What shape would real spaceships tend to have?

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

  1. The Esotericist Getting the message to Garcia Valued Senior Member


    Ah ha, here is the crux of the issue. I believe the shape of real spaceships primarily have to do with the amount of technology by the civilization that has created it. Even within our own civilization, our space vehicles look radically different depending on which political/economic entity is in charge of constructing them and depending on the amount of technology they have access to.

    Indeed, the mainstream media would have us all believe that the publicly funded space agencies of the world are the only ones creating space craft, and that the world's population has access to the most advanced and sophisticated of these technologies.

    Why would the power elites ever let more advanced technologies out of the box to compete with their own ambitions in cosmos?

    Research an already confirmed to exist international program code named, "Solar Warden."

    Great article, well researched. http://hubpages.com/hub/solar-warden-update-possible-alternate-space-program-confirmed
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  3. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
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  5. hardalee Registered Senior Member

    I'm not sure they "self assist" in motion, but rather fly further due to presence or absence of "vortex shedding", the separation or retention of the air at the balls surface . It has been proven the dimpled surface will fly further, so the only diffrence must be how the air at the surface interacts with the ball.

    Anyway, a dimpled space craft would be nicer to look at.

    A further thought would be two spheres, one with the power unit at the rear to keep it away from the crew as illustrated in similar posts.
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  7. MicroCubedX3 Registered Member

    when I said self assist I really was saying as the golf ball moves through the air it breaks the air in such a way that uses the air it brakes to push on the back side creating forward thrust.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  8. hardalee Registered Senior Member

    I don't think any foward thrust is created by the dimples, just less drag from the turblent wind they cause. Maybe we are saying the same thing in diffrent ways.

    Anyway, it dosen't matter. Dimples, as you say, are probably a good idea.

    Thank you for the information.
  9. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    Thus, the U.S.S. Titleist:

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  10. MicroCubedX3 Registered Member

    I'm not arguing just trying to be informative but do the research and you will find out that thrust is created.
  11. hardalee Registered Senior Member

    I have. I googled the dynamics of a golf ball before replying.

    Thank you.
  12. Parablue Registered Member

    I believe we can't fully reference present NASA space vessels as we are speculating base on what real spaceships will look like in the future, once space travel becomes common..
    But I believe several points should retain from guessing probabilities..
    1) As someone stated, the engine core should be further away from the bridge/living quarters, as much as Warp technology or whatever is involved, space engines will still be dangerous to live close to case of malfunctions or attacks from enemy ships
    2) Aerodynamic shapes will still be better for space/atmosphere travel
    3) Someone stated about spherical due to rotation of gravity, which really depends on how artificial gravity would work. However, I think a spherical shape will be less useful for many other purposes. If I believe artificial gravity will be made in a similar concept as electromagnetic technology, there will speculatively be connecting nodes at different points of the ship to induce artificial gravity, thus it won't require to be spherical
    4) As no one has mentioned, warships would probably be needed to be designed for better placements of space turrets. Polygonic shapes, at their tip points, would have better placements for these turrets, lest the fact that it would be also great to conceal the turrets, so enemy ships will have difficulties disabling your cannons. My best speculation is that the weapons area will require the most shielding, as well as the engines, so I believe weapons and engines (with probably highest radiation), would possibly be furthest away from crew quarters/bridge.
    5) Warp technology if based on theory of relativity, might not have any effect on the shape, but then again, I would not know yet.
    6) Travelling through Nebulas will still involve aerodynamic shapes, as gas still has friction, moreover friction becomes more intense with higher speeds
    7) Travelling through asteroid belts might require pointed shapes to prevent collisions

    If the strong hull is at the front, sides, top and bottom, like huge shields in a roman formation, with cannon turrets between polygonic pivotal points (between gaps), and engine at the back. Crew quarters/bridge would probably be in the center, hidden behind the huge shields, away from the engines. I can imagine something like a squid without the tails, yet having inlays for cannon turrets. More pointed for those travelling through asteroid belts, more aerodynamic for those travelling through atmospheres/nebulas, more squarish/rectangular for those housing people/transportation. While exploration/science vessels would have their own research define their shape.
  13. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Why is an aerodynamic shape required for travel in a vacuum? And do you envisage several thousand(?) tonnes of ship entering an atmosphere and landing?

    Artificial gravity? And yet a sphere is the most efficient shape for enclosing a given volume...

    Er, cannon? A weapon that can achieve a maximum of around 2,000 metres per second for use against spaceships?

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    What sort of combat ranges are you envisioning? And why do you think that (relatively) cheap technology should be better armoured than the crew, flight controls and life support?

    What sort of speeds do you think they'll reach?

