1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Can solar systems orbit one another?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Logos&Eidos, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. Logos&Eidos

    Logos&Eidos Sage

    304
    20
    18
    It's about the flavor man or women!:cool: and share a little about my self, this other worldly space filled with aether and islands go back to when I was preadolescent.

    I personally refuse to chooses between sword and laser so I'm bringing together elements of epic fantasy and space opera. I'd rather not just handwave stuff if I don't have to, because truth is stranger than fiction, seeing craft fight three dimensionally in nBSG and learning what a wormhole would actually look like, convinced me to go with the truth whenever possible.

    The aether is part of this weird other astrophysics that I've been working on and revising. Along with eruptions of energy and matter from the storm beneath the skein of the cosmos; and their being no stars because for whatever reason stellar scale nuclear fusion is just not a natural occurrence in this world. The current alternative to stars is a dense concentration of mineral that acts as window into the eternal-storm,allowing the heat and light to bleed into the world.


    A sort of aether breathing jet engine, is probably the dirt cheap bargain thruster that ships uses. The engime for people with the money or backing is the storm-engine,something pretty close to being a Quantum vacuum plasma thruster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia the engine's core create an aperture into the storm, the particles are captured compressed then expelled as plasma.

    Heat venting makes use of a material similar to the what's used in the storm-engine, only their structure has been inverted. they bleed energy out of this plane and into the storm.
     
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    I've used an interstellar medium before, albeit in a rather more "pure fantasy" setting, where if you wanted to reach the stars, you began by sailing your ship off the edge of the (flat) world… at which point adhering to normal physics became fairly rhetorical. :p

    The only reason to avoid using aether would be that you're complicating the physics you're otherwise trying to keep semi-close to real-world… so the question becomes whether the problems you create for yourself in the process are worth what you gain from it. Friction is only the most obvious of the possible difficulties. Another is transparency–the medium must be pretty much immune to excitation by photons, or else it would become too hot (and pressurized) for anything to traverse it, and insolation of planetary surfaces would be seriously problematic. Likewise, it would almost have to be electrically neutral and incapable of receiving a charge, as previously mentioned, or similar results would occur. Keeping a reasonably uniform distribution in the face of gravity might also be an issue… unless gravity has little or no effect on the aether, at which point you're starting to get really strange. Even friction could be problematic in less obvious ways: if ships need to cope with it, so does everything else moving through it… such as planets. Which is why I said you might end up with more difficulties than you consider worth it. But only you can answer that question.

    One way you might be able to utilize an aether is if it is composed of particles which are not present in condensed matter–but for which antiparticles are present in certain types of condensed matter, or at least can be produced from it by some reaction or other. The engine could then be powered by the annihilation of particle and antiparticle, the latter being stored as the ship's "fuel." Note that the ship itself–or at least its outer surface–cannot have such antiparticles as part of its composition: that would be a "bad" thing (as in the line from Ghostbusters :D ). If the aether particles are sufficiently exotic, they might not create much friction–and they could at any rate be fairly diffuse, since annihilation produces a pretty fair chunk of energy. Perhaps in your world some species of mesons, for example, have long-term stability. Or there are always neutrinos–which at least have the virtue of fitting all the other criteria from the previous paragraph… though finding a way to make use of those could lead down paths which are stranger still, simply because they meet all the criteria from the previous paragraph, and are thus pretty much impossible to manipulate through any method current science is familiar with. Still, one of these may provide a starting point for your alternate-world model. May still need some reaction mass; possibly, that could be nothing more than aether particles which are taken in but not annihilated. Just speculating.

    As for the quantum vacuum thruster: well, no reason you can't use that in a SF setting, even if it wouldn't work in the real world… and there are plenty of reasons to believe it might not. Starting with whether or not quantum vacuum fluctuations do in fact occur, or are only a misguided conclusion resulting from an incomplete theory of poorly-understood phenomena. You can probably guess which side of that argument I lean toward; still, I try to keep an open mind. For that matter, I could come up with at least a couple reasons the thruster might not work even if the theoretical underpinnings are correct (including one which could lead to an inevitable and spectacular failure, should anyone ever feel a need for a reason to rule such engines out rather than in). But this is fiction, so you can always play with it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
    Logos&Eidos likes this.
  3. Logos&Eidos

    Logos&Eidos Sage

    304
    20
    18
    I mentioned the the QVT because it's the closest real tech to the storm engine. A kind of zero-point energy engine would be even closer. Aside from the aesthetic the other purpose of the aether is to justify the close range slow speed combat shown commonly seen in space opera. The aether in addition to having quite a bit of friction, has a rather "minovsky particle" like effect, electromagnetic waves are scrambled as they move through the medium; no conventional long range communication,no active detection. Like a metallic dust the aether would make lasers very difficult to employ, it's not to kind to particle weapon either. ships use missiles and kinetic weapons. At low enough temperatures the aether will condense from a gaseous state to a liquid, in deep space away from the photosphere of a star/sky-fire the aether becomes dense and highly viscus fluid; while the aether cannot solidify it will gelatinize. This all adds to the http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceIsAnOcean space is an ocean [ /URL] feel as dose their being an abundance of aether born life.

