KerikBalm

Worried about KSP magic tech, unrealistic orbital mechanics, and lol-explosions

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12 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

I don't care if its the end of the tech tree, or you need to mine gas giants... its OP magic tech that is acting like an anti-matter rocket in its power output.

The extreme acceleration is not needed to go interstellar. The OP'd neess of this drive means that you can easily ship helium and hydrogen (its likely hydrogen and Helium3 fusion). I don't know why you say "even H-4". H4 doesn't exist. He-4 exists, and its what you'll get on a terrestrial planet. H-3 is tritium, and is also relatively easy to get on a terrestrial planet (split lithium, or run hydrogen through a nuclear reactor).

ICF drives that can do 0.01g brachistichrone trajectories are fine. ICF drives doing 7 Gs are magic tech

My own thought is that a "magic drive" might be included simply for gameplay reasons.  The main reason I see is to allow players to interact with and continue to play with all the elements of the far-flung interplanetary and/or interstellar civilization that KSP2 allows them to build.

Think about an OPM game.  Once you launch your 1st OPM mission, OPM becomes your ONLY game.,  You have to cease all operations from Jool inwards because travel time to most of the OPM planets is usually measured in decades, at least if you want to stop when you get there.  All the real time you spend playing the game at 1:1 or even 1:1000 warp mucking around with missions at the "inner planets" is real time during which your OPM missions make no noticeable progress.  Do enough of that and your OPM missions will never arrive before the next update breaks the game.  So the only way to actually get to the OPM planets is to warp past years, even decades, in 1 go, which means you can't be doing anything elsewhere.

This situation is a non-starter for a game whose stated purpose is "building a civilization".  What's the point of building anything if you have to ignore it completely while covering the huge distances involved?  The way to solve this problem is to reduce travel times significantly.  If interstellar trips only take as long as a trip to Jool, then no problem.  It's totally possible to have a large game going on elsewhere in the system while a Jool expedition en route.  The trip to Jool is short enough to make good progress during warps between Kerbin and Duna.  So, how do you shorten travel times this much without FTL drive?  By having engines that use high, continuous thrust, which can thrust in the background while you play with your other toys. 

That', to me, is why KSP2 has "magic engines".  But hey, the whole idea of massively colonizing other planets, and have them be able to interact as a cohesive evil space empire civilization, is itself just as magic as fairy castles.  If you accept the magic fairy castles, what's the harm in accepting a magic unicorn to fly between them? :D 

 

 

Edited by Geschosskopf

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Reading "metallic hydrogen" in the dev interviews soured me somewhat as well. The whole metallic hydrogen saga reminds me too much of the constant flow of MSM articles about "new battery technology that promises 100x the capacity" or "carbon nanotubes demonstrated to have the most XYZ property of any material yet"! As far as I know (and I am not an expert), metallic hydrogen is presently in a similar situation to cold fusion, theoretically a possibility, and with some research outfits having claims to have recorded some result that is consistent with it, but nothing has yet stood up to significant scrutiny. It is not just a matter of doing the engineering to make it into a rocket engine.

I have some faith that the game designers will come to the conclusion that MH is too much like speculative magic and won't end up in the released game.

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I fear a Kerbstein drive would make most engines obsolete: if there is an engine with high isp, high thrust, good atmospheric performance and that it's easy to use (ie, no KSPI-E power relays or fision-fusion-nozzle combos), why would you bother to use any other engine?

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48 minutes ago, juanml82 said:

I fear a Kerbstein drive would make most engines obsolete: if there is an engine with high isp, high thrust, good atmospheric performance and that it's easy to use (ie, no KSPI-E power relays or fision-fusion-nozzle combos), why would you bother to use any other engine?

The vector, mammoth and mastadon already make most engines in KSP obsolete; it's pretty hard to balance end-game tech in any game. Let alone in a game where tech defines what you can do at any given time. 

As for the OP; Metallic Hydrogen engines did really throw me for a loop. We have no idea if it can even be metastable; therefore we have no idea what would be required to return it to gasous form. So any performance figures are barely estimates; since they're estimates derived from estimates of the properties of a completely unknown material. As for the more exotic stuff; aren't they mostly just fusion torches? We know fusion works; performance would just be scaled to work within the kerbin sized universe.

