Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Technical Advice For a (Fictional) Space Mission?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the cheese-miners-revolt-over-thermostat-control dept.

Mars 203

An anonymous reader writes "I'm just starting to put together the pieces for a fictional story about a space mission. To put it briefly, I would like to give believability to the story: probably set a few years ahead, just enough for the launching of the first colony in the solar system, but with the known challenges posed by the current technology. Is anyone up for a little technical advice on space travel? A few quick questions: As for the destination, the moon and Mars are the obvious choices, but what else would make sense? How long would it take to get there? What could be the goals of the mission? Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip? Any possible sightseeing for beautiful VFX shots? What would be the crew?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Cheese Factory on Moon (5, Funny)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404972)

A young buy wins a tour through the most magnificent cheese factory in the world, led by the world's most unusual cheese maker. A magical journey through a cheese factory on moon.

Re:Cheese Factory on Moon (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405104)

A young buy wins a tour through the most magnificent cheese factory in the world, led by the world's most unusual cheese maker. A magical journey through a cheese factory on moon.

Sounds like a good plot. Maybe throw in a Great Space Elevator and some Moon-pah little people and you might be on to something

Re:Cheese Factory on Moon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405218)

And if the boy is naughty and steals the fizzy lifting drinks (gas produced by cutting the cheese) have his punishment be a sleep-over at Penn St. Too soon?

Re:Cheese Factory on Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405384)

Cheese factory on the moon? Are you nuts?
I thought there were just whalers on the moon. Carrying a harpoon. Of course there are no whales so they tell tall tales...

Re:Cheese Factory on Moon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405388)

Also, try to make fewer spelling errors in your story than are in the title of this post.

Re:Cheese Factory on Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405618)

He comes back with what?? A cheddar implant?

Do your homework for you? (1, Insightful)

HFShadow (530449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405000)

So you want us to write a story for you? Isn't this the point of you writing it?

The crew needs women. (4, Informative)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405016)

Trust me. That's what most Slashdotters are hoping for when they are imagining themselves as a part of it.

Re:The crew needs women. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405364)

In fact, make the crew all women, except for a single man who's cryogenically frozen. When the fuel injection system malfunctions they in desperation thaw him to fix it. He does, and after that, you can imagine! Va-va-voom baby!

Re:The crew needs women. (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405498)

In fact, make the crew all women, except for a single man who's cryogenically frozen. When the VCR clock malfunctions they in desperation thaw him to fix it. He does, and after that, you can imagine! Va-va-voom baby!

If you want to make the story really believable.

Re:The crew needs women. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405686)

sex sells... story should have fempyewta, seven of nine, lieutenant ripley, princess leia, and kerrigan queen of blades. then have orgasmo as the antagonist... resistane will be futile (even for all the lonely women out there who can't get enough of their mills and boon)

Re:Do your homework for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405044)

This reminds me of my 6th grade science class.

Re:Do your homework for you? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405100)

Seriously, this may be one of the worst "Ask Slashdot" I've seen in a really long time.

I've started writing a few months ago as a career change because of health issues. Research is part of writing, what he's doing now isn't research, he's just asking to be given everything. I don't know how he'll manage to write anything with that attitude. That may sound harsh, but he or she needs to read on the topic, do some research, build up ideas, and then ask people if those ideas seem interesting or not, plausible or not, etc.

Re:Do your homework for you? (1)

JRowe47 (2459214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405166)

What's wrong with timothy?
He can't even spell the title correctly... seriously, 'mision'? What the hell is this crap?

Re:Do your homework for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405180)

I have not yet the summary, but the headline said something about fiction and a space mision. And you dig up this old slashdot meme.

Sure, maybe it's about us doing their homework, but so fucking what? What's wrong with doing other peoples homework?

  Would that make the world unfair? What about all those starving Africans without clean water but with plenty of AIDS, who don't even have playstation ones? What about being a policeman in Baghdad? Or just being born poor or stupid anywhere?

How about we focus on if the task/homework/job at hand is interesting or not, irregardlestadious of whether someone gets a free ride on the informationsupercrowdsource? The person doesn't matter. Discuss the idea, if you wanna.

Re:Do your homework for you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405246)

What's wrong with doing other peoples homework?

It teaches them to be lazy. We need less lazy people.

Would that make the world unfair? What about all those starving Africans without clean water but with plenty of AIDS, who don't even have playstation ones? What about being a policeman in Baghdad? Or just being born poor or stupid anywhere?

None of those people are lazy like this guy.

