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trekkie_

NASA Antimatter Spaceship

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Alrighty, time for constructive criticism:

Let me make it clear that I am NOT trying to shoot down your mod. Please, if it offends or annoys you ignore me completely.

Antimatter is a still a great unknown to us. We do see antimatter forms of several atoms, but we do not see how high it goes. The higher the atomic element, the less residual energy that must be released (aka gamma rays or other forms of energy) until you get to roughly Iron, then things are projected to sort of reverse.

Now I have said this before and I will say it again, please please Please please PLEASE! Write a short blurb about what you are intending. You do not need to have any content at all, just a message about what the goals of your mod are. This will allow you to draw on the most important asset you can: The community. We are those whom will consume your mod, and you MUST consider us one way or another. Right now your post contains nothing but a link and some models. Those models are quite good, but I am not sure they are yours. If they are, I congratulate you because as I said they are quite good.

However if they are not, you need to immediately post a citation to their creator, or else you are in violation of basic artistic copyright. At worse, you are in violation of NASA material at which point you are infringing on the US government, which will NOT end well if they get wind.

Also, from a community support perspective, need to provide what exactly you are intending to do. What are your long term plans, what have you already done (it is okay if it is nothing), what are your immediate goals, what is your plan for executing this? You will receive quite a lot more support if you provide these details. In addition, what are your thoughts on major mod compatibility? For example if you are planning what I think you are, how do you plan to work things out with KSP interstellar mod?

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Antimatter isn't a very good fuel. It does not release its energy in a nice, controllable burst, it's just kind of all over the place. You also have to manufacture it, which takes huge amounts of power, and store it, which is also a pain. One way an antimatter propulsion system could work is in a kind of Orion pusher-plate arrangement using antimatter explosions to propel itself. So this article is clearly done by someone who is a bit of an antimatter utopist, as we do not have the research nor the technology to make anything like this feasible in the near-term and even in the long term, a nuclear electric or a nuclear thermal drive might just be more effective due to their relative uncomplicatedness and abundance of easy to get propellant. Not to mention a mars mission could be done cheaper, faster and easier by using the Mars Direct (or Semi-Direct) plan.

However, we are not here to discuss the article.

The first post is definetly sorely lacking in information, but I'd very much love to see such a cool-looking spacecraft in a mod for KSP, be it antimatter-fueled or not. It just looks so sleek, elegant and all-around cool.

I'd love to see it in orbit around Jool.

Edited by Krevsin

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I don't import pre-made models, all of my mods models are made from scratch. But I did copy the dimensions from a google sketchup model (easy to find yourself), although the geometry is made from scratch. It would seem easier to just port the model, but the geometry was simply inefficient, what you see here is a unique geometry configuration that could have only been generated by making the model from scratch, not to mention custom texturing. However, I can still give the author of the original model credit for the measurements on release.

This is a real NASA concept. I don't see how it would be any more of an issue than someone making a model of the space shuttle or apollo. I think you're being overly dramatic but if you find evidence to the contrary, let me know.

The intent is its real world intent, a mars mission....in our case, duna. so its intent is to be an all in one ship with enough fuel and RCS for a LKO to duna and back mission based on its final weight. obviously this can be used in other places if towed there by other parts. It will still require you to get into orbit with other parts before you would want to travel anywhere else.

The static dish, may have some science transmission potential. It's actually a pretty nice dish part on its own, and I think I can make it just as transparent in game.

I haven't decided whether to break it up into individual parts, or contain it whole as one or two single parts.

judging by the concept of NASA's design, this vessel has 3 stages at most, and most likely only 2 stages. My guess is the whole vessel is propelled to mars and and back in a single stage, while the upper stage detaches from the bottom stage to travel to the planet and return, where it would re-dock and continue back to earth.

But with the plethora of alternative command modules, it may be prudent to allow people to use their own, however things like that would break the design scheme and the ship would have to be split up into several different parts with their own function in order to do that. basically, assembly of the entire stack would be required in game and that's a bit of work, not to mention having to look for each part. so it would seem simpler to either split it up into less parts or keep it as a single whole part wherever possible. I don't think people need another plain fuel tank or a simple all black decoupler sitting in their parts folder. at the very least, the engine will be separate from the rest of the vessel, and possibly the command pod too. But you've got to consider the design, for example the long humps along the front, would have to come apart from the command pod is that was its own part. that means you'd have to add them manually. I'm not sure of what their actual function would be in the concept version as it's not explained.

I could imagine someone slapping some wings and radial tanks on this thing, making a decent looking space plane. I haven't really given any details because it's not like you should expect it in the game tomorrow.

