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Gas Giant Floating


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1 hour ago, Bartybum said:

As long as you have an atmosphere, you can have lift.

Assuming you have a flying fusion reactor that can scoop up the hydrogen and extract energy from it without violating energy conservation laws then it's totally possible.

In reality though, a permanent fusion aircraft would be neither possible nor responsible, because of material fatigue life and safety precautions (what if you experience a reactor shut down in flight? That's a likely goodbye sweet prince). Eventually you'd need to punch back into orbit, dock with a newer transport and then discard the old one. At that rate, it's likely more convenient just to have a dirigible.

To be honest, while they are cool as hell, I wouldn't really see any purpose in having dirigible installations/colonies versus orbital counterparts equipped with atmospheric skimmer aircraft to handle mining. Assuming compact fusion works, I feel like there's less material speculation with orbital installations anyway.

Iv'e always thought that any semi-permanant installation would basically end up being a platform riding a plasma jet anyway.  And any form of installation would be at best semi-permanant; even a dirigible would eventually need patches, spare parts and always would be dependent on resupply from orbit even if it could grow it's own food and make water (Not hard when you're literally SURROUNDED by Hydrogen and need Oxygen for breathing gas anyway).

In a way if Gas Giant mining is ever a thing; i think it's going to resemble Oil Derricks of all things.  Something that could be assembled quickly, moved as needed, support a small crew to do the dirty jobs, then either sink beneath the waves or be recovered. Orbital stations would constantly monitor the "Cloud stations" and provide support, prepare crews for transfer/rotation, and take on supplies from freighters while providing a place for tankers to berth and take on the valuable Hydrogen cargo.

 

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2 hours ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

In a way if Gas Giant mining is ever a thing; i think it's going to resemble Oil Derricks of all things.  Something that could be assembled quickly, moved as needed, support a small crew to do the dirty jobs, then either sink beneath the waves or be recovered. Orbital stations would constantly monitor the "Cloud stations" and provide support, prepare crews for transfer/rotation, and take on supplies from freighters while providing a place for tankers to berth and take on the valuable Hydrogen cargo.

A derrick/floating installation kinda seems superfluous if you think about the logistics of the whole operation. At its most basic, the derrick is just a floating pump with a reactor to power it. If you have a tanker ship that needs to rendezvous with the derrick to load the gas, then you're burning through a lot of fuel to slow all the way down, collect it and then get back into orbit.

You'll end up chewing through all that dV just to stop and hook up with a pump. At that rate you may as well just carry the pump with you, scoop up the gas, and take it to an orbital refinery.

If you're flying a ship with an efficient fusion reactor then you have no need for a mining installation to begin with.

Edited by Bartybum
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1 hour ago, Bartybum said:

A derrick/floating installation kinda seems superfluous if you think about the logistics of the whole operation. At its most basic, the derrick is just a floating pump with a reactor to power it. If you have a tanker ship that needs to rendezvous with the derrick to load the gas, then you're burning through a lot of fuel to slow all the way down, collect it and then get back into orbit.

You'll end up chewing through all that dV just to stop and hook up with a pump. At that rate you may as well just carry the pump with you, scoop up the gas, and take it to an orbital refinery.

If you're flying a ship with an efficient fusion reactor then you have no need for a mining installation to begin with.

Well yeah; the entire point is to bring that gas somewhere they can't just scoop it up from the surrounding enviroment. Also once you're in the atmosphere you don't need nearly as much thrust to reduce closing speeds; since the atmospheric drag will slow you plenty.

Now what i will say is that i have no idea what the energy usage of a system like this vs something like mass electrolysis of water would look like, but i doubt it's in favor of the installation on the gas giant.

I was just speculating on what i thought was a viable concept; not really thinking about the practicallity of it. I mean for all intents and purposes you're better off flying to the edges of the solar system and recovering much of your water from comets, dwarf planets and dust than tangling with gravity wells at all. Or just mining the moons of the gas giant you're considering putting floating cities around xD

There's one other consideration on my mind though; which is that future fusion reactors may be powered by Helium-3 rather than Deuterium-Tritium Fusion. Which if that's the case means that you can't recover much Helium-3 outside of Gas Giants, making them really the only option. Of course you could just run everything planetside off the D-T cycle and have the He-3 reactors reserved for your spacecraft, so iv'e never found this that practical myself.

But yes; you're absolutely correct that having a single ship that can process it's own fuel without needing to dock with any additional facilities makes much more sense.

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9 minutes ago, Incarnation of Chaos said:

But yes; you're absolutely correct that having a single ship that can process it's own fuel without needing to dock with any additional facilities makes much more sense.

Oh no no, I mean have a mining ship that takes raw resources to a nearby processing facility. To separate helium and hydrogen there may be some more complex and heavy equipment required than what can be afforded on a spacecraft.

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5 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

Oh no no, I mean have a mining ship that takes raw resources to a nearby processing facility. To separate helium and hydrogen there may be some more complex and heavy equipment required than what can be afforded on a spacecraft.

Then i'm REALLY glad i didn't go off about how bulky and energy-intensive the equipment for Liquifying gasses is since i completely misunderstood your proposal xD

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On 3/14/2020 at 4:28 AM, Brynderion said:

If anything, I would imagine that the better physics for planets overall — rather than just a thin crust of textures wrapped around an empty void — would provide the tools for modders to be able to add it in time.

I think the main hurdle preventing modders from doing it in KSP1 is the physics bubble. Once you switched focus away from the base, it would be Missing, Presumed Crashed. Maybe modders an weigh in on this but I've understood that this isn't a limitation that would be easy to remove, e.g. by just freezing the base in place when defocused or when it drifts outside the physics bubble, instead of having it start falling and then getting removed.

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Game physics is also why I thought this would be a good idea to be in base game rather than in a mod or some hacky stock wall-hack. The former would be sure to have a high rate of random explosion and falling into the planet when unfocusing and/or time-warping. Mechanics that provide some stability to floating would be a must for anything that can be classified as a 'floating city'.

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20 hours ago, Brikoleur said:

I think the main hurdle preventing modders from doing it in KSP1 is the physics bubble. Once you switched focus away from the base, it would be Missing, Presumed Crashed. Maybe modders an weigh in on this but I've understood that this isn't a limitation that would be easy to remove, e.g. by just freezing the base in place when defocused or when it drifts outside the physics bubble, instead of having it start falling and then getting removed.

Could this not be solved fairly easy with some programming? Check whether the ship's a dirigible, and if it is and it's at a standstill then freeze it in place. The only real problem I could see would be weather currents affecting the ship's position

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13 minutes ago, Bartybum said:

Could this not be solved fairly easy with some programming? Check whether the ship's a dirigible, and if it is and it's at a standstill then freeze it in place. The only real problem I could see would be weather currents affecting the ship's position

Congratulations, you`ve just invented KSP1 AirPark mod!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The only option that I see is to collect the atmosphere from space in low orbit using a scoop. And maintain the orbit with a small fusion engine.

Otherwise, how can the probe / airship then return back to space? Without "atigravity" like in Star Wars, I can't imagine it. Probably even such a small gas giant as Uranus will become an eternal trap for a probe that decided to go down in the atmosphere.

Edited by OOM
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