Re:Do your homework for you? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405512)

Fuck you. If s/he is lazy, it's because of the genes and/or upbringing, neither of which one had control over. And even if it is laziness (whatever that is, really) or some chronic anxiety disorder and/or ADD, so motherfucking what? Fuck the person, in general, not personally. Fuck any person. Focus on the idea. This is not about anyone in particular being or doing this or that. This is the internet. It is text. It is the evolution of ideas. Persons are not important. Get it?

Re:Do your homework for you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405644)

s/Fuck you/Fuck that #sorry I got personally hostile there. Isn't that ironic? As a fellow human I wish you happiness. But the idea you were nurturing about a lazy person being bad? Fuck that.

Re:Do your homework for you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405748)

If s/he is lazy, it's because of the genes and/or upbringing, neither of which one had control over

Oh, I'm not saying it's necessarily his fault. I'm just saying we should help him overcome it. :)

BTW, I'm not sure "laziness" has been identified in DSM as a genetic or developmental disorder!

Re:Do your homework for you? (2)

vanyel (28049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405902)

If you think the setting is all there is to a story...well, that explains a number of popular movies that wouldn't know a story if a transformer turned into one right in front of them.

Wait, what (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405010)

So, you want us to write your book for you?

Mision? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405026)

Is that some way to prepare beef or some such? I don't know much about space cows.

Obligatory Sci-fi comedy reference (2)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405030)

Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip?

Total immersion Video games
Particularly Zero-G Kickboxing and Wimbledon

Re:Obligatory Sci-fi comedy reference (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405210)

Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip?

Total immersion Video games Particularly Zero-G Kickboxing and Wimbledon

If you're not into the sports you can also have it off with the jailbait ball girls, the crotch piece has a lifetime guarantee.

Mision to the Dictionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405032)

Miss Ion and the Galactic Cheese Factory

How about that new planet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405046)

kepler22b - it might have water (just say it does)
it's around 600 light-years away, so we'll need a gigantic self-supporting "noah's ark" type ship to carry us there. it would probably need nuclear power stations on board to supply energy and a highly efficient engine like an ion thruster or that magnetoplasma one that NASA is developing. fun stuff, maybe I'll write a book about it ;)

I've got a site for you. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405048)

This place was literately made to answer your question: http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/
The entire thing is basically a resource for hard sci-fi writers.

Re:I've got a site for you. (3, Informative)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405146)

Beat me to it. Atomic Rockets [projectrho.com] is an excellent jumping off point for all the things you'll need to consider, complete with references to how real science fiction writers have dealt with these things in the past. Lots of science, math, and more science and math. Did I mention the math? It's pretty much all there.
Also, it's darn fun to read. I consider that a bonus. Don't you?

Re:I've got a site for you. (3, Informative)

wulfhere (94308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405236)

Scorch beat me to it. I can't recommend them enough. From travel to engines to the real effects of futuristic weapons, that site has it all. Every time I visit, I get lost for hours and hours. And also inspired. :-)

Here's a good place to start/ [projectrho.com]

BOOM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405050)

The chinese moon expedition gets off the ground (the rest of the planet having long since given up) for their long awaited moonbase. sadly communications are lost as they leave earth orbit and the chinese hit the self destruct button to avoid losing face. BOOM goes the transfer vehicle and it will be several decades before it is ever attempted again.

Check Out The Orbiter Forums. (5, Informative)

biohazard35 (2499308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405060)

If you're looking for technical advice on space flight I would recommend you check out the Orbiter forums. They are the boards for the Orbiter Space Flight simulator. It may be a simulator, but is built to be extremely realistic. You can find a lot of very knowledgeable people on the boards that would probably tell you exactly what you wanted to know. http://orbiter-forum.com/ [orbiter-forum.com]

The final frontier (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405078)

Make the space itself the target. Being able to live there, to have a self sustainable space colony, or a generation ship, not a way to travel to somewhere else in particular, but the destination itself, Like space 1999, without carrying the whole moon with you.

Other interesting destinations in the solar system, like asteroid mining or exploring moons on the outer planets.

Re:The final frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405272)

how about colonizing kepler 22b. around 600 light-years away, so you'll need a massive noah's ark type thing to carry animals. it will need nuclear power on board, and some higly efficient engine like an ion thruster or magnetoplasma thing.

It's spelled "Mission," timothy! (2)

zedtwitz (2450246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405080)

Apparently timothy can't spell. Unless the submitter is referencing http://www.hotelmision.com/ [hotelmision.com]. Although who would write a story about a fictional space hotel in the Sierra Madre mountains? I guess we're writing about a (fictional) (space) mountain hotel?