But tbh i'm not making any calls (Other than Metallic Hydrogen is BS) before launch. 

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19 minutes ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

The vector, mammoth and mastadon already make most engines in KSP obsolete; it's pretty hard to balance end-game tech in any game. Let alone in a game where tech defines what you can do at any given time. 

It depends on what you need the engine for.  I wouldn't use any of these engines for a relay satellite or expendable probe lander ;)  And even for the purposes for which these engines were designed, it's often cheaper to use older engines unless you REALLY need the performance advantages of the higher-tech engines.

 

19 minutes ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

As for the OP; Metallic Hydrogen engines did really throw me for a loop. We have no idea if it can even be metastable; therefore we have no idea what would be required to return it to gasous form. So any performance figures are barely estimates; since they're estimates derived from estimates of the properties of a completely unknown material. As for the more exotic stuff; aren't they mostly just fusion torches? We know fusion works; performance would just be scaled to work within the kerbin sized universe.

But tbh i'm not making any calls (Other than Metallic Hydrogen is BS) before launch. 

I dunno.,  Some Frenchmen claim to have finally created metallic hydrogen just a couple months ago (the KSP2 dev even mentioned this in an interview).  That's been claimed before but this time around there's reason to take the claim more seriously.  So I wouldn't just discard the whole concept out of hand.

https://www.sciencealert.com/french-scientists-believe-they-have-created-metallic-hydrogen

This claim, of course, has yet to be verified.  I well remember the whole "cold fusion" fiasco :D  However, just because we might not have made the stuff yet doesn't mean we can't deduce most of its properties.  Unlike "cold fusion", the existence of metallic hydrogen itself is irrefutable from the known laws of physics, at least according to those familiar with such things:  Ergo, it's possible to make it.  And those same laws tell us what it's like.

Really, knowing the properties of metallic hydrogen far in advance of holding some in your hand is no different from knowing the internal workings of stars.  Nobody's ever been inside a star to see for themselves but we know the laws of physics that define how they work, and their observed behavior all through their lives tells us our suppositions about their guts are valid.

So yeah, metallic hydrogen might only just now be coming within the range of something we can make with current technology, but it's a real thing.  And IF, IF, IF it works out as expected and can be economically produced in the industrial quantities required for spaceflight, then metallic hydrogen rockets are going to be a thing.

I have a much harder time imagining "torch ships" ever being a thing than I do metallic hydrogen engines.  However, I'll accept them as a necessary gameplay mechanic to allow having major colonies all over space.  Such colonies themselves are even less realistic but they're FUN, a nice escape from the tyrannies of reality.

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2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

That', to me, is why KSP2 has "magic engines".  But hey, the whole idea of massively colonizing other planets, and have them be able to interact as a cohesive evil space empire civilization, is itself just as magic as fairy castles.  If you accept the magic fairy castles, what's the harm in accepting a magic unicorn to fly between them? :D 

 

 

That is exactly the issue: any interstellar colonization would be basically all but impossible using technology we can reasonable extrapolate from existing science. The developers basically have to invent magic science to make interstellar flight reasonable. From the interviews, the developers want to keep the essential features: in-orbit construction; very long travel time relative to inter-system travel; ships are basically on a one-way mission, so they must bring enough supplies for a whole colony. 

In a way, the magic tech is more realistic than anything. Interstellar flight is science fiction unless we get a science fiction level technology breakthrough.

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14 minutes ago, DrRansom said:

That is exactly the issue: any interstellar colonization would be basically all but impossible using technology we can reasonable extrapolate from existing science. The developers basically have to invent magic science to make interstellar flight reasonable. From the interviews, the developers want to keep the essential features: in-orbit construction; very long travel time relative to inter-system travel; ships are basically on a one-way mission, so they must bring enough supplies for a whole colony. 

In a way, the magic tech is more realistic than anything. Interstellar flight is science fiction unless we get a science fiction level technology breakthrough.

Stock KSP 1 had all the technology needed for interstellar colonization. The period key combined with Kerbol never going supernova. No magic drives required.

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1 hour ago, Geschosskopf said:

It depends on what you need the engine for.  I wouldn't use any of these engines for a relay satellite or expendable probe lander ;)  And even for the purposes for which these engines were designed, it's often cheaper to use older engines unless you REALLY need the performance advantages of the higher-tech engines.

