Comic 205 - 3 more days to go..

21st Jul 2014, 12:00 AM
3 more days to go..
Average Rating: 5 (9 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 21st Jul 2014, 12:00 AM edit delete
Enjoy ! - and if you are feeling generous please drop a few credits in the Tip jar :D
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Stormwind13 22nd Jul 2014, 12:02 AM edit delete reply

Galina looks beautiful in the 3rd panel there.
Centcomm 22nd Jul 2014, 5:15 AM edit delete reply

I love the way she came out there.. remember shes playing with her style to try and look more " respectable" and a bit older..
mjkj 22nd Jul 2014, 4:15 AM edit delete reply

Launch probe ... erm, no! do not attack us, probe! you should collect data... :p

...and yes, Gali looks beautiful there. She is more confident and self secure now... *hugs her*

So, she got hooked on coffee now...

Centcomm 22nd Jul 2014, 5:15 AM edit delete reply

hehe yep the Col did a evil evil thing :D
Sheela 22nd Jul 2014, 6:07 AM edit delete reply

Oh dear, an android hooked on Coffee?

.. what have you done, colonel ? :D
Stormwind13 22nd Jul 2014, 7:01 AM edit delete reply

The Colonel is treating Galina like a human. Helping turn her even MORE human than she already was. :-) Being hooked on coffee is something lots of humans do.

Of course, that makes me think of "Idiot Solvant" by Gordon Dickson (contained in the anthology Mutants). The dangers of overstimulating an unique intelligence. :-D

Timotheus 23rd Jul 2014, 3:25 AM edit delete reply
The rebirth of the "Coffee Hunter"
(I'm dying to see if anyone gets the reference.)
Stormwind13 23rd Jul 2014, 9:16 AM edit delete reply

Watch it Timotheus, you are treading on Dangerous Grounds there. :-D
Timotheus 23rd Jul 2014, 6:48 PM edit delete reply
I was referring to Lynette Sheridan from Sharing A Universe, caffeine addicted traditional magic using elven princess fleeing forced marriage and love struck squirrels.
Centcomm 23rd Jul 2014, 4:09 PM edit delete reply

what Stormwind said Sheela .. :D
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 7:10 PM edit delete reply
Wait... a missle that turns one large object with a known velocity into a bunch of smaller objects, each with a new, unique velocity of its own, makes things safer?

Ummm... no?

Sorry, had to pot-shot that one. I do really like the comic!
Centcomm 22nd Jul 2014, 7:18 PM edit delete reply

well the theory is sound to deflect space debris and this is protect things like bases .. the fact they are not used often does not stop them from re purposing the tech for this

ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
It seems perfectly reasonable to repurpose such a device. It's the idea that it would exist in the first place that gives me pause.

Theoretically, depending on a host of different factors, it *might* protect the launcher of the missile. In the process, though, it would create an unholy navigation hazard for everybody else. Think of that scene from "Gravity"...

It all depends on relative velocities, of course. NASA certainly thinks it's a bad idea. All of their plans for preventing "killer asteroid" impacts are based deflection, not fragmentation.
Centcomm 22nd Jul 2014, 7:30 PM edit delete reply

agreed.. also "debris" can also take the form of hostile missiles .. that is also in its resume as in anti-missile missile.. remember there is a war going on ..
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 7:56 PM edit delete reply
Well... swatting one missile with another is a tough job. When you consider the technology involved (AI missiles, decoys, countermeasures, jinking, anti-anti-missiles), plus the fact that those point-defense missiles are just eating into your own mass budget, I'm willing to bet that most ship designers would opt for CREWs for point-defense.

Other arguments against this idea include that a point-defense missile wouldn't have the range (although, since you're firing after flip, you could probably get around that with a little reprogramming), and that you would think twice before launching a device that profiles as weaponry at somebody you're hoping to make friends with.
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 7:40 PM edit delete reply
If you want to consider alternate explanations for the source of the probe, I offer the suggestion that this particular ship would actually carry pathfinder probes as a matter of course.