What percentage of the royalties are you offering? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405086)

Sorry; I couldn't resist that. Maybe we'll see some interesting answers.

Apollo 11 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405102)

There's fiction!

Don't let stuff work as advertised ... (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405118)

I would like to give believability to the story

Let things break. Let things prematurely wear out due to the extremely hostile environment, extreme temperature swings, etc. Let things fail to function as advertised by the manufacturer, or some environment issue that was overlooked because of our limited experience in space. Apollo 13 may be a little too extreme but do some research on the day to day maintenance and surprises of the Mir space station.

Look back to the original Alien movie (1979?). On the upper decks of the spacecraft Nostromo (?) officers were dealing with computers, navigation, communications, science, etc. On the lower decks a couple of guys were using wrenches to deal with the plumbing. I always thought that was a nice touch of realism. When we go to Mars the most important member of the crew will often be the mechanic.

Re:Don't let stuff work as advertised ... (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405234)

And for the best realism, go ahead and have everyone die from minor accidents once their bones have atrophied in extended zero-g!

Re:Don't let stuff work as advertised ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405894)

On the contrary, make technology better, fewer moving/replaceable parts, focus more on the mission and reason for it instead of drowning the reader in technical details.
In the future, humans will be either nimble hands for repairs or passengers. Pilots will be a dead breed.

Remember that some concepts will still hold true even hundreds of years from now, if you want to explore another planet you won't build some anti-gravitational vehicle, but lots of simple drones seeded in the atmosphere, see technology today and technology 50 years ago, and you'll be able to guess a little how things will evolve.
Supermaterials, genetically engineered food, why take loads of vegetables when a few GM seeds and nutrients are more than enough. And so on.
If you're thinking of a long term mission, look at sailors that work on ships and especially submarines, they have a particular mindset. That would be the best start. Ship engineering, you're going a long way from home, the ship doesn't just have spare parts, but has every system in double with redundancies, most parts are interchangeable, just like real ships. Honestly, space faring is closer to the navy than airforce.

And as some people keep saying, look at the social environment, times are changing, and in 20-30 years, I really don't think we'll call most countries democracies anymore.

Only "a few years?" (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405122)

probably set a few years ahead, just enough for the launching of the first colony in the solar system, but with the known challenges posed by the current technology.

The "known challenges" aren't technological, but social (economic and political). Unless you posit some global threat that forces people to "get their act together", you'll need to set it at least a generation in the future.

Even the certainty of a killer asteroid won't do it with this lot!

Re:Only "a few years?" (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405428)

>Even the certainty of a killer asteroid won't do it with this lot!

From a staring point of today, what would that entail? Some people would probably suddenly get very cooperative. Not the 1%, but maybe the 0.01%, and not just measured in net worth, but in power. Money is power so, the crÃme de la crÃme of billionaires would be there, of course, but also whomever (if anyone at that point, because chains of command would start to break down) who could wield political power that could put as expensive things in motion as the ultra-super-rich, like commanding troops and weapons and having access to hangars and engineers and scientists...

Wait. In case the impending doom was public knowledge, money would be moot, wouldn't it? So, who would be the elite in that case? Probably still predominantly the ultra-super-rich, because they'd have more hardware like armored vehicles and guns all ready (promising to bring their lackeys, of course).

Maybe a more simple and interesting setup would be to not have the impending doom be public knowledge, though, so one could draw a picture of the power-elite of today being all class-conscious and working together to mount this great escape, not so subtly exposing the hierarchy that exist in our world of today.

Maybe told from the perspective of a skilled mechanic or something, unknowingly used as a tool and dragged along for the ride...

Re:Only "a few years?" (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405650)

Or, you could just have a bunch of people who are leaving for religious reasons. Some group that was zealot enough to give up earth, annoying enough that people with enough money to ship them off would pay up, but not dangerous enough to warrant extermination. Maybe something like those 'allergic to WiFi.'

Re:Only "a few years?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405916)

Social challenges are the best. For a space mission a few years in the future, make sure there is a black guy on board to make it believable. And if you want it to appeal to a broader MTV audience, also include a white supremacist on the crew. Bonus points if the black guy is the white supremacist's boss.

