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troyfawkes

High Tech / Sci-Fi -- Inertial Negation

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Hey all!

Our tech tree from mods is moving along to pretty theoretical technologies and I was wondering if someone was going to come up with a mod that replicates science fiction's "inertial dampers," or more accurately inertial negators.

Basically, it'd be a part that, when added to a ship and given significant power, would effectively decrease the mass of the attached object. The relevance is obviously that you'd be able to use much smaller engines and less fuel to maneuver larger ships. The concept is also used in scifi to decrease g-forces on crew, so that might be a consideration as well.

If this was to be added it'd have to be pretty far up the tech tree. I'm thinking Interstellar just before the alcubierre drive, upgrading just like interstellar as you go up the tech tree. Probably along the lines of 10%, 20%, 30% reduction in all mass. Needs testing obv, but for 100t motherships, a 10t reduction in effective mass isn't something to scoff at.

It'd open up a lot of options with futuristic ship designs for those willing to suspend disbelief and who already subscribe to this more or less canonical sci-fi technology in space travel :)

Thoughts?

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I'm wondering just how much this would break in KSP if you implemented it as a fuel tank with negative dry mass - when you "activate" it, it drains electric charge as well as the "fuel" contents - resulting in a reduction of total mass of the ship while still making it a heavy object to transport to orbit. I'm sure that Unity would throw a fit about it though...

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You can't have an object with negative mass, so it would have to be done by reducing the mass of every part of the ship. It might be possible, but it would be rather complicated to do so.

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Even better, make a device that takes you to zero mass (like a Bergenholm).

You'd be able to flash to Jool in a second, which is good because it's unlikely the game would remain stable that long.

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Even better, make a device that takes you to zero mass (like a Bergenholm).

You'd be able to flash to Jool in a second, which is good because it's unlikely the game would remain stable that long.

Then spend inordinate amounts of time negating your original vector and speed in favor of a stable Jool orbit (think along the lines of the problems that E. E. Smith's Lensmen had with their inertialess drives).

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Very quick mash-up of an inertial negator plugin as proof of concept without any energy requirements etc.

Single Ion engine to orbit :D

MoXP2F2.png

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Cool!

Having done that do you think the overall concept is possible? I'm imagining the evolution from sounding rockets to manned ships to space stations to Duna missions to SSTO interplanetary motherships and it's giving me the shivers :)

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I like this concept, partly because I'm very interested in the theory that inertia is a property of the quantum vacuum. I think the best way to do this would be to drain the mass of a ship on a percentage basis (slash the masses of all parts by a percentage technically) corresponding to an exponentially increasing power curve, so you end up with exponentially more power required for every bit of mass, would be done even better if it was asymptotic (would prevent a lot of bugs).

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Yeah that would make sense; I think the energy bit works well with the KSPI generators or (is it near future propulsion?) other mods that have generator-type parts.

I'm just thinking in broad strokes on how to balance the equation for inertial negation, because, say, if I propelled a 1t object at you with whatever force, but then turned off inertial negation which made it a 1.5t object, and we assume that instead of slowing down it just retains velocity, then it'd have more kinetic energy than when it started. What you're saying about equating power usage to mass makes sense in this case :)

Then you get to thinking, if the purpose of this is to improve efficiency of engines, then a smart player wouldn't always leave it on. They'd just use it for burns, and then turn it off.

I like this concept, partly because I'm very interested in the theory that inertia is a property of the quantum vacuum.

Is there any literature on this kind of stuff? It's a .... concept.

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I've been thinking about this idea for a while myself and decided to look for a thread about it before making a request of my own, which brought me here. I notice it's been a while since the last post in this thread and would be interested to know if any progress has been made.

An interesting mechanic I noticed in this game a while ago, was that if you have a ship in orbit somewhere with most of it's fuel spent, and you then use Hyper Edit to instantly refill all the fuel, you're ship experiences a sudden decrease in velocity as the forces of gravity pull harder on your ship due to the substantial new mass you've just cheated in.

Seeing this effect reminded me of a Sci-Fi series in which spaceships tend to slow down rapidly without the use of reverse thrusters or something similar. I always thought of this as the writers neglecting certain aspects of physics in favor of providing a better spectacle. But then I thought about it, and the series does use Inertial Dampners as an excuse for a large number of things. So I realized that if they turned off or turned down their Inertial Dampner systems, it would in fact cause the ship to slow down without having to use reverse thrusters. I don't know if the writers actually went by that idea(it's likely they didn't based on their track record of other things in the series), but it does work out. The Inertial Dampners reduce the mass of the vessel, and so by reducing their effect the vessel would gain mass and experience a greater pull from gravity.

Why they turn down the Inertial Dampners at certain arbitrary points, as well as any kind of direct correlation between mass of the ship, it's speed, and nearby celestial bodies that would be exerting meaningful gravitational force are never addressed at all. So if they have the technology for Inertial Dampners, then I can forgive them some aspects of their depiction of space travel, of course a lot of Sci-Fi series tend to gloss over the more technical details of their technology because it wouldn't appeal to most people. I'm not talking about waving the magical science wand, but actual theoretical or actual concepts they could have used to explain certain technologies.

Anyways, I went off on a tangent there. The point is. I'd really like to see an Inertial Dampner mod in KSP, something that reduces the overall mass of the entire vessel it's attached to in proportion to how much energy is used. Also, if you add it to the Intersellar mod tech-tree, I think it should come after Warp Drive research, or at the same time if you can't extend the tree further easily. Afterall, in real life there are some possible theories for warp-drives, but to the best of my knowledge, Inertial Dampners as seen in Science Fiction are still very much in the "completely magical" part of sci-fi technologies.

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Just to throw an idea in:

They say (= according to standard modell of particle physics) the Higgs boson gives all particles their mass. So if you are somehow able to manipulate these bosons couldn't you build some kind of inertia dampener?

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Just to throw an idea in:

They say (= according to standard modell of particle physics) the Higgs boson gives all particles their mass. So if you are somehow able to manipulate these bosons couldn't you build some kind of inertia dampener?

This is not entirely true. The higgs field gives all particles that are governed by the strong nuclear force. For everything that uses the weak nuclear force, such as EM waves and electrons, no one knows.

Edit: You wouldn't be manipulating the bosons themselves either. More likely you would be manipulating the field around an object to change the amount resistance(and therefore mass) it experiences. If you could manipulate the the field, then you could definitely manipulate the mass that objects have. Don't even think about negative mass though, that's another beast entirely(I think).

Citation: Undergrad in Physics - stay a little skeptical and doublecheck me por favor. Thanks.

Edited by How2FoldSoup

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