    I never thought of the aether as something that mixed with the atmosphere of planets, one definitely can not breath it, though I'm not sure why maybe a planet's atmosphere somehow acts as buffer against it or it gives off an energy that repels aether?

    I never really considers using the aether as a fuel source, while antimatter tech is something I don't see being in wide spread use if it exist, matter degeneracy is. What is matter degeneration? Matter to energy conversion, though it's not one hundred percent efficient yet, a process for unbind the forces that hold matter together dose exist; it will work on any form of matter, though the device has to be calibrated for it. So yeah you could burn aether as fuel.
     
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    2,012
    292
    83
    Sounds like you're well on your way. Again, I'd warn that making the aether do what you have it do would also "scramble" a lot of other things–such as light from the star to its planets. I gather your "stars" aren't really stars, so possibly this has already been dealt with; still, having the aether disrupt lasers but not light from a "sky-fire" might leave you with "some 'splainin' to do" :D .

    One possibility: the aether is relatively transparent to some, possibly even most, e-m wavelengths, but blocks/reflects others. The reason short-wave radio works so well on Earth, for instance, is that the wavelengths it uses bounce off the ionosphere. I imagine lasers would be far less popular if the aether reflected their wavelengths… :eek: . Of course, lasers being light, it might be difficult to explain why local science doesn't simply use lasers which operate on wavelengths that would pass through the aether… though this might be answerable by saying that the aether, while allowing those wavelengths to pass, causes them to scatter. That way, the light from the star could still make its way to the planets–albeit in a Brownian-motion sort of fashion, much the same way as photons generated by stellar fusion make their way to the surface of the star before departing in straight lines–but coherent beams rapidly lose their coherence and thus their utility as weapons. (This may well be what you had in mind already… think it is, in fact, and I'm just describing the same thing in different terms.) Or, perhaps more simply, local tech has yet to develop lasers which can operate on all wavelengths, and the ones it has developed to date are the ones inconvenient for use in the aether. Alternately, or in addition, it might be reasonably easy to produce ship coatings which reflect or are otherwise relatively unaffected by those wavelengths which can pass the aether… making lasers possible but not particularly effective weapons, at least as far as targeting other ships: they may have defensive uses (more on that in a minute).

    Particle beams… probably would be better ignored, since it might be difficult to rule them out: friction would dissipate them, of course, but it would be simpler to say that nobody operates ships large enough to carry their own cyclotrons. (And consider how few particles a cyclotron accelerates anyway: they may be able to create nifty patterns in a bubble chamber, but their effect on a ship's hull would be too minimal even to measure.) This might be a weapon mountable on a death star… and if you want death stars with unique, devastating capabilities, hey, you've got an easy one here. I get the impression you aren't trending that direction. Maybe orbital defense bases could have them, if you really want to. Might even be a good choice, if the orbits are inside of whatever effect deflects the aether from the planet: they'd work there (as would lasers), but nowhere else. Keeps the combat from reaching planetary surfaces… which is a good thing.

    "No long range communication, no active detection" could get really ugly really fast: starships relying on naked-eye spotting and signal flags (heehee) are gonna be very wary of working up any speed at all, even outside of combat. In fact, especially outside of combat, since in combat the risks of going slow might exceed the minimal chance of catching an uncharted piece of whatever… or of colliding with the enemy. Or with another friendly. Conversely, the chances of two opposing ships locating one another in order to engage in combat will be pretty minimal–all but random (and with an astronomically [sic] low probability), apart from when they are in immediate proximity of planetary bodies. Of course, this may well be what you want: just mentioning it.

