What shape would real spaceships tend to have?

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by s0meguy, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. s0meguy Worship me or suffer eternally Valued Senior Member

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    In science fiction, space ships are often in some kind of aerodynamic shape, like real world airplanes. But this doesn't make sense, since there's no counteracting force like the resistance caused by air, on earth.

    So what'd you think the shape of real spaceships would be like? circular, to rotate the ship in flight to generate gravity?
     
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  3. jmpet Valued Senior Member

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    I always imagine one as the Empire State Building in space. You'd need many floors to house etc. the occupants and a small bridge at the head. And of course a propulsion source on the back end.
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I'd think that no "spaceship" would be needed once a wormhole can be opened and used to travel anywhere in the universe.

    The type of spaceship that those who need to use one would all depend upon what their species would require in order to have it useful for them.

    For humans of today any design that they could survive within would be just fine and there's thousands of designs.If you want to see some Google spaceship designs.
     
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    You'd still need a ship to get to and from the wormhole.

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  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Depends upon what is on the "other" side where you are visiting wouldn't it? If the place where you went through the wormhole was a similar type of planet that you are already living on, you shouldn't need a spaceship there. The time it would take you to travel through a wormhole would be instantaneously wouldn't it?
     
  9. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    Um, a wormhole is (probably) due to gravitational extremes.
    Not a good idea to have any of those near a planet.

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  10. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    By engineering a machine that could create a wormhole here on Earth would be one way to use a wormhole directly from here instead of trying to locate one in space.
     
  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    "Engineering" one doesn't avoid the extremes of gravity.
    Even worse, if we did, and then managed to locate one end here on Earth we'd have to account exactly for the relative motion and rotation of the end points...
    Wouldn't do to dial up for arrival in your office on Sigma Draconis IX and come out somewhere in deep space 'cos some idiot got the decimal point in the wrong place.

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  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    The thing to do would be send a robot to the dial up point and set up a second machine which could redial your home location. Have that robot do a search and data acquisition of wherever it is and then return home once it has done its investigation.
     
  13. Rhaedas Valued Senior Member

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    Well, duh...Stargates automatically compensate for all that.

    Oh, you mean in reality. Yeah, true.

    Back to the OP, a spaceship could have any type of shape, but of course there are factors that would give limitations. It would have to be structurally strong enough for the stress of accelerations, as well as any other movement, such as rotation for gravity if we aren't using the forward acceleration. There's also the bulk mass that would be needed for shielding from radiation, unless we can figure a way to do that through other means. But the shape could be lots of things, none of them particularly scifi looking.
     
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    It depends on what you want it to do. A ship purely for space could be any shape, square would be convenient. Artificial gravity requires some kind of rotating shape. If you want it to be able to land or fly around in an atmosphere, maybe it has to have some aerodynamic qualities.
     
  15. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    The "Heart Of Gold" spaceship was rather interesting:

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  16. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    Then there's the "Discovery":

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    Or the "Valley Forge" and her sister ships from Silent Running

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  17. Kel "Not all who wander are lost." Registered Senior Member

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    I think the reason that most old sci-fi ships are aerodynamic is because they were meant to enter atmosphere but if you are just hopping around the galaxy anything would work... oooh like the big cigar tube thimgies from the Dune novels.
     
  18. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    A ship could even end up looking something like this:

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  19. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    We'd have to melt the inside to hollow it out into a cylinder... and shave the outside for balance...
    And then add engines... but:

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  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Each one would adapt to its environment, payload and performance requirements. Spacecraft designed to operate partially within an atmosphere will be streamlined and compact. Spacecraft designed for human passengers will have thick pressure hulls with radiation shielding. Others might be huge sails that carry medium payloads very slowly. High energy spacecraft using nuclear reactors would likely be long and spindly to keep the reactor away from the payload.
     
  21. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I never really thought of them as aerodynamic so much as visually appealing to the audience. Secondly, they'd have to be straightforward and uncomplex, after all people have to navigate through them rapidly so they would take a logical shape to prevent excessive unnecessary movement. They'd essentially be a pretty basic boring box with minor extensions, I imagine.
     
  22. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Flesh Gordons spaceship was a very advanced design.

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  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    The hull of the ship has to be very thick and sturdy. So in order to economize on materials, maximize structural strength, reduce heat loss from radiation, and get the largest possible interior space, I think you'd want it to be spherical.
     

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