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Actual uses for centrifuges?


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I'm wondering if centrifuges will actually have a use in KSP2. Like, in space stations, where they aren't just cosmetic, and actually provide benefits towards Kerbals?

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That, and there have been suggestions about giving kerbals different strength based on which bodies they grew up on or how strong gravity is where they live. Some of my favorite aspects of these suggestions: Over time, kerbals will lose strength to a very low minimum bar. This would lower their g-force tolerance, maximum impact velocity, and jump height. You can preserve or even increase kerbal strength by slowly spinning up the centrifuge over the span of months in preparation for stuff like landing on Ovin or Jool after a long journey. But these are just suggestions, and not likely to be in the game. 

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Posted (edited)

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Just now, t_v said:

That, and there have been suggestions about giving kerbals different strength based on which bodies they grew up on or how strong gravity is where they live. Some of my favorite aspects of these suggestions: Over time, kerbals will lose strength to a very low minimum bar. This would lower their g-force tolerance, maximum impact velocity, and jump height. You can preserve or even increase kerbal strength by slowly spinning up the centrifuge over the span of months in preparation for stuff like landing on Ovin or Jool after a long journey. But these are just suggestions, and not likely to be in the game. 

Yeah! Gravity tolerance.

 

Edited by siklidkid
nvm
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To keep things simple I'd rather an overall wellness or happiness rating that would fold in things like radiation exposure, life support, and habitation and affect things like science collection returns and resource harvesting output. G-force tolerance and jump height are clever too. 

Another thing I'd love is if some centrifuge wheels had radial attachment points so you could outfit them with different modules. It'd offer a little more creativity and customization if you could keep the mass balanced out. 

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Could we have space centrifuges that spin up very slowly using solar energy but achieve a fast enough rotation that they could be used to accelerate objects for interplanetary travel (or asteroid deflection) by just releasing them?

I think it could be built in KSP1 also.

Edited by Vl3d
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I would argue that a kind of "efficiency optimization" life support has been confirmed. Meaning inadequate life support will probably not kill your kerbals, it will just lower their efficiency and lower colony growth rates.

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14 hours ago, Vl3d said:

Could we have space centrifuges that spin up very slowly using solar energy but achieve a fast enough rotation that they could be used to accelerate objects for interplanetary travel (or asteroid deflection) by just releasing them?

This has merit, but there are several things to consider. First, the centripetal acceleration. At 1km/s, to keep it down to 1g of acceleration, the radius of the arm would have to be over 100km long. And if you plan to have this structure be reusable, it will have to be able to absorb the shock of releasing the cargo, which will propagate as a wave through the structure. So it's not trivial to build something like this. It's a major project.

Second, conservation of momentum is still a thing. If this arm is orbiting a planet, the recoil from launch is going to alter its orbit. You need to compensate for this somehow. The most practical use case is if something like this both sends and receives cargo. You can also just use it to de-orbit random rocks to absorb that momentum, but basically, if something goes up, equal amounts of something must come down.

Finally, corrections will still have to be made, and something with that size and artificial gravity at the tips won't be possible to mill with sunlight. A sail of that size will not be able to withstand the rotation. So you'll have to expend reaction mass for correction and to initially spin up the structure.

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19 hours ago, K^2 said:

expend reaction mass for correction and to initially spin up the structure

I agree with some lightweight engines for the correction burns. But I think we could electrically spin it up if the center axle has solar panels at the ends and there are 2 wheels spinning in opposite directions and releasing payload and counterweight at the same time.

Also I would expect this system to be used only for cargo, so we can have very high G forces and thus a smaller radius for the centrifuges / wheels.

Edited by Vl3d
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52 minutes ago, Davi SDF said:

They will probably be useful so our Kerbal's bones aren't made of jelly when they reach another planet.

I don't think they can fix that :D

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On 4/17/2022 at 11:49 PM, t_v said:

That, and there have been suggestions about giving kerbals different strength based on which bodies they grew up on or how strong gravity is where they live. Some of my favorite aspects of these suggestions: Over time, kerbals will lose strength to a very low minimum bar. This would lower their g-force tolerance, maximum impact velocity, and jump height. You can preserve or even increase kerbal strength by slowly spinning up the centrifuge over the span of months in preparation for stuff like landing on Ovin or Jool after a long journey. But these are just suggestions, and not likely to be in the game. 

I hope not, i don't want overly complex system, i just want to happily fly my rockets

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On 4/19/2022 at 11:24 AM, Vl3d said:

payload and counterweight at the same time.

Then counterweight is your reaction mass. That still has to be delivered to the centrifuge. If it makes sense to double the payload to centrifuge for this, then that's fine.

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I would also think the design parameters for a part designed to produce steady 1g artificial gravity and parts designed to be spun up to launch something would be different enough that they would be separate entirely, with the latter being much more niche. Maybe if they plan to introduce robotic parts at some point players could custom build something like that. 

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As far as "accelerating things to high velocities without using rockets", I am of two minds about it.

I do want to see methods of non-rocket space launch put into place in a space game that I can play like KSP.

However, with KSP's focus being on rockets (to the exclusion of almost everything else except aircraft that have rocket engines on them to be able to get to space, which technically are still a kind of rocket), I doubt that any form of non-rocket space launch will be put in the game by the developers.

As far as what centrifuges would do in KSP 2, I think they would indeed tie into the whole "life support (lite)" type system I think they're putting in the game.