Talk about mining, in some capacity (4, Informative)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405154)

Mining on Mars:
- Mining underground gives 'free' protection from radiation
- Technology of mining gives something interesting to talk about, once the spacefaring equipment has been discussed
- Similarities between mining and space travel (seriously: both are artificial, hostile, tech-dependent environments) lets you draw parallels between what readers accept as pedestrian (yawn, a mine) and what readers see as amazing (wow, a spaceship!)
- Dangers of mining give a realistic and easy way to introduce drama
- The substance mined would have to be either very, very valuable on earth (basically, you'd need unobtanium), or, very valuable on Mars (basically, anything. Cost for transport from Earth = very high).
-- So, the mine would need to operate in support of a colony. Any local metal or industrial mineral would be useful.
-- By the same token, the mine would have to be small, because it would be supporting a new-ish (therefore small) colony

Mining metallic asteroids:
- Very shallow gravity well
- Massive quantities of very pure metal, if you find the right one: pays for itself
- Should probably be coupled with in-orbit refinery around earth, linked to a shipyard, unless there's a feasible way to bring giant hunks of stuff through the atmosphere without it burning up or destroying cities. This pushes the time forwards a few decades, at least

Re:Talk about mining, in some capacity (1)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405434)

Just to second the mining idea, you have two obvious things to mine - Water-ice (which has some very interesting and potentially dangerous properties at low pressures), and various peroxides (which readily produces oxygen, but has the down sides of counting as both caustic and explosive). Mars has both of those in abundance, and they provide the two single biggest needs a newly founded colony would have, while providing plenty of challenges and danger to exploit for the plot.

I hate to break it to you, but... (0)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405160)

a fictional story about a space mission.

... this has been done before.

Sure, a good story can overcome its cliches, but the fact that submitter apparently doesn't have the first clue about what to write about doesn't bode well for the "good story" part.

Re:I hate to break it to you, but... (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405322)

... this has been done before.

Next you'll be telling us that 'boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back' has been done before and no-one should write another story with the same idea.

Re:I hate to break it to you, but... (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405762)

...alien bursts out of girls (naked) chest and eats boy, ripley chimes in with "get away from her you bitch!" and mows it down with a minigun... NEVER gets old (i love you ripley *mwah*)

Jupiter Moon and Apllo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405168)

I came across an a fairly interesting series on Hulu, Jupiter Moon an interesting story of students traveling as around on an old ship that was built not long after the first colonies. It was a school that faced challenging problems being very far from earth. Another thing you might try is reasearching all the old Apollo missions.

Spelling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405172)

Spell "Mission" correctly. Will help make the whole endeavor more "professional".

A few things (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405182)

To make sense, a manned mission has got to have goals that cannot utilize robots. So, any mission requiring ad-hoc methods -or- environments that are hostile to computers but well within the tolerances of humans. (Medium-to-high radiation where shielding can't be used, for example. So long as the human(s) involved are willing to undertake the risks and there's plenty of donor organs, humans actually aren't too bad in such environs.)

A good example of an ad-hoc mission would be a Mars mission that created a sub-surface colony. Most of the water is underground, the ground's a great shield against both the Martian dust storms and the hard radiation, there's plenty of subsurface methane for fuel, and we already know that there are plenty of massive subsurface caverns that can be exploited. The problem with a robot mission there is that it's also shielded from radio contact, the terrain is totally unknown and we've zero notion of how the subsurface geology will dictate what can and cannot be done. Humans don't need radio, don't care about a few rocks, and can study the geology in a way that no AI can currently handle.

Europa, although an "obvious" choice, is problematic. You don't just need water, you need lots of other resources and Europa isn't a good candidate for supplying those in a way that an exploration can easily use.

Once you're past the moon, fuel isn't an issue. You can slingshot to any planet with about the same fuel budget. Time is the only resource that matters. That makes the inner planets potentially more interesting as the gaps increase dramatically as you go further out. Mercury's rotation is such that you could have a short-term manned mission to the dark side without risking frying anyone and the geology there is sufficiently weird that you might well want someone on the ground.

Believability? (4, Funny)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405196)

A few years ahead? Space colony?
Ehmm, have you been following what is going on in the world? I was growing up in the 80's and I remember thinking how lucky I was. I mean we had supersonic consumer jets that could fly us across the Atlantic in 3 or so hours, so by the time I would grow up we would surely have faster and more jets, so I was really looking forward for those weekends in Australia! And then the US had exciting new and reusable space shuttles which could take 7 people up at a time, do their mission and land in an airport, boy was that exciting! I could only imagine how things would be when I grew up with space stations, moonbases (just as long as the moon did not leave its orbit in 1999, if you know what I mean), humans on mars etc.
So you know how things turned out.
You want believable? Put first colony in the solar system at least a hundred years in the future to avoid being alive and mocked when the proposed date has passed and all we have are 30-foot wide cars, 30 angstrom thick phones, 30 inch long penises...