 

I dunno.,  Some Frenchmen claim to have finally created metallic hydrogen just a couple months ago (the KSP2 dev even mentioned this in an interview).  That's been claimed before but this time around there's reason to take the claim more seriously.  So I wouldn't just discard the whole concept out of hand.

https://www.sciencealert.com/french-scientists-believe-they-have-created-metallic-hydrogen

This claim, of course, has yet to be verified.  I well remember the whole "cold fusion" fiasco :D  However, just because we might not have made the stuff yet doesn't mean we can't deduce most of its properties.  Unlike "cold fusion", the existence of metallic hydrogen itself is irrefutable from the known laws of physics, at least according to those familiar with such things:  Ergo, it's possible to make it.  And those same laws tell us what it's like.

Really, knowing the properties of metallic hydrogen far in advance of holding some in your hand is no different from knowing the internal workings of stars.  Nobody's ever been inside a star to see for themselves but we know the laws of physics that define how they work, and their observed behavior all through their lives tells us our suppositions about their guts are valid.

So yeah, metallic hydrogen might only just now be coming within the range of something we can make with current technology, but it's a real thing.  And IF, IF, IF it works out as expected and can be economically produced in the industrial quantities required for spaceflight, then metallic hydrogen rockets are going to be a thing.

I have a much harder time imagining "torch ships" ever being a thing than I do metallic hydrogen engines.  However, I'll accept them as a necessary gameplay mechanic to allow having major colonies all over space.  Such colonies themselves are even less realistic but they're FUN, a nice escape from the tyrannies of reality.

I don't think metallic hydrogen itself is nonexistent; like you said it's predicted by the same physics we use in astronomy and KSP. My main concern is that because we haven't been able to consistently produce it in the lab and experiment with it there's a massive margin for error on any estimates.  And from a design perspective makes me curious about why it was implemented at all; especially since Orion drives and fusion are confirmed and don't suffer from these issues.

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The thing is for interstellar journeys you don't need a sci fi drive.  There's a lot of real world drives entirely able to get you up to significant fractions of the speed of light.  The Orion drive is one of them with very high ISP and TWR which is capable of interstellar trips in it's more high end variants.  And rreal proposed fusion drives are also able to do the job like the Daedalus we see in the trailer.  You don't need an Epstein drive to go interstellar or even have a torch ship.  Another very kerbal option is the Nuclear Salt Water Rocket which is just a continuously detonating orion drive giving massive TWR and ISP as well allowing you to make real life torch ships.

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1 hour ago, TheFrizz said:

Stock KSP 1 had all the technology needed for interstellar colonization. The period key combined with Kerbol never going supernova. No magic drives required.

And this also realistically puts the interstellar ship into what is effectively its own universe.  There's no way there can be any meaningful contact between the homeworld and the colony until UFO tech comes along.  Thus, suspending operations at the homeworld and only playing the interstellar ship would not be a problem from a realism standpoint, as the 2 would never have anything more to do with each other.  I'm sure you'll be able to play the game that way if desired :) 

 

1 hour ago, DrRansom said:

That is exactly the issue: any interstellar colonization would be basically all but impossible using technology we can reasonable extrapolate from existing science.

While I understand your concerns, you're actually complaining about the wrong thing :D  The magic actually comes from the interplanetary stuff.  The interstellar stuff is just the logical outgrowth of the interplanetary stuff.

Without magic and/or UFO technology, humans are SSSSSSOOOOOOOOO  not ever going to colonize even the Moon, let alone Mars, in any significant, game-changing way.  Sure, we can send a few minivans worth of folks there and maybe get them back (or continually resupply them).  Will that change anything here on Earth?  Not in the slightest, unless some spin-off consumer good comes along, the next Velcro.  Will that make us a "multi-planet species"?  Not at all.  AT BEST, it will make us 2 separate species, but most likely it'll just still be us here on Earth with some parasitic, unemployed adult kids living in our basement (actually attic, I guess).

