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Old September 25 2008, 05:49 AM   #1
sojourner
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OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

This is part of my personal science fiction setting. The ship is the first manned test bed that has been fitted out with the new Grav-well drive. The gravwell drive works by generating a steep gradient at the front of the ship and a negative gradient at the rear of the ship. This creates a sloped region of space around the ship propelling it forward at near C velocities. Needless to say this revolutionizes travel throughout the sol system and allows for the first short distance interstellar expeditions. This is not an inertia-less drive and therefore acceleration must be limited to G forces that the human body can tolerate.

The parabolic dishes at each end of the ship are the well generators with power provided by polywell fusion reactors built into the goldfoil packed rings just inboard of the generators. There are 4 crew modules, 1 docking/airlock module and an 8 man launch fitted with powerful fusion engines to use as a lifeboat if something should go wrong. Note that the ship would use constant acceleration to generate gravity which means the decks are laid out perpendicular to the length of the ship. The modules are obviously not laid out in the best orientation to take advantage of this, then again, this is only a testbed and has probably been reused from other applications. A purpose built ship would be more efficient.

12 years after this ship validates the concept, another test bed working on refinements to the system will inadvertantly have a near catastrophic failure that will lead to the discovery of the gravwell allowing true FTL travel.....




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Old September 25 2008, 06:29 AM   #2
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

I love the look ... this is a ship that demands its engineers put on spacesuits and get their hands in a vacuum once in a while!

sojourner wrote: View Post
This is not an inertia-less drive and therefore acceleration must be limited to G forces that the human body can tolerate.
Hmmm ... wouldn't the g-forces felt by the occupants be the same as any body pulled to a greater gravitational body; that is, free-fall? Instead of g-forces being the limitation, the close association of positive and negative gradients probably causes unusual tidal effects that present an upper limit for ship and crew.
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Old September 25 2008, 02:19 PM   #3
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

My thought on the effects of g-forces is the exact opposite of Psion's, but for similar reasons (if that makes any sense).

If the gravwell is pulling space forward (bending space towards the ship) and pushing space away from the back of the ship (bending space away from the ship), then the spot in between the two gravitation forces is, in essence, at a standstill. It isn't that the ship is moving through space, but that space is moving toward the bow of the ship and away from the stern of the ship.

If I had ANY artistic ability whatsoever, I would try to draw what I am trying (and failing) to explain.

Of course, if your fan fic requires the use of g force limitations, then by all means, use it. Just an alternative view for you to ponder.

BTW, the concept is very well presented in terms of it having some semblance of actual science ability. NASA said that something like this might allow for FTL travel, and even had an artist's rendition of what it might look like. Although I can't find it now. I am sure someone else on this board has a link to it, since I saw it here first.

Also, the art looks great. Can't wait to see more. What art program are you using?
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Old September 25 2008, 03:51 PM   #4
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

Good posts, thanks for the comments!
two notes on the drive:
1. the gravity gradients created are fairly short range, barely reaching the "power rings" of the ship. This is one of the reasons they used a push/pull arrangement, to reduce stress on the ship. The bulk of the ship is in flat space.
hmmmm, just noticed a flaw in my architecture. Why not just have a unit push from the back? why is the pull unit there? I know why I put it there for the FTL application, but why would these researchers be using 2 units in a push/pull arrangement just for testing of normal space applications?
2. What was a going to say? arggh, lost my train of thought. Oh well, will think on it and post more later.

p.s. is it "fan fiction" if the setting is original? or is it the "Next Great Novel" waiting to be written?
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Old September 26 2008, 01:02 AM   #5
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

Don't want to rain on your parade, but you might want to pick up Michael Kube-McDowall's "Trigon Disunity" novels. The gravity-well ships in those books are virtually identical to yours, both in general layout and function. There's even the same Pushme-pullyou" reference to Dr Doolittle.

http://www.sff.net/people/K-Mac/emprise.htm

Not to belittle what you're doing. The overall concept is cool, and well executed. It's just that you've stumbled on an idea that's been done before, which you may want to look into for copyright reasons, particularly if you intend for your story to be more than "fanfic".
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Old September 26 2008, 02:17 AM   #6
sojourner
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

chardman wrote: View Post
Don't want to rain on your parade, but you might want to pick up Michael Kube-McDowall's "Trigon Disunity" novels. The gravity-well ships in those books are virtually identical to yours, both in general layout and function. There's even the same Pushme-pullyou" reference to Dr Doolittle.

http://www.sff.net/people/K-Mac/emprise.htm

Not to belittle what you're doing. The overall concept is cool, and well executed. It's just that you've stumbled on an idea that's been done before, which you may want to look into for copyright reasons, particularly if you intend for your story to be more than "fanfic".
I have read those books actually, and they were the inspiration for my setting. My version will be different in some aspects and the same in others. Just as many books use versions of hyperspace, warp drive, jump drive, wormholes, etc; I don't think it will be a problem.
The good thing about a copyright is it protects the copying of portions and/or all of the text. (somebody correct me if I am grossly off base here) Taking a single idea from the book is not against copyright . (though carefully re-worded copies of the original story could also be trouble)

My setting is actually closer to Piper's Terro-human future history. I just decided I liked this form of drive system better, so I transplanted it.

Besides, you know the old saying "Good artists copy, Great artists steal"
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Last edited by sojourner; September 26 2008 at 02:21 AM. Reason: added content
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Old September 29 2008, 06:10 AM   #7
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

What, the Dillingham drive wasn't good enough?

BTW, this thread may end up being moved - it's really more of a 'tech' thread than an art one. I'll give it a day or two and see how it shapes up.
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Old September 29 2008, 09:06 AM   #8
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

i like this ship it's pretty good,
justa quick question are you by any chance using googles sketch up program?, if so then it inspires me to experiment with the program a bit more.
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Old September 30 2008, 12:06 AM   #9
sojourner
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Re: OT - Prototype Gravity well drive

yeah, I have been playing with sketchup for about a month now. I tried blender a couple times but could not wrap my head around it.
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