You dumb fuck can you spell? R u a stupid intern? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405202)

It's mission, NOT mision! God damn stupid niggah

Ask a Pro: Jerry Pournelle (1)

raluxs (961449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405206)

Jerry Pournelle [jerrypournelle.com]

He wont make your homework for you, maybe he won't even answer to you. But if he does then he could give you some really good starting points for your research.
Good luck

I'd take an extra S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405216)

Can't have too many S's on your mision.

It's already been done! (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405326)

2001 trilogy
BBC Space Odyssey: Voyage To The Planets ...just two out of a slew that I can't think of right now

Ok, I'll bite (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405344)

As for the destination, the moon and Mars are the obvious choices, but what else would make sense?

--The Dogstar!!

How long would it take to get there?

--50 million fucking years!!!

What could be the goals of the mission?

--To get to the Dogstar!!!

Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip?

--Boring?! You're going to the fucking Dogstar!!!

Any possible sightseeing for beautiful VFX shots?


What would be the crew?

--Space Hellhounds!!!!

space mission requirements? (5, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405350)

Since most of the replies so far have either been disparaging or been references to other scifi works, I will do my best to actually answer your question.

For the sake of accuracy, I am going to assume the following:

The mission is 1 way.
There will be no resupply operations.
The colony must supply itself with infrastructue and supplies.

That out of the way, here it goes.

First, your crew must be over 500 people, and totally unrelated to each other. This is the bare minimum required for a stable breeding population. Any smaller, and you end up with an unviable population, a la the nazi eugenics colony experiments.

Your crew cannot all be officers, administration, tech heads, et al. You positively have to include blue collar workers. Machinists, assembly workers, etc.

In addition to this, you cannot presume to find food on the planet you are sending the colony ship to. At our distance from the nearest goldilocks planet, we can't even get a gross atmospheric spectrograph, let alone a detailed list of possible lifeforms. This means you have to not only take whatever food your mission needs for the trip through space, but also the means to produce food when you get there. Frozen domesticated animal embryos, collections of edible seeds and plantforms, etc. The works. It also means you have to take horticultural experts and farmers with you.

In addition, there is a lot that can go wrong on such a mission. The colony ship will be in transit for over a hundred years to reach the nearest starsystem using the fastest possible forms of propulsion currently available to us. This *will* be a multigeneration voyage, and shit breaks. You have to be able to fix things and make spare parts. That means you need a complete factory and refinery complex built into the colony ship.

In short, think of a space vessel with the combined cubic footage of new york state, comprising manufacturing, housing, environmental, and food cultivation systems, in addition to propulsion, power generation, water reclamation, and administration systems. You will be launching a small country into space. If it isn't at time of launch, it will be by the time it reaches its destination.

The colony ship will be too large to land on the destination planet. It will need small craft to deposit transplanted lifeforms, colony site construction equipment and supplies, and ground personel on the surface. These craft need to be reusable. The colony ship would BE the supply line for the new planetary colony site. It would stay in orbit, produce and deploy any gps or com system satelite networks, and ensure the viability of the ground based colony as it develops.

In addition to the lander craft, the colony ship would need service and resourcing craft to help keep the colony ship operational. The ship would be too large for unassisted spacewalks for repairs, so some form of space only maintenance and cargo tug craft would be necessary as well.

This means the colony ship needs cargo bays, and docking bays, distributed around the ship.

Due to the size of the ship, some form of internal rapid transit system for the crew will be necessary.

The psychological integrity of the hermetically bottled colony ship population needs to be maintained. Recreational fascilities need to be available, including botanical gardens which serve no other purpose. (This means you need people to maintain them. Some bit of crossover in functionality can be possible with the horticultural experts developing new domestic plant varieties enroute in the botanical gardens.) It needs musicians, artists, poets, movie stars... the works.

The colony ship has to contain epic shittons of water and biomass. It has to be able to reliably handle a growing population while in transit without overloading the environmental systems. It also has to be able to deflect cosmic energy for hundreds of years.

The colony ship has to produce artificial gravity. This means it has to rotate in some fashion, as no other means of simulating gravity is currently known.

If you are going to write a story about such a voyage, you have to explain how the earth managed to fund such an operation, and also why they did it.

Re:space mission requirements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405440)

You don't need lots of people as long as you bring a bunch of frozen sperm and embryos.

