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Zero-G Flight Characteristics Explained?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:15 am    Post subject: Zero-G Flight Characteristics Explained? Reply with quote

In another topic, the following remark was made:
lurker wrote:
Ok, part of me wants to scream at how of base (science & physics wise) that stuff is However, as we are talking about 'living dead' in a universe that has FTL travel, swords of light, ships that track with flight characteristics in the void of space, I'll suspend that little bit of reality.


In a universe where gravity manipulation technology can neutralize thousands of G's of acceleration, plus replicate a normal 1G environment within a gravity neutral bubble inside that massive acceleration, couldn't localized gravity also be used as a maneuvering system, using directional gravity fields to manipulate the course of a ship by bending its course in the desired direction? Maneuvering systems of this type would mimic atmospheric flight characteristics, much like what we see in the films.
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Leon The Lion
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Zero-G Flight Characteristics Explained? Reply with quote

crmcneill wrote:
In a universe where gravity manipulation technology can neutralize thousands of G's of acceleration, plus replicate a normal 1G environment within a gravity neutral bubble inside that massive acceleration, couldn't localized gravity also be used as a maneuvering system, using directional gravity fields to manipulate the course of a ship by bending its course in the desired direction?

It could. But then, why would they need the ion engines, instead of using the gravity manipulation to not only turn but also directly drive the ship?

Don't get me wrong, it's a neat idea. But for me personally, it basically trades one set of disbelief suspension problems for another, and one I have a much harder time to deal with to boot.

I'm perfectly fine with hand-waving away the way starships move like airplanes as just a setting/genre convention. But when you try to logically explain it with this gravity manipulation idea, I go into full LOGIC mode and demand to know why they still use ion engines instead of going full gravity drive. Because if the proposed "gravity rudder" is able to produce, practically instantly, a directed gravity field powerful enough to capture the ship and curve it's trajectory even at the thousands of G's of accel it's pulling, then it absolutely should also be able to produce one strong enough to accelerate the ship in a straight line at those same thousands of G's. It's a vectors thing, I believe. And I just can't hand-wave this away.

That's just the way my brain is wired, sorry. But don't let me rain on your parade. Like I said, it's a neat idea, and probably the best way of explaining the "airlpanes in space" effect without going into some wierd exotic pseudo-science direction, like bringing back Aether.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if it does both? What if the ion drives work in concert with the gravity based system to produce the kinds of massive acceleration implicit in the system? Maybe the drives not only provide thrust, but generate power to run the gravity system, which then works in concert with the ion drive to make the ship accelerate even faster than it would be able to with just one or the other drive?
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Leon The Lion
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, why do this? Both engines need fuel/energy. What then is the advantage of going with this mixed system, instead of installing bigger / more engines of a single type?

And if the grav engine is too weak by itself to push the ship to full speed, it is logically also too weak by itself to turn the ship quick enough when it runs at said full speed. Vectors again.

You could go with ion engines being like the combustion engines on water ships or cars or jet engines on aircraft, in thet they not only directly propel the craft but are also tapped to produce electricity for everything else on it...

Except it means re-writing some of the setting, because we know starships have not only ion engines, but also separate power cores / reactors. Which I always took to mean that it's the reactors which produce power for all systems, including the ion engines, and the ion drives only turn this power into propulsion.

Not that I'm averse to re-writing the setting. This is just a change I don't feel like making myself, being perfectly happy with hand-waving the "airplanes in space effect" like I am.

But it could totally work. If you need the ion engine anyway to provide power for all the other systems as a side effect to providing propulsion, then it's not illogical at all to leave most of the straight line propulsion duties to it, and only use the grav drive for maneuvers.
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Last edited by Leon The Lion on Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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atgxtg
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's possible (at least from a Staw Wars tech standpoint). But it probably ins't practical.

For starters canceling gravity probably works by using soem sort of sensor to measure the G force and then applying an opposing force to neutralize it. This would require very fast computers that could predict what the changes would be so that it could counter the G forces before the flight crew got slammed into the walls during a turn.

Now if you wanted to generate artificial G fields to move the ship, the crew would also be subjected to them, and so the G changes would either have to be relatively minor (in Star Wars terms) or the crew would get get thrown into the walls and up up as jam.

For this to be practical, they would need to generate two G fields. One to move the ship, and a second one to neutral the effect inside the ship in order to protect the crew. Or they could just use an ion engine!
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Leon The Lion
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

atgxtg wrote:
Now if you wanted to generate artificial G fields to move the ship, the crew would also be subjected to them, and so the G changes would either have to be relatively minor (in Star Wars terms) or the crew would get get thrown into the walls and up up as jam.

For this to be practical, they would need to generate two G fields. One to move the ship, and a second one to neutral the effect inside the ship in order to protect the crew. Or they could just use an ion engine!