So that's reality with foreseeable technology.  BBBBBOOOOOORRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGGGGG

To avoid this boredom, KSP2 seems to be the exact opposite.  We appear able to build huge, self-sufficient, reproductively and economically viable, materially productive colonies all over the place,, and have them interact as part of a cohesive political whole.  Yay!  All our childhood dreams of evil space empires interplanetary civilizations come true!  But this, by itself, is completely magic, regardless of the type of rocket used to fly between planets.  The real hurdle is just getting to low orbit with MANY oceanliner-loads of colonists, all their personal belongings, and enough stuff for them to build both homes and somewhere to be gainfully and usefully employed (periodically observing the Mystery Goo isn't a real job, or at least there aren't many openings for that).   But KSP2 promises to make this all happen.  MAGIC!

So, if you accept major colonies on other planets in the Kerbol system, then you should have no trouble accepting taking that to the next level and going interstellar.  Can't have the latter without the former.

Personally, making major colonies all over the Kerbol system has been my primary motivation for playing KSP all these years.  I _KNOW_ this is pure fantasy, but KSP is a GAME which I use to escape from reality.  Thus, I have no problem happily embracing a big Duna colony in KSP2 (even if it's WAY more feasible to colonize Antarctica instead).  But if I accept that, then I must also accept interstellar shenanigans.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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You really don't need magic to make a viable Mars colony, you just need to get over the fear of using anything with "nuclear" in its name to that end. Which, judged from what Russians have been up to recently, might be just what's happening. You can get reasonable transit times  to Mars and reasonably large payloads as well, with just a good old NTR. The problem with colonizing anything has been launch costs, which are supposed to be brought down by reusable rockets. 

Really, nuclear propulsion is all you need to colonize the solar system, no need for magic pixie dust. Gas core engines (also a viable tech, Russians were seriously working on it until they assigned all their rocket scientists to Buran) can give you enough performance to make multi-use transport vehicles capable of getting to places like Jupiter or Saturn in reasonable time. The only reason that we didn't try it yet is that nobody had the guts to try. What SpaceX is doing is showing that it's possible, and once the closed-minded "you need magic to make it happen" attitude is shed, others will follow. I wouldn't be surprised if Starship is uprated to use NTR propulsion at some point. Gas core nukes will need either a similar push, or the Russians getting their act together and dusting off old research.

Interstellar flight is a much tougher problem, due to sheer scales involved. Solar system is big, but with properly designed nuclear propulsion, it's all in our reach. We've had that technology for over 50 years by now. Designs that can cross the distance to the nearest star within human lifetime, on the other hand, tend to require nuclear fusion or antimatter, since fission just doesn't give you enough energy.

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2 hours ago, Dragon01 said:

You really don't need magic to make a viable Mars colony, you just need to get over the fear of using anything with "nuclear" in its name to that end

Sounds like a quote from Atomic Rockets :)  

But even assuming that there is no political or PR opposition to using a "Liberty Ship", that technology is at about the same level of "ehhhh, maybe someday" as metallic hydrogen.  And even if that huge list of obstacles is overcome, you still have to conjure up (by magic) an economically viable reason for doing any such thing.  Meaningful colonization has always and will always be driven by economics.  The original reason for modern humans spreading out, from the get-go right up through the Classical Age to the colonizing of the Americas, was retroactive birth control.  They made more babies back home than the local subsistence system could support so it was either go somewhere else or starve.  Since then (from AT LEAST the Age of Empires if not the Bronze Age), it's been all about the money.  There were fortunes to be made because either the colonies produced industrial quantities of some valuable exotic product in high demand or produced the same old goods in industrial quantities but from outside the control of the vested interests back home, so at better price margins.

So, I'll give you another quote from Atomic Rockets.....    You still have to magic some MacGuffinite (aka motive) into existence.  Can we ever, even with ground-launched nuclear lightbulbs,  move enough people (minimum 400,000 PER DAY) off-planet to make any dent in Earth's population overload?  No.  So a Mars colony doesn't solve any pressing problem on Earth.  Will Mars ever produce anything, in higher quantity and/or at cheaper prices (including shipping, of course), than we can make the same thing here on Earth?  No.  So there are no fortunes to be made from colonizing Mars.  Will a Mars colony ever be self-sufficient?  No, at least not until it can grow enough trees and cotton, and staff the factories that use them (which only adds to the problem), to produce enough toilet paper and tampons not to need more shipped out every month or so.  Given that all Mars colonists and any crops they grow will be underground to escape the radiation ultimately stemming from the lack of a magnetic field, which not even UFO technology can fix, this is never going to happen.