Given the high relative velocities attainable by its drive, a rock the size of your fist could wreck the entire ship. Radar/Optical/Thermal sensors would have a hard time detecting such a hazard in time to do anything about it. The problem is even worse after flip; you're still travelling just as fast, only now you're blinded by your own drive-flare.

One obvious solution is to launch pathfinder probes with sensitive detection instruments to travel ahead of the ship proper. Now you have a simple and reasonable explanation as to why the missiles are on board, plus they come with all the nifty senors you need.
Centcomm 22nd Jul 2014, 7:46 PM edit delete reply

thats actually a rather cool idea.. thank you.. we might change it later but for now :D
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
You're most welcome to use it if you like. Thanks again for the great story.
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 8:19 PM edit delete reply
Sorry (can't help myself); one more thing to keep in mind. Regardless of the reasons for the missiles being on board, they are going to start out with the velocity of the launching ship, and they aren't going to be carrying enough fuel to significantly change that. When they approach the alien ship, they will still have very high relative velocity. As in: at those speeds, a pot of petunias is a mortal threat, let alone an actual weapon.

Be very careful where you point them. Also, a reaction drive is a weapon in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive. You have a very dangerous drive there. Be careful where you point it, too.
Hydrargyrum 24th Jul 2014, 7:48 PM edit delete reply

Speaking of things to change later there's a wee typo in the page; should be braking flip, not breaking flip, no?
Centcomm 24th Jul 2014, 7:53 PM edit delete reply

OOOPs will pass that along to Rose.. she normally doesnt miss things like that . and admittedly I missed it too..
highlander55 22nd Jul 2014, 8:17 PM edit delete reply

WSKRS nuff said!
ChaosTheory 22nd Jul 2014, 8:23 PM edit delete reply
O.M.G. Is that a "SeaQuest" reference? Well played!
Tokyo Rose 23rd Jul 2014, 7:59 AM edit delete reply

Since ChaosTheory's got a couple of comment strings going, I figured I'd go ahead and put a separate one up to address . . .

REALLY big objects (such as "killer asteroids") can be steered around. Objects or clusters of objects smaller than the ship, however, may be slightly harder to avoid. That's what ADMs are designed to deal with; they are not contact-kill devices, but instead spread concussive force out over an area to break objects up into fragments that are baseball-sized or smaller. In this setting, ships' hulls can shake objects that small off regardless of velocity.

This type of missile is not usually intended to deal with incoming weaponry, but given its characteristics, it can be used in a pinch to catch a hostile missile in its blast radius and break it apart.

The "Luna Star" is equipped with a sensor suite specifically designed to adjust for the ship's own capabilities. It can't be blinded by its own drive flare or speed. It also, incidentally, can detect most debris fields; the pilot can then decide whether to steer around the problem or use ADMs.

The converted ADM probe is unlikely to do any damage on a contact hit; the casing would merely rupture and just scratch the paint, so to speak. It is also not being intentionally aimed directly AT the unknown vessel, but has a trajectory intended to pass it at what one might call a "diplomatic" distance. The probe's instrument packages are designed to acquire data that falls outside the purview of the ship's own sensory suite--the ship's sensors are set up with an eye towards navigational use, not to pull in detailed visual data, for example.

*Edited last bit slightly for clarification.
Stormwind13 23rd Jul 2014, 11:20 AM edit delete reply

Just two added comments, Rose. The probe should race ahead of Luna Star, since it isn't decelerating. In fact, it should arrive over 24 hours ahead of Luna Star, if the data I'm looking at is correct.

Which brings up the SECOND problem, it wouldn't be too useful as a real time scanner. The probe is going to get pile up several light seconds transmission delay (109 seconds by the time they hit day five. 501 seconds by the time it goes scorching by Saturn, if I've got the figures right).

Kind of hard to use that kind of data to keep track of smaller bodies. Especially as they get close enough to the ship to be threatening. Using it to gather information along your flight path and of the target though, does make sense.

As for aiming it, if the alien craft is in equatorial parking orbit I would aim 20,000 km over or under and put the probe into Saturn. The sensor package is likely best out the front of the probe. Plus Saturn would block most observations of the craft by the probe once it passed anyhow (given the size of the craft compared to Saturn).

