is that a single fuel cycle achieves very low burnup of the fuel, which is the percentage of fissile fuel that has undergone fission. Typically, this is 1% to 5% of the total fuel load inside a reactor. On Earth, nuclear engineers deal with this problem by shutting down a reactor, extracting the slightly used fuel and sending it off for reprocessing. This involves removing the poisons, mixing in a small quantity of fresh fuel, and then returning it all to the reactor. A spaceship does not have the luxury of regularly halting its reactor while also lugging around a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility. Instead, we need to use a type of reactor that grants high burnup with no reprocessing necessary. The best option seems to be a gas-core nuclear reactor. In this high temperature design, the fuel and poisons are in a gas phase. It becomes easy to filter out the poisons as they are chemically very different from the fuel. We can have the fuel circulate within the core for as long as needed to achieve near 100% burnup. With the burnup problem solved, we can convert those 76 TJ/kg into heat. From a physics perspective, only about 0.77 grams of matter in a kilogram of fissile fuel becomes energy. This leaves us with 999.23 grams of waste after consuming the fuel. With no further use for it, we eject it to lighten the spacecraft. Imagine a nuclear starship designed specifically to make our next calculations easier. It consumes 1 kg of fuel per second. The average power output is 76 Terawatts. Thrust = 2 * Power/ Exhaust Velocity Thrust will be given in Newtons Power is in Watts Exhaust Velocity in m/s Those 76 Terawatts should result in 506.6 kiloNewtons of thrust. With a 95% efficient photon emitter, we gain a real thrust of 481.3 kN. After producing this thrust, we eject 999.25 grams of waste. Effective Exhaust Velocity = Thrust / Mass Rate Effective Exhaust Velocity will be given in m/s Thrust is in Newtons Mass Rate is in kg/s The ‘effective exhaust velocity’ based on this thrust and the amount of matter being ejected is actually 481.7 km/s. The critical point we make here is that while the thrust comes from photons travelling at the speed of light, exhaust velocity calculations must take into account all the masses being ejected. So what can a fission photon rocket do with an effective exhaust velocity of 481.7 km/s? It certainly cannot reach our desired deltaV. Achieving 42% of the speed of light would require a mass ratio of 10^113. Unless we have access to multiple Universes filled with highly enriched fissile fuel, this is impractical. Even with an extraordinary feat of engineering so that we could load a starship with 100 kg of nuclear fuel for each 1 kg of dry mass (and not have it immediately go critical), the achievable deltaV is only 2,218 km/s or 0.74% of the speed of light. Fusion Photon Rocket What if we used the better nuclear rocket: the fusion rocket? There are many different fusion reactions involving different fuels, but we are interested in those that provide the highest energy density. Proton-proton fusion provides a whopping 664 TJ/kg. However, it is very slow, taking thousands of years to complete, and it is not realistic to ever expect to take place outside of stellar cores. Next down the list is Deuterium-Helium3. About 353 TJ/kg is on tap. We won’t dive into the details of the various reactor designs that could be used, but suffice to say that near-complete burnup of fusion fuels is possible, and all the energy released can be converted into heat. If we compare the mass of the Deuterium and Helium 3 before fusing, with the mass of the helium and proton particles after fusion, we notice that 0.39% of the mass is missing. That is the percentage of mass converted into pure energy. It is a much greater percentage than nuclear fissions’ 0.077%. The list of particles involved in fusion reactions, with their exact masses. Let’s repeat the previous calculation for the effective exhaust velocity of a nuclear photon rocket. 