Re: Technological Complexity/Interstellar Travel (was Re: This funny Rosswel bussiness)

Forrest Bishop (
Sun, 20 Jul 1997 16:36:28 -0500 (CDT)

Mark Grant wrote:

>So complexity may increase the effort required to maintain an aircraft,
>but has little bearing on reliability. And since much of that maintenance
>involves taking things off, looking at them, and putting them back on,
>built-in nanosensors could eliminate most of that.

Microsensor tech is moving very rapidly in this direction.

>> You can sheild a large part of it, but you are going to preserve the
>> areas of greatest sheilding for your crew, and with a mid course
>> turnaround, you've gotta have two sheilds, unless you can unhitch from
>> it and turn around and rehitch to the sheild at midcourse.

A central advantage of a nanotech spacecraft would be the ability to self-repair
in fight (see "The Starseed/Launcher",
This might also include repairing biologicals.

>You missed the point; the shield is just supposed to be a big hunk of junk
>which flies along in front of your ship and erodes when hit.

Im my proposal, a single shield is replaced with a "convoy" of shields
("point probes") and forward-looking sensors, rather than being 'dumb matter'.
Much less mass required, and the shields can serve other functions as well.
With sensors far enough ahead, it may be feasible to explosively disassemble
the starship to navigate around the larger obstacles, or simply create corridors
through the ship for smaller objects to pass through.

But you're
>right; you would have problems holding it in place while braking.

Could use "leapfrog" braking, or force beams to stand off the shields.
Alternatively, equip each separated portion with its own brakes.

I guess
>you'd just rely on the exhaust from your engines vaporising anything small
>before it hit you; if you hit anything big you're dead anyway, shield or
>no shield.

see above.

Forrest Bishop