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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old December 10 2014, 11:46 PM   #1
bolak
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Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

I was thinking about this tonight.

The structure of the station ( per Season 1 intro ) is 2.5 million tonnes of metal.

That is less than a third of the mass quoted for an Earthforce destroyer, so presumably excludes things like:

1. All that soil in the internal gardens*
2. Fusion reactors, deuterium fuel, power distribution grid etc
3. Atmospheric processing and ancillary machinery
4. Victuals and fuel for ships
5. Starfury squadrons
6. Humanoids, their food and their furnishings
7. Weapons, sensors, communication arrays


Thinking about all that I could easily see the total mass being at least ten times that of the structure.

Has anyone encountered any more precise guesstimates...?

* where did the soil originate I wonder?
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Old December 11 2014, 07:06 PM   #2
Dimesdan
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

Really rather jolly large.
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Old December 11 2014, 08:47 PM   #3
bolak
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?



Came across a 'reference' today that DS9 massed around 10.5 million tonnes.

Given that station is only slightly larger than a 'salami slice' across B5's cylinder, I'm starting to wonder if 2.5 billion tonnes is a more realistic structural mass for B5.

Perhaps Sinclair just fluffed his line when talking to ISN...
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Old December 11 2014, 09:03 PM   #4
Mark_Nguyen
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

Don't forget the mass of air. It's around 1.25 kg / cubic meter at 15 degrees C and one atm (look it up!), and B5 has a LOOOOOOT of air in the central structure.

And water. I'm guessing they didn't keep the station THAT bone dry, so there are probably several million of tons of water in the air and as part of the consumables.

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Old December 11 2014, 09:27 PM   #5
Marc
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

bolak wrote: View Post


Came across a 'reference' today that DS9 massed around 10.5 million tonnes.

Given that station is only slightly larger than a 'salami slice' across B5's cylinder, I'm starting to wonder if 2.5 billion tonnes is a more realistic structural mass for B5.

Perhaps Sinclair just fluffed his line when talking to ISN...
or JMS not thinking it through

When you also factor 250,000 people on board (say an average weight of 80kgs) = 20,000 tonnes.

(DS9 only had 10 - 20,000 iirc)

You have also the ships in that dock inside the the station, the Starfuries, the station's shuttles more than what a EF Destroyer could carry and it's all gonna add up.
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Old December 11 2014, 11:21 PM   #6
Mark_Nguyen
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

I remember thinking at the time that if B5 was a mere 2.5 million tons, and the Enterprise-D alone was FIVE million, what was the biggest differentiator?

The warp drive! For Trek in *general*, most people think that the warp nacelles are the heaviest parts of the ship (at least until Voyager). Applying that logic to another universe, it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that a ship's FTL drive (or jump point generator, or whatever) can take up an awful lot of a ship's mass.

The most obvious answer of course is that jms simply didn't think that part through, as we know he's made other technological oversights in the show. It's simply not reasonable to think that something THAT BIG would weigh so little for its size and volume. How to rationalize it? Well, how about Sinclair being specific to the actual METAL in the station's construction. The opening spiel could easily have been truncated from the following:

"Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, sixty-five billion tons of spinning nonmetallic alloys, fifty million tons of spinning ceramic composites, five million tons of carbon nanofibres, and twenty million tons of spinning plastics, all alone in the night."

Could be a dangerous place.

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Old December 12 2014, 12:41 PM   #7
bolak
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Re: Total mass of Babylon 5 station: any guesses?

Mark_Nguyen wrote: View Post
... sixty-five billion tons of spinning nonmetallic alloys, fifty million tons of spinning ceramic composites, five million tons of carbon nanofibres, and twenty million tons of spinning plastics, all alone in the night....
I think he's cracked it!

Here's another possible construction material. There seems to be a lot of rock on Epsilon III:

Concrete: Potential material for Space Station
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1992NASSP.509C.259L
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