1 kg/s of fusion fuels are consumed, for a power output of 353 TW. This produces 2,235.6 kN of thrust out of a 95% efficient emitter. We expel 996.1 grams per second of waste, so the effective exhaust velocity is 2,244.4 km/s. This is nearly five times than a fission photon rocket’s effective exhaust velocity. However, this is still not enough. Our desired deltaV of 42% of the speed of light comes at the cost of a mass ratio of 2.4*10^24. While we could gather enough galaxies together to fuel our fusion photon rocket, we want something more practical. The reality is that a plausible fusion photon rocket with a mass ratio of 100 would only have a deltaV of 10,335 km/s or 3.4% of the speed of light. Barely enough for a multi-century generation ship to cross the stars and certainly not enough for travel within a lifetime. Staging the fusion rocket will not help very much. Also notable is the fact that an effective exhaust velocity of 3.4% of the speed of light is actually lower than the exhaust velocity of direct drive fusion propulsion, where charged particles are directly released into space through a magnetic nozzle. DHe3 releases a 3.6 MeV helium ion and a 14.7 MeV proton. Their averaged velocity is 7% of the speed of light. A photon rocket is a very inefficient use of fusion energy. Antimatter Photon Rocket The ultimate fuel should give the ultimate performance. Nothing beats antimatter! There are many types of antimatter. There are antielectrons, antiprotons, antineutrons and their combined form, anti-atoms like antihydrogen. Antielectrons annihilate with regular electrons in a ‘clean’ annihilation reaction that produces high energy gamma rays and nothing else. They are however the hardest type to store. Antiprotons are much easier to store, especially in the form of frozen antihydrogen ice. The downside is that their annihilation is ‘messy’, as it releases a plethora of products. With solid shielding, enough of the energy of those multiple products can be absorbed and converted into heat. We set the efficiency at 85%. Each kilogram of antimatter contains a potential for 90,000 Terajoules of energy. It must be matched by another kilogram of regular matter, so the average energy density is halved to 45,000 TJ/kg. As we only capture 85% of that amount, the useful energy density is 38,250 TJ/kg. If we consume one kilogram of antimatter/matter mix per second, we would have a drive power of 38,250 TW. A realistic emitter would convert this into 242,250 kN of photon thrust. The effective exhaust velocity is 242,250 km/s or 81% of the speed of light. With such a high exhaust velocity, an antimatter photon rocket would be able to achieve the relativistic velocities we desire. A deltaV of 42% of the speed of light would only require a mass ratio of 1.68. That’s 0.68 kg of antimatter/matter mix for each 1 kg of rocket dry mass. We might even be able to go much faster with high mass ratios; travel times to the stars in single-digit years seems possible. However, antimatter is exceedingly difficult to collect or create. A mass ratio that seems acceptable for a conventional rocket would actually imply an unreasonable amount of antimatter. Existing accelerator facilities, if tasked with solely producing antimatter, would require about 3.6 ZettaJoules to produce 1 kilogram of antimatter. That’s 3,600,000,000 TeraJoules, equivalent to 286 times the total yield of all nuclear bombs today (1.25*10^19 J), or the total output of the United States’ electrical grid (1.5*10^19 J) for the next 240 years. If we were very serious about producing large quantities of antimatter, we could design a superbly optimized antimatter production facility, with very efficient antimatter capture mechanisms. Production efficiency can be increased to 0.025%. This means that 1 kg of antimatter would require ‘only’ 360,000 TJ to manufacture. An antimatter photon starship would ‘just’ need the combined output of all humanity (8*10^19 J/yr) for the next couple of millennia to fill it up. An antimatter production facility. In practice, the awesome performance of antimatter propulsion would be reserved for civilizations higher up the Kardashev Scale. Verdict and Consequences All the calculations so far have assumed nearly perfect use of the energy released by fission, fusion or antimatter reactions. We have also ignored the massive complications that arise from trying to handle the power of those reactions. Despite this best case scenario, nuclear photon rockets do not seem to be up to the task of rapid interstellar travel. Fission and fusion power are just not energy dense enough. Antimatter is far too difficult to produce in huge quantities. The ‘catch’ is that physics is not kind to photon propulsion. For this reason, this sort of starship will remain a bottom-drawer concept for the foreseeable future. What effect does that conclusion have? If we want to use rockets, we must accept that interstellar travel will be slow. Other techniques or technologies have to be employed to make crossings that last centuries. Cryogenic hibernation, life extension or digitizing the mind can enable the original crew to survive that long; generation ships or embryo seeding can allow another group of people to arrive at the destination. Robert L. Forward's Laser-propelled