(Edited to correct the times, for minimal distance to Saturn)
ChaosTheory 23rd Jul 2014, 9:46 PM edit delete reply

Since you're doing the math... what's their velocity (relative to Saturn) in MPS at turnover (assuming direct-path and minimum distance)?
ChaosTheory 23rd Jul 2014, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
Never mind; got it.

At 1G, time to turnover is about 4.5 days; velocity at turnover is 3,810,240 m/s. If our heroes hit a 1kg rock at turnover, the energy released is equivalent to about 1.7 kilotons of TNT.

Hope they're wearing seatbelts. :-)
Stormwind13 23rd Jul 2014, 10:55 PM edit delete reply

Actually I got a little less than that ChaosTheory. The value I was using for minimal distance between Earth and Saturn was 1.204 billion kilometers.

I got 4.06 days for turnover, which meant that turnover speed was 3,436,098.16 m/s. I remembered that we aren't going for a zero speed intercept, but that Saturn is moving at 9.69 kms/sec in its orbit. So need to match that to catch up to Saturn.
ChaosTheory 24th Jul 2014, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
I confess to having used approximate values for distance. I just plopped Saturn down at 9.5AU and ignored its own velocity. Close enough for making the case that collisions at those velocities are energetic.
ChaosTheory 23rd Jul 2014, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
Oh, and if their missile-cum-probe hits the alien ship at turnover velocity (assuming that the mass remaining after burning its fuel off is two metric tons), that's 3.5 megatons of howdy-do neighbor!

They're going to need new paint.
Centcomm 23rd Jul 2014, 11:10 PM edit delete reply

Well remember the Probe is doing a "fly-by" not a impact. so its not going to hit at all.. at worst it will pass within 50 miles of the ship..
ChaosTheory 24th Jul 2014, 12:11 AM edit delete reply
Sure. I just threw that in for the fun of it. A human ship would probably be pretty nervous if they detected a missile closing at 3400 kps; even if it was projected to miss by 50 miles. Our alien visitors, on the other hand, have a pet singularity on board. One suspects that very little the locals can do would frighten them.

Maybe if we threatened to transmit the last season of "Lost" at them...
Tokyo Rose 24th Jul 2014, 10:39 AM edit delete reply

Last season of Lost . . . hoo boy.

Gali: "We've received a clear transmission from the alien vessel!"
Col. Taylor: "What did they say?!"
Gali: "Um . . . it's 'WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN'."
ChaosTheory 24th Jul 2014, 4:52 PM edit delete reply
Norman, coordinate!
Quieteyes 26th Jul 2014, 5:40 PM edit delete reply
I am not programmed to respond in that area. :-)
Centcomm 23rd Jul 2014, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

what Rose said.. PLUS...

Also on a side note the Additive Velocity holds up under a few bits of research. another reason they thought of using a plane to bring something up to speed then launch from that .. also in modern air to air a missle takes on the velocity of the plane when its released ( it loses that very quickly due to air and friction without a engine to make it go )

in space there is no " V subtraction" via Air friction so once the Missile launches it carry's the velocity of the ship PLUS its own. Im sure some of you science guys can back this up as for Fuel this missile ( that looks small ) is nearly 12 feet long and three feet across. Powered by a small fission reaction ( yes that's a nuke.. ) the ship is shielded against the rads put off by the missiles launch and it is a fast decaying reaction ( It is SCI-FI folks ) I wont play that card often but.. here I think its needed
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 3:17 PM edit delete reply
Absolutely on the Delta-V. A missile launched just before turnover would start with the velocity of the launching ship.

If the ship then flips and begins decelerating, the missile gains velocity relative to the ship, but not to the target coordinates. Depending on what the launcher needs, the missile itself might not even ignite its engine; it might even flip itself and start decelerating (so as to minimize fly-by velocity at the target coordinates).

