Author Topic: How Big...  (Read 9533 times)

Offline mdtillard

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How Big...
« on: March 03, 2009, 02:18:16 AM »
is big? lol. no, what I want to know is how big a ship would have to be to carry enough food, fuel, and provisions (medicen, spair parts, ect.) to support a crew of about 500 beings for an unsupported voyage of exploration through the galaxy for a period of 7 years?  For technological comparison, say the ship is as advanced as the Daedlus class from SFM (ie no replicators, transporters, ect.)
Executor class Star Dreadnaught, 17.6km keel
x class Star Battleship, 12.8km keel
y class Star Battlecruiser, 8km keel
z class Star Cruiser, 2.2km keel
Imperator class Star Destroyer, 1.6km keel

Offline Darkside

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 06:45:22 PM »
I don't think food would keep that long, maybe a hydroponics bay could help, but still, 7y unsupported?

Offline Jimi James

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 08:16:47 PM »
If I'm not mistaken, the Galaxy Class was intended to operate for ten years, largely unsupported.  They still seemed to need to put in at a starbase almost every other week though, particularly early on.

I agree with Darkside though, a well kept hydroponics bay would make more sense then trying to store enough food for seven years.  Without some sort of fancy technobable reason why the food never goes bad, storing that much food would take up more room then the actual people you were trying to feed.

Using the Galaxy class as an example again, converting the main shuttle bay into a massive hydroponics bay would be one possibility.

So as far as how large the ship would need to be, I think the Galaxy class would be a good starting point to base any speculation on.
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Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 09:06:59 PM »
And are we talking bare minimum required to survive, or bare minimum to keep from going crazy and killing everyone?

Simple algae farms can cover most of a ship's need for fresh air, food, and waste recycling.  But 7 years of eating nothing but algae would most likely drive everyone over the edge sooner rather than later.

From a practical standpoint though, what you're talking about can't be done.  Making a ship, and putting 100% everything inside the hull that 500 people would need to not only survive, but remain healthy enough to do active work, and hauling all that around with you at all times is just too much.

Such a ship would be required to have it's own machining facilities to make parts as needed.  Which means it would also need to stop off and resupply it's stores at regular intervals, be it making planetfall for more water, food, air, or even mining asteroids for raw building material.

I mean, look at the real world today.  At no point in history has *ANYONE* ever decided "I'm going to go explore the world for 5 years, so I better start stocking up!".  You stock up on only enough consumables to get you from one port of call to another (even if that port of call is just an uninhabited island with coconuts and a fresh water spring on it), and whatever equipment you simply would not be able to get out in the wild (which in most cases for explorers were luxury items or weapons).

Offline mdtillard

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 07:00:39 PM »
Well, maybe water and air can be swapped out on M-class planets, and compatibile food can be collected from same planets once it is confirmed that it is fit for consumption by the crew, and they might be able to trade with new civilizations they encounter for food and materials.  The reason I suggested such a long time is because of the vast distances in space vs. speed, especally early SFM speeds, in my mind, makes any perposeful explorations in that era take a long time.  If 7 yrs is too long, then what would be a more reasonable timetable, but I do not think it should be less then 3 yrs simply because it is not enough time to get far out enough to do anything (One year to get out, one year to look around, then one year to get back).
Executor class Star Dreadnaught, 17.6km keel
x class Star Battleship, 12.8km keel
y class Star Battlecruiser, 8km keel
z class Star Cruiser, 2.2km keel
Imperator class Star Destroyer, 1.6km keel

Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 08:07:42 AM »
If we're talking "It takes a long time to travel between stars", the answer is generally that some sort of suspended animation would be required.  One of the more interesting takes on it I've seen is to send fertilized embryo's into space, along with automated systems to incubate and raise the resulting children, teaching them everything they need to know once they reach the destination.

To keep hundreds of people alive and sane on an interstellar journey (even at light speed) would require a ship the size of a small city (not town, city).  Main problem with that though is fuel.  However much fuel you burn speeding up, you basically have to spend the same amount of fuel to slow back down.  In any real world scenario, any sort of ship that requires fuel would not be making stops at any random planet they find, because they simply would be incapable of carrying enough fuel to do so.  It would be strictly a one way, single destination trip.