So, no matter how you slice it, interplanetary colonies in any meaningful sense are just never going to happen without magically overcoming not only the physical barrier of Earth's gravity well but also the utter lack of economic justification.  But I have no problem accepting colonies in a game, just as I enjoy reading The Lord of the RingsThey are quite similar things.  No connection to reality, and thus a welcome escape from it.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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You don't even need NTR to colonize the solar system; chemical rockets are fine to get to the moon and Mars. Colonies wouldn't be self-sufficient for decades; but that's not a big issue. Afterall none of the outposts in Antarctica or other extreme environments were; that didn't stop them from doing awesome science. But over time they're going to grow; more production will be localised. It may take a century; but those outposts will eventually become colonies proper. That's not magic; just history. 

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2 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

Without magic and/or UFO technology, humans are SSSSSSOOOOOOOOO  not ever going to colonize even the Moon, let alone Mars, in any significant, game-changing way.

We will at some point, but the politics will have to shift or some entity(ies) will have to pay for it to make it happen. We should have some type of outpost or base on the moon by now, but you know, politics get in the way.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

...

Think about an OPM game.  Once you launch your 1st OPM mission, OPM becomes your ONLY game.,  You have to cease all operations from Jool inwards because travel time to most of the OPM planets is usually measured in decades. ...  By having engines that use high, continuous thrust, which can thrust in the background while you play with your other toys.  ....  If you accept the magic fairy castles, what's the harm in accepting a magic unicorn to fly between them? :D 

I'm OK with an ICF drive that accelerates at 0.01 G, continuos... that will still get you there fast, but it won't allow you to SSTO from Eve and go interstellar. I hope they are just being lazy with their comparison to the Epstein drive. The Epstein drive throws people back in their seat and requires G-couches and such... that would be too much.

And yea... the colonies do seem like they'd be far too small to be self sufficient, let alone be building spaceships, but that's the one concession I'll allow them.

7 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I dunno.,  Some Frenchmen claim to have finally created metallic hydrogen just a couple months ago (the KSP2 dev even mentioned this in an interview).  That's been claimed before but this time around there's reason to take the claim more seriously.  So I wouldn't just discard the whole concept out of hand.

https://www.sciencealert.com/french-scientists-believe-they-have-created-metallic-hydrogen

This claim, of course, has yet to be verified.  I well remember the whole "cold fusion" fiasco :D  However, just because we might not have made the stuff yet doesn't mean we can't deduce most of its properties.   ...   Really, knowing the properties of metallic hydrogen far in advance of holding some in your hand is no different from knowing the internal workings of stars.  Nobody's ever been inside a star to see for themselves but we know the laws of physics that define how they work, and their observed behavior all through their lives tells us our suppositions about their guts are valid.

So yeah, metallic hydrogen might only just now be coming within the range of something we can make with current technology, but it's a real thing.  And IF, IF, IF it works out as expected and can be economically produced in the industrial quantities required for spaceflight, then metallic hydrogen rockets are going to be a thing.

I have a much harder time imagining "torch ships" ever being a thing than I do metallic hydrogen engines.  However, I'll accept them as a necessary gameplay mechanic to allow having major colonies all over space.  Such colonies themselves are even less realistic but they're FUN, a nice escape from the tyrannies of reality.

I already linked that article, and you're ignoring multiple things.

#1) The devs mentioned years ago, not months ago, meaning they were accepting disproven and/or irreproducible results as true. Red Flag!

#2) Its not just about metallic hydrogen existing, its the question of if it will remain metallic when the pressure is released... and this is a big fat "WE DON'T KNOW"

There were some predictions that it might be metastable and remain metallic when pressure is released, but those predictions also predicted it would be formed at pressures and order of magnitude lower than what had been tried... showing the models were very inaccurate and weren't generating accurate predictions... as I already quoted:

Quote

Wigner and Huntington first predicted that pressures of order 25 GPa were required for the transition of solid molecular hydrogen to the atomic metallic phase. Later it was predicted that metallic hydrogen might be a metastable material so that it remains metallic when pressure is released. Experimental pressures achieved on hydrogen have been more than an order of magnitude higher than the predicted transition pressure and yet it remains an insulator. We discuss the applications of metastable metallic hydrogen to rocketry. 