As far as the missile's power plant is concerned... having a fission plant for power does not imply that the exhaust is radioactive; that would actually be pretty difficult to do. The only way I can think of to get radioactive exhaust with fission (that isn't pointlessly ridiculous) is with an Orion-style drive; definitely not what we're dealing with here. That doesn't mean the power plant itself is emitting rads when running; missiles likely don't waste mass on things like reactor shielding. The real problem is that, in a vacuum, it's hard to get any serious thrust out of fission power source. About all it can do is heat reaction mass and eject it out the back, which is a lousy way to get Delta-V. Fission power units are better suited for long-running, low-G drives, like VASMIR.

What we need here is a nice anti-matter drive. Great acceleration, your fuel is your warhead, and all the radiation a good sci-fi weapon demands. Heck, the Luna Star must be anti-matter powered anyway, given her crazy mass/acceleration profile. I figure most of her mass is containment, not fuel.

On that note, I just noticed that, on page 201, the Luna Star's drives are pointed directly at the station when she tarts them up. Mmmm, toasty!
Centcomm 30th Jul 2014, 3:36 PM edit delete reply

The Luna Star is a Fusion/Fission Drive similar to the reaction generated by our own Sun and pulls reactant from the tanks along the ship, it carry's literally a lake of stored pressurized fuel and each one is putting out thousands of pounds of thrust the "damage effector range" was calculated and again distances are NOT shown because that station is HUGE and the Luna Star used its smaller drives to put itself in launch profile. Anti-Matter or A/M plants are not currently feasible although they are getting closer at this time period, given that im not a scientist I really cant discuss this any farther. " it works because of plot" ok? :P
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
My anti-matter remarks are mostly "tongue-in-cheek". I haven't done the math on a fusion drive for the Luna Star. There are a lot of variables, and I'm lazy. Honestly, as a reader, I'm perfectly happy to give you the 1G drive as a freebie. If you'd said it runs on fairy dust and happy thoughts, that would've been fine with me. It's just that, now that you've got it (and have made it clear that it is still a Newtonian reaction drive), I expect you to live with the implications. No Star Trek "transporter syndrome" allowed. Or I'll post again! See if I don't!:-P

P.S.: That had better be "thousands (and thousands) of TONS of thrust" or it's going to be a loooong trip.
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
Arg. That should be "...power plant itself ISN'T emitting rads...". I'd fix it, but don't have edit privileges.
Centcomm 30th Jul 2014, 3:39 PM edit delete reply

Have to be a comic fury subscriber to edit.. ( Its free and shows support by subscribing. )
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 3:47 PM edit delete reply
I tried registering. It told me that "ChaosTheory" wasn't available, so I pouted instead. :-(
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 4:57 PM edit delete reply
Turns out I was dead wrong about the efficiency of Thermal Nuclear rockets.

Hmph. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken :-P
Centcomm 30th Jul 2014, 5:08 PM edit delete reply

this idea for the Luna Star's engines were discussed with a actual Astrophysicist and Astroengineer :D met them at last Comic-con and Mister Black is a frequent flyer at Atomic Rockets. and likes quoting them .. a lot. but its all good :D
ChaosTheory 30th Jul 2014, 8:40 PM edit delete reply
Now see, what we really need is a spaceship powered by injustice. Just the fact that you get to go to Comic-Con and talk to Astro guys, while I have to content myself to picking nits on your forum ought to give us a healthy S.I. all by itself! Why, if we augment the injustice thrust with whining and nitpicking, I bet we could get a decent star drive out of it. They're all renewable resources too (unfortunately).

It's a pity we can't use Internet Trolls for fuel, but that reaction always results in a net output of zero.

As far as support goes, I prefer my support to be more... concrete. Incoming donation! Consider it rent on the soapbox (and genuine appreciation for your work!)
Centcomm 30th Jul 2014, 8:43 PM edit delete reply

Bows - There was a group of science people that are really sick of seeing massive stupid mistakes in comics and movies about science. and made themselves available to be asked questions :D Ive run most of Luna Star past them on hitch points :D and thank you for the donation ! you might also consider checking out Patreon .. :D I throw a lot of stuff up there as well :D
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