And, even assuming you had a miracle source of energy (anti-matter reactors and a few thousand metric tons of antimatter to power them) and a propulsion system that could push you to light speed in the first place, you still have to worry about interstellar debris.  The Enterprise has force fields that push stray atoms out of it's way.  In reality, the energy needed to do that would rival if not exceed the energy required just to push the ship itself forwards.  At near c velocities, a single atom hitting the hull would essentially set off a nuclear explosion that would rival that of anti-matter.

The most commonly accepted defense against this in hard science is actually to use a water ice shield.  Basically, freeze a bunch of water in front of the ship into an ice berg, and let stellar dust and debris sandblast *THAT* instead of your ship.  Cheap, easy, and effective.

Offline Stoo

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2009, 10:29:25 AM »
Wait, does an iceberg really help you if a nuclear-explosion-equivalent goes off?

Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 10:55:00 AM »
Wait, does an iceberg really help you if a nuclear-explosion-equivalent goes off?
Think big.  Really big.  Miles thick.  Add in that there is no atmosphere to distribute heat from the explosion, so effectively any energy that doesn't directly go into vaporizing the ice doesn't affect the rest of the shield.  And given that you're in an interstellar void, any time you're not getting pummeled is time for the ice shield to essentially refreeze and self repair.  You will naturally lose thickness as you travel due to material getting blown out to the sides, but thats to be expected.

Water also makes a very effective radiation shield as well, which would be important since most of the radiation you'd get at that speed would be coming from in front of you.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 11:00:20 AM by Edymnion »

Offline IO

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2009, 12:24:15 PM »
never thought of using ice shields, but wouldn't that compound the issue of fuel?

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Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2009, 01:49:07 PM »
never thought of using ice shields, but wouldn't that compound the issue of fuel?
It depends.
Initially, yes, more fuel will be required to get you up to speed.  More fuel would not be needed to slow you down though, as you can simply jettison the shield before you hit the brakes.  Let it sail on off at near light speed while you burn fuel to decelerate a now substantially lighter craft.  Best thing is, long as you keep your trajectories aligned for the bulk of your deceleration, the ice shield will still plow a clean path for you to follow in.  You simply don't leave the wake until you're at a low enough speed for traditional hull armor to be able to withstand the sandblasting you get.

Offline mdtillard

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2009, 03:22:48 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts so far.

Sorry, when I said ect in the no replecators and tansporters, I did NOT mean no warp drive, I ment a warp drive as fast as the Daedlaus from SFM, which is about warp 4 cochrane.  And for the record, the daedlaus is in my opnion totally inadiquit for the task of long-range exploring, even with suspeneded anamation, as it is too small to accomidate the pods at all, let alone in addition to the supplies needed on-station and fuel.  I would think it would need to be the size of a full-on Bison to be effective.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 03:25:33 PM by mdtillard »
Executor class Star Dreadnaught, 17.6km keel
x class Star Battleship, 12.8km keel
y class Star Battlecruiser, 8km keel
z class Star Cruiser, 2.2km keel
Imperator class Star Destroyer, 1.6km keel

Offline Phaeton99

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2009, 02:09:20 PM »
I'll make a simple reference and let you be the judge:

Colossus

Is it too big?
One might think so.
It certainly seems so.
Then the logistics are considered and then....
Even I am not so sure anymore...
Go Boldly...
But watch out for that first step.

Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2009, 07:01:52 AM »
Sorry, when I said ect in the no replecators and tansporters, I did NOT mean no warp drive, I ment a warp drive as fast as the Daedlaus from SFM, which is about warp 4 cochrane.
Ah, well you said fuel, and fuel is one thing that is almost never a problem for warp capable ships in Trek.

Long as they have warp engines, the ship does not need to be large at all.  Heck, you're basically just talking about the NX-01 Enterprise.

Offline mdtillard

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2009, 07:23:30 PM »
Sorry, when I said ect in the no replecators and tansporters, I did NOT mean no warp drive, I ment a warp drive as fast as the Daedlaus from SFM, which is about warp 4 cochrane.
Ah, well you said fuel, and fuel is one thing that is almost never a problem for warp capable ships in Trek.

Long as they have warp engines, the ship does not need to be large at all.  Heck, you're basically just talking about the NX-01 Enterprise.