Um... No?

It does not matter what is actually accelerating the ship, a gravity engine or ion engine. Ion engines do not magically ignore inertia. The crew will be affected by the G-forces - be thrown into the walls and end up as jam - either way.

For that not to happen, the ship needs an inertial dampener. Which we know SW ships have. And which is pretty much exactly what you are describing here:

atgxtg wrote:
For starters canceling gravity probably works by using soem sort of sensor to measure the G force and then applying an opposing force to neutralize it. This would require very fast computers that could predict what the changes would be so that it could counter the G forces before the flight crew got slammed into the walls during a turn.

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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leon The Lion wrote:
But it could totally work. If you need the ion engine anyway to provide power for all the other systems as a side effect to providing propulsion, then it's not illogical at all to leave most of the straight line propulsion duties to it, and only use the grav drive for maneuvers.

That's mostly what I was thinking. After all, not all of the smaller ships have both reactors and drives (specifically the starfighters).
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vanir
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is you see, gravity isn't a force anymore, it's curved spacetime. The difference between this and what you're saying is with or without "intertial dampeners" or artificial gravity, or some kind of gravimentric nullification field, the starship is still going to act just like what you see them do in BSG. It's really just the crew within the inertial frame which can experience the effects of these technologies.
ie. star wars space movement and combat is filmed like it's atmospheric as in within a field with very real fluid dynamics to work with.

BSG starfighter movement is the best screen example of good science for starship combat and movement. Just emulate that.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except that's not what we see in the films. Who cares whether it is a force or curved space time if the effect is the same? Spacecraft in real life use large gravity fields (planets) to alter their course, regardless of what physics says about the fine print of gravity. In a universe where technology can simulate those large gravity fields without a planet being present, I'm simply taking it one step further.
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vanir
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I'm saying is the spacecraft in star wars do not move anything like gravity being involved other than to provide typical atmospheric flight forces (thrust/drag, lift/weight). The star wars spacecraft move using fluid dynamics, they move like they're in an atmosphere.

ie. they move as if using fluid dynamics, not power over gravity.

ie.2. to explain the SWU spacecraft movement you would have to use a theory involving "space is an ether", which was actually greek era thought (which carried into mediaeval science through catholicism, it was heresy to challenge greek science under catholic rule in times past...which was actually how precepts like the earth being the centre of the universe were justified and of course challenging those was heresy, so that's how all that happened but that's neither here nor there). Oh hey as an interesting sidenote, asian philosophies like tibetan mysticism and warrior-priest shugenja mikkyo (secrets of enlightenment) are actually based on greek science too, you see christianisation never fully happened in asia but trade with the greeks did so asiatic mythologies and religions or beliefs are probably the most accurate window into the ancient world view among the classical civilisations that exists in the world today, better than archaeology by a long shot. Some Japanese monk traditions have unbroken teachings for over a thousand years of blood relatives inheriting the beliefs and their scrolls listing it all. It's literally an archaeological gold mine, old asian traditional libraries and museums and things like that. You can actually meet someone who thinks exactly like an ancient greek era celtic shaman, and listen to him explain it all to you. Anyhoo "space is an ether" which means it acts like an atmosphere. That's super old school, that's SWU spacecraft movement. It's "take a balloon to the moon" Jules Verne kind of stuff.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And again, in its most basic form, if a spacecraft traveling in a straight line in space passes near a gravity well (as caused by a moon, planet or star) its course will be affected by that gravity well, in effect bending towards the center of said gravity well. Modern spacecraft have used this technique for navigational purposes (the Apollo moon landings and the Voyager spacecraft tours through the solar system are the biggest examples), but only using naturally existing gravity wells as our technology lacks the ability to manipulate gravity (or even fully understand its true nature).

The inhabitants of the SWU, on the other hand, are far more technologically advanced, with a much deeper understanding of gravity and how to manipulate it (repulsorlifts, artificial gravity, gravity well projectors, etc). Since they have the technological know-how to create gravity fields without naturally occurring gravity wells being present, and gravity is a known technique for altering a ship's course in zero gravity (and since no other ready explanation exists for why ships in zero-gravity can turn the way the ships in Star Wars do), I fail to see why the distinction between fluid dynamics and power of gravity matters.

After all, in the case of artificial gravity, you are in essence creating a linear gravitational pull in a single direction (i.e. down towards the deck plates). Taken to the next step, an artificial gravity field generator can create a linear "slope" in any direction, causing anything within the field of said slope to slide in the direction dictated by the slope. The steepness of the slope would then be dictated by the strength of the gravity field being generated (i.e. an 8G field would result in a tighter turn than a 1G field). When combined with forward movement generated by the ships engines, the result would be like what we see in the SW films, where spacecraft traveling in a straight line "bend" their course to a new one without using the Babylon 5 starfighter approach.
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