    Pardon? Surely avoiding a collision is the best way to "prevent a collision".
  14. Parablue Registered Member

    'Why is an aerodynamic shape required for travel in a vacuum? And do you envisage several thousand(?) tonnes of ship entering an atmosphere and landing?'

    Aerodynamic shape I believe wouldn't be required for a vacuum, I believe. But space is still very much a mystery to us. If Warp technology is invented, travelling on course thru gaseous Nebulas or any other foreign bodies may require an aerodynamic shape to best suffice. However, if travelling down into planetary atmospheres and landing, I believe, may be required dependent on the purpose of the ship. Example, transport ships landing for tranportation purposes, or maybe, battleships travelling down for planetary attacks..???

    'Artificial gravity? And yet a sphere is the most efficient shape for enclosing a given volume...'

    Dependent on how the technology will be based on. From what I can conceive, I can imagine electromagnetic G force as a means of simulating gravity. I'm imagining lattice conductors used as plating at several partitions of the ship or per room levels to induce gravity, rather than a spherical force.

    'Er, cannon? A weapon that can achieve a maximum of around 2,000 metres per second for use against spaceships? What sort of combat ranges are you envisioning? And why do you think that (relatively) cheap technology should be better armoured than the crew, flight controls and life support?'

    I can only imagine scifi movies, photonic cannons, phasers, quantum topedos etc etc... Question is whether these weapons will have radiation involve, and if that's the case, it might be important to position them away from crew quarters etc. And if a battle ensues, the enemy ship most likely might target the weapons or the engine 1st, that's why shielding is required.

    'What sort of speeds do you think they'll reach?'

    I believe Warp capabilities, dependent on how high is the technology.

    'Pardon? Surely avoiding a collision is the best way to "prevent a collision".'

    Facing asteroid belts, why would a ship prefer to enter into them. From movies, possibilities I can think of are mining purposes, battle scenarios where ships hide in belts to make repairs or escape etc etc..
  15. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I think that's only true if radiation is an issue. If it's not it may not matter much. At the energy levels required for interstellar travel there likely won't be any minor malfunctions.

    In many cases very NON aerodynamic shapes will have advantages for interstellar travel. A thick flat plate in front of the vehicle could provide a buffer for erosion from interstellar dust. Another example would be the field coils for a ramscoop to collect fuel during interstellar travel.

    Spheres maximize the internal volume for a given surface area, and generally maximize enclosed space for a given amount of structure. If you assume constant moderate acceleration you don't need to deal with spinning (or more esoteric artificial gravity methods.)

    That makes a lot of assumptions - that you need guns with barrels, that they need to have two axes of external rotation etc. Look at a typical stealth aircraft; they have orders of magnitude more destructive power than a World War II bomber, but no turrets.
  16. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Parablue, I know this thread has drifted slightly from the idea of "real" spaceships, but if you're going to introduce things like warp travel and artificial gravity through EM etc, then you're quickly heading into the realm of fantasy, at which point it is somewhat pointless to discuss things, as someone can turn round and say "not an issue as we have Fantasy Tech No. 214".

    Personally I don't think you'd go too far wrong viewing spaceships along the same lines as current submarines, but they wouldn't land on planets. Combat will be much along the lines of tracking things on sonar, and with the wonderful complexity of having to play chess with the orbital mechanics.

    At inter-stellar speeds even spotting another ship as you hurtle around at a reasonable fraction of "c" is remote, let alone stopping to have a chat with them, a cup of tea, and then trading weapon barrages.
    Bear in mind that the nearest star (not including the sun) is 4.3 LY away, which is roughly 4x10^13 km... 40,000,000,000,000 km. Even for a 1km long ship, this is like a WW2 destroyer (c.100m long) trying to find another ship in a sea the equivalent of one that is 600 million times the size of the Atlantic, while travelling at speeds - even at just 0.1c - that would see them move 30,000 km per second. And with warp tech this would be much quicker still.

    So my point is merely to be careful with what you assume, as it might push things further and further from what might be even remotely "real".
  17. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

    This is my ship. The Dark Matter Torch. It makes space into a void that allows ships to travel faster than light.

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  18. Parablue Registered Member

    It's an interesting topic.. and I like to be involved with this conversations though my science may not be in-depth enough beyond the scope of sci-fi movies..

    Sarkus said:
    => The next question will be the technology of teleportation, whereby if ships were needed to transport material, people or attack means, whether teleportation would be a secure enough means that we don't get our lungs in our heads when we travel down. Though of cos, dependent on whether Warp technology is discovered earlier than teleportation or vice versa.

    Sarkus said:
    I don't believe tracking other ships will be based on Sonar, sound signals are too slow for interstellar communications/tracking. Though light photons may be better means of detection, if Warp technology were to be invented, I believe Warp detection mediums may be used.