    Also, keep in mind that "active detection" includes spotting that stray asteroid/comet/aethercetera in time to avoid it. No matter how well you chart a system, you'll never know where everything is. Presumably, if the aether degrades (scatters) e-m signals rather than simply blocking them, you'd at least be able to use radar at short ranges–it just becomes increasingly unreliable as distance increases, ultimately reaching a point where noise exceeds signal: past that point, your radar returns a uniform signal, telling you you're enclosed in a solid sphere. (Now there's an image that would be disconcerting to anyone accustomed to the way radar works in the real world.… "Sir, I have a bulge in the surface, bearing 038 by 217.") Keep in mind, too, that if you want your missiles to be guided, they have to be guided by something: most options involve e-m, though there could be other possibilities (say, if the missile could follow the aetherial "wake" of its target, or home in on pressure differentials: essentially, aetherial passive sonar–and active sonar might be possible as well). And, to pass you a freebie idea I've long contemplated regarding the long-term feasibility and effects of space combat: debris salvage would likely be a very assiduously pursued industry… or else the multitude of ship fragments, spent missile stages, kinetic projectiles, etc. left behind from battle would rapidly make any travel unacceptably hazardous. (The kinetic projectiles, at least, might disintegrate from friction with the aether after a reasonably short distance, given their high speeds; the other items, not so much.) This is where you might profitably employ those lasers: they'd be useful in vaporizing most forms of space junk encountered at close range, and possibly incoming missiles if the requisite anti-laser coating is too bulky (or whatever) to be applied to missiles or other projectiles. And it will never be profitable to chase down and recover every last softball- or even trashcan-sized piece of debris: that level of operation would need to be subsidized by government or other entities interested in keeping their space clean enough for commerce to be possible. Assuming that's a consideration in the first place, at any rate.

    I'm guessing that the aether is simply not dense enough to "mix" with atmospheres: once it encounters a certain level of atmospheric pressure–or some other phenomenon, such as the magnetosphere–it gets pushed out of the way. My point was that if the aether creates friction, it will do so for planets (etc.) moving through it, so if you plan on getting detailed about orbital dynamics, you'd need to take that into account. My recommendation is to not reach for that level of detail about orbital dynamics, and just ignore this issue. ;) Of course, it could open other possibilities: the friction between the aether and the outer atmospheric layers might produce some pretty spectacular–and continuous–auroras. Another visual side-effect your aether might produce is, if you decide it is transparent to some e-m wavelengths, certain colors might be highlighted or absent. ("Oh, wow… everything is so, like, blue, dude!") Yet another, if you like the Brownian-motion notion of light traversing the aether, would be that night would never be completely dark: some light would be scattering off the aether onto the night side of the planet. (How much is entirely up to you. And, again, which colors. "Red by day, green by night.") Also, the planet shunting aside the aether would produce a bow shock and a turbulent wake… items you could use to make travel near large masses more, eh, "entertaining."

    You may well want the aether to be deflected by something other than the atmosphere per se, by the by… since friction would inevitably ablate matter away over the long term, no matter how minimal the immediate effect: this would result in gradual atmosphere loss for those bodies which had them. It will also result in gradual mass loss for bodies which do not have atmospheres–meaning everything in the system would have a particulate comet-like "tail," albeit a highly diffuse one. In other words, whatever problem friction causes for ships, it'll cause the same problem for everything else. This isn't necessarily a problem for you: like I said, take advantage of it to create some impressive visuals and unique navigation challenges.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
    Sheilawisz and Logos&Eidos like this.
  5. Logos&Eidos

    Logos&Eidos Sage

    304
    20
    18
    See this is why I talk to people. You and others have brought up things that i hadn't even taken into consideration.
    While the sky-fire is definately not a star, it's doing the same job. Bring up Brownian-motion is what i had in mind to put a real world scientific theory to it. I need the aether to mess with carrier waves and diffuse coherent beems but still allow heat and light to flow through it. My initial idea for how aetheric interference worked, was inspired by how the atmosphere diffuses lasers and limits the range of direct open air optical communication;just cranked way up to the point where using either was impractical.

    I do have a form of passive detection,it is for the time being gradar(gravametric detection and range). sensors listen for the ripples in space caused by moving objects and high-fidelity scopes what in all direction; until I can think of something better it's staying. I have some ideas about communication, mostly some sort of "hyperwave" and or bouncing singles through alternate dimension. a form of quatum-entanglement comm exist but it's only good for peer to peer communication,you cannot just hale somebody like on star trek.


    The space combat style where energy weapons are only used in close range, sounds allot like the space combat lore from MassEffect. And might just work for me, i never conceived of atheric beam diffusion as being complete just enough to make energy weapons rather impractical. Haven't ironed all the details yet but space combat in this world is closer to what's seen in nBSG than Star Wars or Star Trek; jump drive included. Beyond the night sky being pitch-silver instead of black I hadn't thought at all about what having an aether would do visually.
     
Loading...

Share This Page