If Metallic Hydrogen is not metastable at low pressure, it is USELESS as a rocket fuel. So far we have one model that predicted it would be metallic when pressure was released, but it also predicted it would become metallic when pressure was an order of magnitude below what we had already experimentally tested. Experiment trumps models, and the experiments show the model is flawed, big time... which leaves us with no real reason to say it will be metastable.

Thus this tech is wishful thinking, and if it turns out its not magic tech, it would be luck and not a success of the devs doing their research.

Torchships on the other hand are known to be feasible (orion drive, nuclear salt water rocket, etc). ICF works but I'll let the devs fudge the numbers on what scale it works, and how well, since there is sound science to support it working in some form 

 

6 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

And this also realistically puts the interstellar ship into what is effectively its own universe.  There's no way there can be any meaningful contact between the homeworld and the colony until ...

To avoid this boredom, KSP2 seems to be the exact opposite.  We appear able to build huge, self-sufficient, reproductively and economically viable, materially productive colonies all over the place,, and have them interact as part of a cohesive political whole. ...

So, if you accept major colonies on other planets in the Kerbol system, then you should have no trouble accepting taking that to the next level and going interstellar.

I'm not complaining about interstellar... I'm expressing concerns over the comparison to the Epstein drive (0.01 G drives, or even 0.1 G drives are fine, drives giving you a few % of c with 10 G acceleration on your ship is not fine), and the use of drives that aren't well founded in science.

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7 hours ago, shdwlrd said:

We will at some point, but the politics will have to shift or some entity(ies) will have to pay for it to make it happen. We should have some type of outpost or base on the moon by now, but you know, politics get in the way.

Should we though. But seriously in good faith, what is the use of a space colony (apart from intrinsic undenyable coolness and my desire to see mars and come back some day, both of which are not valid reasons.) Geschosskopf layd out good arguments as to why it is not necessary. If anything blooming a solar system wide population might make it very difficult to take step to determine humanities fate if necessary (i.e. 2015 paris accords and the like), unless humanity has sorted itself out (whatever that may mean) before that and is ready to take that next step. As for motives, we still have the space race.

Ahh, the space race. The space race was a political thing for prestige, a competition between two systems of government trying to one-up each other. So good for politics sitting in the way. Sure there is this thing about nukes in space, but I kind of like the fact that we don't have orion drives launching 400,000 people off earth each day, or even have these drives in orbit. That is not fear, that is the understanding that these things are basically nuketrowers.

Spoiler

Nuance: I'm specifically mentioning the orion drive here, because on any other possibly safe nuclear drive tech, I am a non-expert not worth listening to. Also, there exists rods of god, so does this accord really save us from anything. I don't know, but I do like orion drives not being up there.

Alas, politics is the only motive we've had so far. But science. Science was later bolted onto the initial moon landing plan to get people to the moon. They'd rather just put one man there and bring it back.

All of this as far as I know, of course.

Edited by nikokespprfan
Fixed incoherent rambling

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12 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

If you accept the magic fairy castles, what's the harm in accepting a magic unicorn to fly between them?

Because unicorns do not have wings. Winged horses are known as pegasi, while winged unicorns are variously known as alicorns and pegacorns. Even magic fairy castles must have some kind of rules, or you end up with the first person to do their spell winning, which is no fun at all for the reader.

Essentially,  I see no reason why there should be magic high-thrust high-ISP stuff. I mean, to a certain extent it's OK. but if your single engine ship is not only very fuel efficient but can land on Tylo... that is magic tech. You can have Vector powered craft with ISRU and Tylo landing capability, but they require massive Mk3 or 3.75m tanks which are very fuel inefficient. I would allow an extention of that (let's call that Having your Cake). And you can have very efficient ion powered craft to get you to places more quickly due to high dV, but they're useless for anywhere but Gilly (let's call a low-TWR even higher-ISP version of that Eating your Cake). But a magic several-G silly-high-ISP engine is both Having your Cake and Eating your Cake.