lightsails. If we instead want interstellar travel done quickly, we cannot rely on rockets. All the popular methods for interstellar travel depend on non-rocket propulsion, such as Robert L. Forward’s massive laser-propelled sails or the ‘bomb-tracks’ discussed in a previous post. The energy cost of relativistic travel is no longer derived from a fuel carried onboard a starship, but from an external source. This external source takes the form of large infrastructure projects and preparations that require many years to complete; we trade away the flexibility and autonomy of rockets to gain huge speed, efficiency and cost advantages. A consequence of non-rocket propulsion is that interstellar travel cannot be a whimsical affair. It has to be planned a long time in advance (which has implications for the stability of the civilization organizing it all) and it would be evident to all observers at the departure and destination what is going on. No ‘secret’ missions to other stars! Of course, a scifi writer might not like the sound of that. Their options lie in more exotic types of rockets, more advanced civilizations or speculative science. Examples of exotic rockets include a starship powered by a rotating black hole, where matter is converted into energy at 42% efficiency (an effective exhaust velocity of up to 252,000 km/s or 84% of the speed of light) or a Ram-Augmented Interstellar Ramjet, where the thin interstellar medium is added to the exhaust of a fusion reactor for a greatly improved effective exhaust velocity. More advanced civilizations handle enough energy to be able to produce large quantities of antimatter, overcoming the main difficulty with this fantastic fuel. Speculative science opens up the possibility of using ‘quark nuggets’ to rapidly and easily create antimatter, as well as wormholes and Alcubierre warp drives. Though, we must warn you, that these different options might be more troublesome than photon rockets!
  23. So I was thinking about how the devs were going to approach the problem of new solar systems. As we all know by now, new solar systems are a major part of KSP2. It is the main reason behind the new parts and even the game. So how are the devs going to handle new solar systems? I came up with two ideas (feel free to suggest more): 1. Hand crafted planets If you are like me, then this is the first idea you had when you heard the words "interstellar travel". But this would be insanely limiting. First the devs would have to make a sun, planet, any moons and all the other planets and extra bits. But inspiration flags and the work that they are doing to make the stock planets look amazing can't be easy. Also KSP is a game of discovery and imagination. While KSP has all the stock planets named specific names, if you have hundreds of exoplanets, you will run out of names, and the community will want different names. If a planet is hand crafted, the devs will want to make the name themselves. 2. Randomly generated planets After hearing about No Man Sky and all the problems with that, I noticed something: I immediately realized how awesome KSP2 would be if the exoplanets were procedurally generated! You could fly around to the new system, name all the planets with cool names that you came up with (this is the planet of MOAR BOOSTERS in the Jebolar system), and you would be the only person with those planets. This would also take a huge load off the developers as they could just set this up and let people play. They could put in special features like canyons and caves, and let the game engine do the rest. This would encourage you to do interstellar travel, as no one has ever set foot on that planet. With the stock planets, lots of people have landed on Eeloo, and you can just look up a picture of what it looks like. But you would be discovering new landscapes! Many modern video games do this. Minecraft is the obvious one, World of Warcraft, No Man Sky, <--- Example of Procedurally generated terrain So in conclusion: Hand Crafted Planets Pros- More of a Kerbolar system feel Greater possibility of Easter Eggs and cool terrain More manageable amount Cons- Amount of dev time needed Inspiration may flag, resulting in boring planets/names Less exoplanets/solar systems Procedurally generated planets Pros - Much more exoplanets The ability to name them More terrain to explore Cons - Less of a 'homemade' feel that the stock planets have More CPU intensive (if you have a hundred planets) Less of a connect with fellow KSP2 players (its more difficult to make a post about your visit to JebBillBobVal if no-one else has that planet)
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