Edited by trekkie_

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Antimatter isn't a very good fuel. It does not release its energy in a nice, controllable burst, it's just kind of all over the place. You also have to manufacture it, which takes huge amounts of power, and store it, which is also a pain. The only way an antimatter propulsion system could work is in a kind of Orion pusher-plate arrangement using antimatter explosions to propel itself. So this article is clearly done by someone who is a bit of an antimatter utopist, as we do not have the research nor the technology to make anything like this feasible in the near-term and even in the long term, a nuclear electric or a nuclear thermal drive might just be more effective due to their relative uncomplicatedness and abundance of easy to get propellant. Not to mention a mars mission could be done cheaper, faster and easier by using the Mars Direct (or Semi-Direct) plan.

However, we are not here to discuss the article.

The first post is definetly sorely lacking in information, but I'd very much love to see such a cool-looking spacecraft in a mod for KSP, be it antimatter-fueled or not. It just looks so sleek, elegant and all-around cool.

I'd love to see it in orbit around Jool.

The article was pretty convincing. If you read the details, it can propel itself in a number of ways. for 250 million, the fuel costs of this antimatter ship would be a bargain. technically, such a ship in real life could use various types of propellants, albeit with differing efficiencies. of course this thing doesn't exist yet -- but it could. in real life it would most likely act under the same principles as a nuclear rocket. of course, it all relies on a refined and increased production of positrons. that's only underdeveloped because the lack of development in production. but the reduction of tons upon tons of weight into just mere grams, is where most of the gains are. It's not like it's intended to reach anywhere near the speed of light.

Edited by trekkie_

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Yeah, generating and storing antimatter is the biggest problem... pretty much everything else Krevsin wrote is nonsense. To be fair, Dr. Smith's estimates on the cost of producing that much antimatter are optimistic. But the hurdles here are economic, not technological. The engineering is pretty straightforward... once you can make and store antimatter in sufficient quantities economically.

Edited by Gaius

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Antimatter is a still a great unknown to us. We do see antimatter forms of several atoms, but we do not see how high it goes. The higher the atomic element, the less residual energy that must be released (aka gamma rays or other forms of energy) until you get to roughly Iron, then things are projected to sort of reverse.

You are getting fission/fusion/antimatter facts mixed up :D

It MUST have come up somewhere on these forums already, but for anybody, this is an excellent resource for proposed propulsion systems, and all things rocketry.

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Yeah, generating and storing antimatter is the biggest problem... pretty much everything else Krevsin wrote is nonsense. To be fair, Dr. Smith's estimates on the cost of producing that much antimatter are optimistic. But the hurdles here are economic, not technological. The engineering is pretty straightforward... once you can make and store antimatter in sufficient quantities economically.

I apologise, I misunderstood what the article was trying to present (I mistook the way antimatter would be used as fuel for the explosive method. I blame english for not being my native language :P).

I was talking about using the explosive force of antimatter as a propulsion system, a sort of Orion Drive, but fueled by antimatter rather than nuclear bombs. I am not an opponent of antimatter propulsion, but I see the many engineering issues that need to be dealt with before it becomes a feasible method of propulsion.

So yes, I agree the issues with antimatter propulsion are mostly technical, not scientific, however, I do not expect to see antimatter drives any time soon since they have a lot of testing to go through and antimatter storage is a severe problem. The cost of antimatter itself is an issue of economy (supply, demand and whatnot) and speculating on its price is rather dodgy at best.

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I think its generally accepted that the most feasible use of antimatter in the propulsion field are catalytic methods - methods whereby you would use tiny amounts of antimatter to trigger larger reactions in the heart of a fusion engine.

Even if we did have a viable way of storing large amounts, currently there is no supply of antimatter. Oh we can produce it in a lab yeah, but it would only take several million years to produce even a tiny fraction of a usable amount using current methods.

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Personally I giggle when people get into whether or not a particular mod is plausible scientifically or should even be made. The pilots are little green people. I say go for it and have fun with it.

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Personally I giggle when people get into whether or not a particular mod is plausible scientifically or should even be made. The pilots are little green people. I say go for it and have fun with it.

I thought they were more of a yellow color? Anyways yes this is a fictional game in a fictional universe. Go ahead with the mod.

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Shouldn't this be moved to the science forum since it appears to be about the viability of antimatter as opposed to any specific mod.

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Oh no doubt its a viable mod! And the science displayed in the original post is fine to be honest. Currently we do NOT have the ability to even send people to other planets, so as far as realism goes...

And I always thought Kerbals were the archetypal "Little Green Men" of yore...

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Oh no doubt its a viable mod! And the science displayed in the original post is fine to be honest. Currently we do NOT have the ability to even send people to other planets, so as far as realism goes...

Yes, we do have that ability. It's just that it'd take a long time to get there and everyone's paranoid they might get Space Flu or radiation poisoning :P. Not to mention that NASA has difficulties effectively designing a manned capsule on its incredibly tight budget.