Edited by fulgur

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1 hour ago, KerikBalm said:

I'm not complaining about interstellar... I'm expressing concerns over the comparison to the Epstein drive (0.01 G drives, or even 0.1 G drives are fine, drives giving you a few % of c with 10 G acceleration on your ship is not fine), and the use of drives that aren't well founded in science.

I'm with you almost all the way here, a Krepstein drive would be a step too far.

I disagree about the metallic hydrogen though. Yes it may be a bit more speculative than a fusion drive, but not that much. It's still plausible and that's good enough for me.

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4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

I'm OK with an ICF drive that accelerates at 0.01 G, continuos... that will still get you there fast, but it won't allow you to SSTO from Eve and go interstellar.

And so what if they do?  What business is it of yours what other people do in the privacy of their own single-player games?   If they want to play the game as if set in the Star Wars universe (which is what you describe here), and you instead want to play it like it was 2020 here on Earth, and you both can fulfill your dreams and enjoy the game the way you want THAT'S A GOOD THING!  Besides, even you might want to take a break from harsh reality someday, and will be glad you can :) 

I love this community.  It's the friendliest, politest place on the whole web.  Except for this 1 thing.  This tendency to mind other peoples' business and trying to force their opinions of what the game should be on everybody else.

 

4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

I already linked that article, and you're ignoring multiple things.

I'm not ignoring any of that.  I agree, we still don't know metallic hydrogen will work, but that also carries the caveat of "with current tech".  This is something folks are going to keep chipping away at until they either succeed or totally dispell the possibility.  That's going to take years and years either way.  So in the meantime, we can have it in the game.  And if it turns out, years down the road, to have all been a pipe dream, well....  certainly there will be something else generally similar on the horizon so we can just change the name of the part :)  But really, I think metallic hydrogen is a lot easier to believe in than, say, inertial confinement fusion drives.

I mean, look at the history of aerodynamic flight.  There were toy airplanes and even helicopters, not to mention man-carrying gliders, long before the Wright Brothers.  Everybody knew the principles involved, they just lacked a suitably light, powerful engine.

 

4 hours ago, KerikBalm said:

Torchships on the other hand are known to be feasible (orion drive, nuclear salt water rocket, etc). ICF works but I'll let the devs fudge the numbers on what scale it works, and how well, since there is sound science to support it working in some form 

Well, Orion is feasible, I'll grant you that, but I'm not at all sure about the other ideas.  The math might work (depending on who you talk to) for NSWR but the practical problems of building it, and its reliability and safety issues, seem overwhelming, even with some additional tech than we have.  The rest are even more speculative.

 

4 hours ago, nikokespprfan said:

Ahh, the space race. The space race was a political thing for prestige, a competition between two systems of government trying to one-up each other. So good for politics sitting in the way. Sure there is this thing about nukes in space, but I kind of like the fact that we don't have orion drives launching 400,000 people off earth each day, or even have these drives in orbit. That is not fear, that is the understanding that these things are basically nuketrowers.

Every speculative space drive has to be able to produce a godawful amount of energy and release it in the desired direction.  Thus, they are all necessarily weapons of mass destruction. 

This is also why the Moon is off-limits for colonial purposes.  It's the ultimate "high ground" in the military sense.  The entities capable of settling there agree not to, to avoid fighting a war over it.  If it turns out mining Helium-3 there is a thing, then maybe there'll be small, temporary, international, closely monitored, fully transparent mining trips there, with the product divvied up by some international organization.  But that would make permanent colonies even less likely, because then there'd be an additional reason to fight over the Moon.  And nobody's going to trust the others not to build a missile base there, or blockade the Helium-3 once the world's economy becomes dependent on it.

 

4 hours ago, fulgur said:

Because unicorns do not have wings. Winged horses are known as pegasi, while winged unicorns are variously known as alicorns and pegacorns. Even magic fairy castles must have some kind of rules, or you end up with the first person to do their spell winning, which is no fun at all for the reader.

Unicorns are rockets propelled by rainbow flatulence.  Everybody knows wings don't work in space :) 

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24 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

And so what if they do?  What business is it of yours what other people do in the privacy of their own single-player games?   If they want to play the game as if set in the Star Wars universe (which is what you describe here), and you instead want to play it like it was 2020 here on Earth, and you both can fulfill your dreams and enjoy the game the way you want THAT'S A GOOD THING!  Besides, even you might want to take a break from harsh reality someday, and will be glad you can :) 

I love this community.  It's the friendliest, politest place on the whole web.  Except for this 1 thing.  This tendency to mind other peoples' business and trying to force their opinions of what the game should be on everybody else.