    Billvon said:
    So far our science has shown that the higher technology a source of fuel is being used, the more dangerous it is. Fission technology cars are being experimented on at this moment, but yet not considered safe enough to be used, as we won't want every car on our streets to be another possible atom bomb. But if one day, science discovers a new more effective fuel with little side effects, that might change.

    Billvon said:
    A thick flat plate is definitely not the most cohesive shape to faster travel, but may provide a stronger armor plating, though this speculation is that we are using hard alloys to defend our hulls. Comets travel with a thick crust of ice around their bodies and they are normally smooth at their most pivotal angles. If ramscoop is being used to collect interstellar dust as fuel, I may believe that front hull designs may look like the 'Libra' symbol, where the scoop is along the side tails.

    Billvon said:
    That does make sense, though it won't be exciting to see ships in space as ping-pong balls..our planets/suns/comets are like spheres, and it's only natural to believe spaceships will be the same. Still, base on this theorem, why wouldn't our city buildings be spherical or circular in shape, which points to the fact that it ain't easy to build hard circular walls, so if hard alloy metals are being used, it won't be easy to bend them to be circular too, and would you feel comfortable to stay in a circular room??

    Billvon said:
    I agree here. There may not be a need for turrets, there may be multiple connecting nodes of firing points on the ship's hull that allows firing from many angles. Though there may still be a need to protect these nodes from the constant erosion that may occur due to interstellar travel. A starship captain won't like the idea of falling out of Warp in a battle scenario only to find all his weapons disabled due to travelling. If EM shielding technology (may not be EM) is engaged, they may be allocated to protect the nodes more.
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    You misunderstood me - I was suggesting something analogous to sonar, given the fairly obvious limitation of soundwaves not travelling through the vacuum of space.

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  20. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Off into woo-woo land I see.

    Sarkus wrote along the lines of tracking things on sonar
    Sonar won't work in space.

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    Pardon? Sound signals don't travel at all in space.

    Er, shape is irrelevant in space.

    Nope. Any scoop would need to be well out in front.

    Apples and oranges. Cities are (effectively) built on a 2D plane.

    Absolute rubbish.


    More woo-woo speculation.

    1 Any ship with a power plant, or even one without but with life support, will radiate massive amounts of heat. You can't hide in space.
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's what I mean. If you're about to experience an energy release on the order of an hydrogen bomb, it doesn't matter if you are 100 meters from it or sitting on it.

    True, but presumably excitement will not be a primary driving factor in spacecraft design.

    Because it's easier to build rectangular buildings, and they don't have to hold pressure or enclose the maximum possible volume.

    Sure. One of my tents is essentially a dome.

    1) Stealth aircraft launch either guided (missile) or unguided (shells) weapons exclusively and seem to do OK

    2) Warfare at interstellar distances will be so different than anything we understand now that it's hard to even guess at what will work. For example, dust will likely be an extremely effective weapon.
  22. Parablue Registered Member

    That's the idea... Guess as been defined by you guys, it's still a pure speculation how real spaceships would look like.. it all depends on the functions required, and those functions are dependent on the technology requirements which we have no idea what it is since we haven't invented anything of that sort yet.

    Why is the maximum possible volume the most important factor?? Care to explain???

    Don't think they will be using missiles or shells.. I believe it will be some sort of energy weapon. Any speculations of what requirements an energy weapon would need?

    You sure??? I'm no science expert, but I wonder how does NASA communicate with their astronauts in space via audio..??

    Yet undiscovered factor... if you are looking at how our present space crafts are moving, yes, shape is irrelevant. But yet, none of our space crafts ever traveled through Nebulas or many other phenomenas in space. And our space crafts are so obsolete, hardly defining a future space vessel. As imagined, interstellar space travel should be involving Warp technology, but again, what is Warp, an undiscovered invention, what kind of shape design would be required for such technology?? Thinking along those lines, can you speculate what possible factors?? How about EM waves in space, or ion storms, how will they affect??

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  23. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Um, it's required to function as a spaceship.

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    And if you bother checking missiles are probably more likely to be used. Try looking at SFCONSIM-L sometime. Or are you hand-waving again and relying on fictional technology?

    That's becoming apparent.

    Via []i]radio[/i]. Or do you think they shout?


    Um, what do you think gas densities are inside a nebula?

    Once again you're dragging the topic away from the actual subject, which is real space craft. So far "warp drives" remove the ship from the actual universe so they wouldn't encounter objects anyway...

    Er, to catch the maximum material and feed it into the propulsion system before the ship gets to where the material is. Plus, of course, the fact that the scoop would be an electromagnetic field (possibly/ probably) thousands of kiolmetres in diameter and it's best to keep that sort of thing away from a ship full of sensitive electronics and people.

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