But realistically speaking, we could send men to mars.

Personally I giggle when people get into whether or not a particular mod is plausible scientifically or should even be made. The pilots are little green people. I say go for it and have fun with it.

True, but the discussion was more centered around real-world antimatter propulsion.

As far as the game itself is concerned, I have expressed my opinion about the craft (it looks cool. I want it in-game).

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Yes, we do have that ability. It's just that it'd take a long time to get there and everyone's paranoid they might get Space Flu or radiation poisoning :P. Not to mention that NASA has difficulties effectively designing a manned capsule on its incredibly tight budget.

But realistically speaking, we could send men to mars.

I , of course, recognise you point as valid, but there is a huge difference between having the right technology and materials to match the theory and another to build a ship in practice.

There currently exists no ship capable of taking humans beyond the moon. There are tons of papers on how to approach each challenge, and no doubt NASA or the ESA could build a ship given time and money, but most of the reason that the endeavour would be hugely expensive is that it WOULD require a VAST amount of research and development before anyone even left the atmosphere.

TECHNICALLY we have the technology to send a colony ship to Barnard's star, but no way are we capable of it at this time.

But anyway, my point (and I may have used some exaggerated language to make it, I admit) was, an antimatter engine would be far from the most unrealistic thing in KSP.

Edited by p1t1o

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The research has already been done - it's in those "tons of papers" you mention. The reason that no ship has been built isn't because of a lack of technology - it's because of the logistics of a manned mission. Read Mary Roach's "Packing for Mars" and you'll understand why we haven't gone yet.

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I didn't say we lacked the technology, I said we lacked the ability, at this time. I also said given time and money, any number of agencies could put a man on another planet.

But unless there's a ship waiting in orbit I'm not aware of, we still lack the ability. Papers=/=practical reality.

Interplanetary missions are well within the realm of proposed science, and so are antimatter engines. One is further away than the other, currently, we can't do either - and neither are out of place in KSP.

As far as I'm concerned this is a matter of semantics and I'm struggling to see where we'd really disagree.

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Indeed, it seems we merely have different concepts of the word "ability". Fair enough, I can see what you're trying to get across - but let's be fair, by that definition, we currently don't even have the "ability" to send a man to the Moon... however, since we've already done so several times, no one could honestly say we don't have the "ability". :wink:

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Ah well I'd still definitely count a moon landing as within capability as we have built a vessel before, but whatevs :sticktongue:

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I didn't say we lacked the technology, I said we lacked the ability, at this time. I also said given time and money, any number of agencies could put a man on another planet.

But unless there's a ship waiting in orbit I'm not aware of, we still lack the ability. Papers=/=practical reality.

Interplanetary missions are well within the realm of proposed science, and so are antimatter engines. One is further away than the other, currently, we can't do either - and neither are out of place in KSP.

As far as I'm concerned this is a matter of semantics and I'm struggling to see where we'd really disagree.

Very true.

Okay, that "ship in orbit" part I disagree with (because we can send one there, as the delta V required to get to low Mars orbit is lower than the dV required to get to Mars, thus freeing space for the fuel and propellant needed for a return trip), but the rest is true. Given time and testing, anything is possible. It's just that a Mars mission will take less time and testing than an Antimatter engine. :wink:

But this is KSP, where no such thing as "politics", "economy" or even "Research time" exist. When we supply 90 amounts of science, our boys in the lab will instantly create us engines and fuel tanks!

While we're on the subject, in KSP, the ship would still run on Liquid fuel, as the Antimatter engine works (in real life, of course) in the same way a NERVA works, which is through the principle of thermal expansion. You heat up the propellant by running it over the hot core (either Nuclear or Antimatter), it heats up, turns into super-heated gas and expands in the only way it can: through the nozzle.

Now, in real life, the nuclear/antimatter fuel is used up (although less rapidly than the propellant), but KSP does not simulate that and the LV-N (the NERVA) happily burns through both Oxydizer and Liquid fuel, with the supply of Blutonium being infinite. :P

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Compatibility with ModularFuels would be a good thing to look at. You could easily tailor it to run on 99.9% hydrogen, 0.1% antimatter, with the engine containing some supply of AM. Alternatively it would also be super-easy to designate an AM tank.

Thats exactly how the nuclear engines currently operate in ModFuels, with "nuclearfuel" slowly converted to "nuclearwaste" contained within the engine. In my own build I've also added a nuclear fuel reprocessing capability to RTGs.

Its straightforward to set up a similar cycle for antimatter and include the config within the mod. Folks without ModFuels would just leave out the cfg and it would operate with stock resources.

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I think he just posted a teaser for a little mod in KSP that is a NASA antimatter spaceship, and everybody is talking about realism.

He made a bad job presenting it, and threads without a purpose stray into straaaange and spooooky waters. :confused:

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