Bear in mind though that everything takes time and resources to develop - that's time and resources taken away from something else the user may actually want. I don't want OP/far-future tech engines in the game because that would mean less time was spent adding realistic/near-future tech engines.

While it definitely sometimes does (hell I'm probably guilty of it too on occasion), it doesn't always stem from minding other people's business.

Edited by Bartybum

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19 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

I like what they've been saying about this stuff so far. Interstellar spacecraft are necessarily speculative as we've never built one and the best designs we've made are extremely early-stage. Bring on the metallic hydrogen, Daedalus, and even antimatter drive.

(Krepstein however crosses the line for me. If that's in I'm gonna pretend it's not and not use it.)

It's a fusion ship. See Scott Manley's video on the Expanse ships. It's the power output you get from a fusion source. The "unknown" is how much a fusion power plant/shielding/injectors/heating/cooling/refueling etc systems weigh and the costs/energy/inefficiencies of them.

 

The "Epstein" drive though, is mathematically sound. So, if an "end tech tree" engine, it would be Kerbals making the "perfect" rocket engine, not the "impossible" rocket engine. ;)

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I really want to see Star Theory staff, preferably the lead designer, reply in this topic. KSP isn't a sci-fi game, keep it realistic. 

Hopefully they take note.

I'm very worried about the next-gen tech and general gameplay.

Edited by Kuszotke

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Just now, Technical Ben said:

It's a fusion ship. See Scott Manley's video on the Expanse ships. It's the power output you get from a fusion source. The "unknown" is how much a fusion power plant/shielding/injectors/heating/cooling/refueling etc systems weigh and the costs/energy/inefficiencies of them.

Where does the reaction mass come from? 

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17 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

This is also why the Moon is off-limits for colonial purposes.  It's the ultimate "high ground" in the military sense.  The entities capable of settling there agree not to, to avoid fighting a war over it. 

Wrong. What they agreed not to do is claim ownership of any extraterrestrial land. As for high ground, check out Battle of Flodden. For those not versed in history, the Scots had the high ground... so high, in fact, that they couldn't depress their cannons to shoot at the English. It wasn't their last blunder in that battle, but talking about "high ground" as if it was the ultimate military advantage is BS. The Moon is too far to be of any military use whatsoever. With modern anti-ballistic weapons, you could see and destroy anything launched from there at your leisure. Orbital bombardment is likewise hard, and "Rods From God" are not WMDs - atmospheric drag slow them down too much. Instead of launching one rod to orbit and deorbiting it, you can use a much smaller rocket to deliver a TNT charge of the same mass. You'll end up with energy delivered being more or less the same. Project Thor is not forbidden by international treaties, and dead simple technically. Ever wondered why nobody ever launched anything like it? 

19 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Every speculative space drive has to be able to produce a godawful amount of energy and release it in the desired direction.  Thus, they are all necessarily weapons of mass destruction. 

Yeah, like that has ever stopped anyone. Seriously, you've got governments sitting on hundreds of nuclear warheads. What makes you think they'd stop developing a fusion drive just because you can turn it into a particle beam? It'd be an incentive, if nothing else. Truth to be told, engines make poor weapons in general. The exhaust is diffuse, and they tend to be too large to aim effectively. Now, you can use them that way, some more effectively than others, and technology is certainly related, but in truth, engine tech has more in common with power plant technology than it does with weapons.

28 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

But really, I think metallic hydrogen is a lot easier to believe in than, say, inertial confinement fusion drives.

Then you're a complete physics-illiterate. Metallic hydrogen is at the same level as Alcubierre drive. Inertial confinement fusion, on the other hand, has been demonstrated, multiple times, in National Ignition Facility and its predecessors. In fact, in NIF they had achieved breakeven, which means the process is, very theoretically, capable of being turned into a power plant, or a self-powering engine. Now, the whole thing takes up a large building, so it's not quite on the level of NTR technology as far as readiness goes, but it does not require new physics.

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3 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

hydrogen is at the same level as Alcubierre drive.

No it's not.

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