Now, this isn't the kind of life support where "you need to pack enough supplies or your crew will suffer negative impacts", as is the case with (AFAIK) all the life support mods for KSP 1.
It's something else entirely. No longer do you have to worry about supplies, because this is "The Future" and Kerbal-kind have mastered the "completely closed-loop life support system".
Basically, the crew's waste products (solid, liquid, and gas) are (hygienically) recycled into food, water and oxygen (or whatever sustains these "actual aliens" that might not even share our biology), using only electricity.
So all you need to keep the crew functioning at optimum performance is 2 (maybe 3) things. Enough power to run the life support, enough habitable volume to prevent them from going crazy (crew probably like having their own personal space and/or a place to get away from the rest of the crew for a while, after all), and maybe enough gravity (or zero-g exercise equipment) to prevent their physical condition from degrading.

Since that's the logical end-point of all the existing KSP 1 life support mods anyways, and this is supposed to be "The Future" so it's a safe assumption that they've mastered such a "mundane" technology as true closed-loop life support, and adding all those life support resources processing machines just makes the game more complex "for a while" while continuing to give the CPU running the game "more to do than it needs to do" when you've reached the end-game and have the totally closed-loop life support systems unlocked anyways, so why bother with it when that's not the focus of the game?
We're not playing "Factorio in space" after all (that's Dyson Sphere Program, which strangely DOES run on Unity), and life support (without being closed loop from the beginning) adds just a lot of extra (and extra imposing) complication that would scare off new players anyways.

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Rando, I remember a friend of mine launching swarms of satellites by flying straight up, no gravity turn, then when he got to about 90km he spun carriage up with rockets and released them all at once. 

I'd also personally love to see a "life support medium roast" system with a single depletable resource and recyclers that can be made 100% closed loop but only using very heavy modules best suited for stations, colonies, and very long journeys. But there are other threads for that topic...

Edited by Pthigrivi
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Is “because they look really cool and sci-fi-ey” not enough of a reason? The inevitable life support mods will no doubt put them to use in more realistic ways, but I think everyone would agree that an interstellar spaceship with spinning habitat rings is better than the same ship without them.

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I do agree with you, that a deep-space vessel that carries crew for long periods should have a centrifuge.
But the fact that it "looks right" to me isn't simply my opinion. Rather, from what I've read about merely existing in a zero-g environment for long periods of time (such as on the ISS) I have gathered that the human body is not well suited for such conditions. The human body "tolerates" such conditions "somewhat well" if you mitigate the muscle atrophy by using zero-g adapted exercise equipment (that's why the ISS has a stationary bicycle), however even a relatively small amount of gravity (such as 0.1g) is enough to massively improve crew comfort.
For instance, do you know how hard it is to burp in zero-G without throwing up a little bit? It's basically impossible, because in zero-g your stomach is like the liquid fuel tank of a rocket (that is also in zero-g), in that there's usually a mixture of liquids and gases in it, and when you burp you only want to expel the gas, but in zero G your stomach's contents are basically randomly arranged, so you get a little bit of all of it no matter what you do.
This is similar to how a liquid fueled rocket that is in zero-G can't start its main engine(s) without first using the RCS or igniting purposefully placed small solid rockets (called "ullage motors) SPECIFICALLY to settle the contents of the fuel tanks first. The only exception to this is most satellites that use hypergolic or monopropellant rockets. They have special fuel tanks that have additional things in them to mitigate the liquid/gas phase blending that happens in zero-G, such as a bladder to separate the liquid and the pressurizing gas, or simply a mesh structure that uses surface tension to cause the liquid to preferentially settle near the fuel pickup. However the human stomach contains no such features, so the comparison with a satellite fuel tank is not valid.

As I said, even a small amount of acceleration is enough to prevent that particular unwelcome effect of living in zero-G. There are many other beneficial effects of gravity as well, not least of which is the prevention of bone density loss, which is extremely important if you're going to be landing on Mars or another body in the solar system (or even another solar system in the case of interstellar craft) later on in the mission, or plan to return to Earth (or Kerbin).

So for me, the reason it "looks right" is because the presence of a centrifuge is basically required on any interplanetary journey that will be taking a long Hohmann transfer (or using electric propulsion, tho that is quite a bit faster).

Additionally, Considering that the thread's title is "ACTUAL uses for centrifuges" (emphasis mine), I'm pretty sure that we're not talking about aesthetics (if it looks good or not) here.

 

However, there IS a situation where you in fact don't really need a centrifuge on an interplanetary vessel.
With good enough propulsion systems (high specific impulse and high thrust at the same time, so "torch" drives), you don't need to spin to make artificial gravity.
Instead, you can use the thrust of the engines themselves!
To best take advantage of this, you need to build the habitation section of the vessel like a skyscraper (EDIT: And not like an ocean liner or the Starship Enterprise [end edit]) (but hopefully out of aluminum not steel, because steel might be strong but holy crap is it heavy compared to high strength aluminum alloys).
You do need to fly a brachistochrone trajectory for this approach to be able to provide "gravity" during the vast majority of the voyage, so it is limited to vessels with the ability to accelerate at roughly 1G for not just days, but weeks on end (tho in the Kerbol system "days" is probably plenty enough).

So my prediction is that early crewed interplanetary vessels will have centrifuges, but later ones (with the torch drives) may not, or may only have them for use when the vessel is docked (and therefore not under acceleration provided by the drives), however I think it would still be far more likely for those centrifuges to be located on the stations that such vessels dock to, rather than on the vessel itself.

Edited by SciMan
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