When I said from Starfleet Museum, I was also refering to its efficiencies as well.  IE, on the Page one of the SFMs Starship Design Notes (http://www.starfleet-museum.org/notes1.htm), Masios Block 1 Daedalus is stated as having a range of 52.3 LY, but only has enough space for 6.7 months of cargo and 14.6 months of deuterium, requireing just over 2 cargo resupplies on a 14 month mission of exploration.  I am looking for somthing more along the lines of having enough space, at that level of technology, to accomidate enough cargo and fuel to support an approxmate 500 person crew for 5 to 7 years unsupported.
Executor class Star Dreadnaught, 17.6km keel
x class Star Battleship, 12.8km keel
y class Star Battlecruiser, 8km keel
z class Star Cruiser, 2.2km keel
Imperator class Star Destroyer, 1.6km keel

Offline QuantumData

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2009, 05:31:04 PM »
Remember in a galaxy class vessel the food is store in it's basic nutrients first before it gets shaped into whatever the person orders by the replicator. That means it's some kind of goo or paste like substance first.

And that doesn't even count the emergency ration packs the ship must have.


Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2009, 01:01:02 PM »
Remember in a galaxy class vessel the food is store in it's basic nutrients first before it gets shaped into whatever the person orders by the replicator. That means it's some kind of goo or paste like substance first.
But on Voyager, the replicators were rationed strictly, whereas beaming up and down was a whenever-you-like affair.  Seems to me that if they were that big on energy conservation, that the replicators must be pulling raw energy off the grid to condense into solid matter, as opposed to a transporter that just moves it around.

Offline IO

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2009, 03:13:03 PM »
I was always under the impression that the replicator only used raw energy, and converted used food stuffs and wastes and the like back into its base energy, the ultimate conservation.

Besides, the replicators did more than food, remember the watch Cholatay made for Janeway during the Year of Hell?

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and sucks one cock, he isn't a bridge builder. He's a cock sucker.

Offline Jon

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2009, 07:49:09 PM »
I was always under the impression that the replicator only used raw energy, and converted used food stuffs and wastes and the like back into its base energy, the ultimate conservation.

Besides, the replicators did more than food, remember the watch Cholatay made for Janeway during the Year of Hell?

And the hull paneling for the Delta Flyer.

Offline Edymnion

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2009, 07:13:36 AM »
And the glasses, plates, bowls, knives, forks, etc...

Offline Aemielius

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2010, 12:03:04 AM »
Good question. 
To answer it, you must ask; 'what kind of preservation technology do they have?'; and then; 'what kid of recycling/waste disposal system do they have?'; and finally; 'how much food and water do you consume every day?'

The average human needs approximately 2 lbs. of bulk food and 3 liters of water consumed every day to survive.  Add in an additional 5-10 gals of water for personal hygiene every day.  So about 11 gals daily.

Most foods can be freeze dried and sealed in packaging so that it will last up to 10 years.  The bonus of this is that can be stored at room temperature.  The minus, is that it keeps 70% of its volume so the storage might have to be big....warehouse big.

Water on the other hand is pretty easy to recycle.  Filters to remove organic solids, evaporate(boil) and re-condense or irradiate to remove pathogens.
If you need to store additional water in bulk, freezing it is a good way to keep it stable a avoid tank leaks.

Spare parts are another matter and depends completely on the MTBF rating.  That is, Mean Time Between Failure rating.   Basically the average service life of any particular component.  that will let you know how many of any given item you need to carry on board.

So food storage would have to account for  2x500x365x7= 255,000 lbs of bulk food.

Water storage, assuming and 12 gallon/day ration, perpetual recycling and a 50% reserve:    (12x500)= 60,000 + 50% = 90,000 gals capacity.  Bear in mind this does not require tanks of that volume, a large portion of this can be considered as stored in the pipes in addition to what is going through the recycler.
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Offline Oztrekkie

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Re: How Big...
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2010, 04:34:35 PM »
I'll make a simple reference and let you be the judge:

Colossus

Is it too big?
One might think so.
It certainly seems so.
Then the logistics are considered and then....
Even I am not so sure anymore...

If the specs are true, then we are looking at several warp fields, which would require a huge breakthrough in warp feild geometry control if we do not want the ship to shatter into a million pieces when it drops out of warp.
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