Re:space mission requirements? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405490)

Interstellar travel timetables would require whole humans procreating enroute.

A trip to mars is only 6 months. A trip to kepler22b would take over 600 years.

Depending on destination, the colony ships's needed design requirements would change. Hence, the name of the op.

Re:space mission requirements? (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405812)

Since we haven't even taken up niches in the Solar System that we know can work for human habitation (aka Moon, Mars, Europa, etc.), I think even the need for worrying about interstellar travel is a non-existent issue. Once the rest of the Solar System is teeming with interplanetary politics and we are talking about a joint interplanetary mission to another star system (aka financed jointly by multiple planets in the Solar System) will any such discussion about interstellar flight even be worth worrying about.

Get people into space first. The furthest anybody has left the Earth in the 21st Century so far has been a few hundred miles above the surface, to the International Space Station as if that was a major accomplishment. The largest spacecraft that humanity has available right now is sufficient to hold a crew of just three people, and made only by one country at the moment, Russia. China doesn't count as they aren't even flying regularly, and America won't have a working spacecraft for anywhere from 5-10 years, assuming that Congress and/or the FAA will even permit those vehicles to fly with people.

Regardless, I agree with your basic premise here that most "colonization" trips will likely be one way ventures. They don't strictly have to, and you can use an Aldrin Cycler [wikipedia.org] for the travel between two significant destinations (aka Earth-Mars) with something like an enlarged DIRECT-X spaceship in interplanetary space. If somehow you can get a nuclear rocket going that can provide continuous powered thrust, in theory you can get an Earth-Mars trip down to about two to three weeks without having to worry about stuff like relativistic travel or really trying to invent new kinds of physics to make the trip.

Re:space mission requirements? (4, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405960)

Agreed, mars, venus, titan, and europa are primary targets long before kepler22b and other distant bodies.

Mars, titan, and europa would all be subterene colonies though, because surface condition will never be suitable for terrestrial life.

Venus poses more challenge. Compositionally, it should have a magnetic field, and has plenty of internal energy to drive one. The problem is the smothering atmosphere. It keeps the crust so hot that it is just on the edge of melting. It is too hot at the surface for the mantle to convect, so no geomagnetic dynamo.

A colony on venus would have to be a "cloud city", or orbital, wit hardened landers scooping up atmosphere and metalic rock from the surface. It is likely the last place that would be colonized, due to the challenges.

Interesting ideas for it would be carbon fixation attempts, like engineering atmospheric microbes to precipitate the carbon out has high temperature plastics, like aramid. (Aramaid has a thermal breakdown temp of 500c. Just about right for venus's mean surface temp. Venus has mountains, which would be cooler. This means accumulation, and specific heat requirements to decompose "avalanches" that fall off, lowering the surface tempuratues just enough over time to really snow the shit out.)

Venusian orbit would be a great place for the superstructure colony ship to be built. It is high in radioactive metals, the squishy crust would allow fairly easy extraction (given suitable fabrication materials) and the high concentration of atmospheric carbon would help stock the biomass requirements for the vessel. Water would have to come from either earth or europa. Nitrogen supplies perhaps from titan.

It would be a mamoth construction project, and being closer to the sun would improve energy availability to enable such a task. (Doubtful it could be built in the outer solar system.)

Breakaway from the solar system perhaps from a gravity shot around the sun.

But yes, long before such a ship would be built, the local neighborhood would have to be fully populated.

Re:space mission requirements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405530)

First, your crew must be over 500 people, and totally unrelated to each other. This is the bare minimum required for a stable breeding population. Any smaller, and you end up with an unviable population, a la the nazi eugenics colony experiments.

Frozen human sperm, eggs and embryos as well other sorts of biology may be sent routinely to the colonies replenish any genetic gaps.
Also a new building architecture form called earth scrapers tower into the ground instead of up. This could help to protect the habitats from harmful radiation and the planet's severe weather conditions.
As to why colonize, look up on the oldest city in North America. St. Augustine was settled by Greek colonists that were trying to escape the changing world and political turmoil of Europe.

Re:space mission requirements? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405562)

The requirements I stated presumed a one-way trip, with no resupply.

Personally, I would take an initial crew of 1000, and over 5000 frozen embryos. This hedges bets against people chosing to be celebate, and against crew loss.

"a few years ahead" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405382)

and "colonizing the solar system"???? Take your meds you fucking space lunatic. A few years ahead won't change a single damn thing to the basic impossibility of the Space Nutter religious delusions.

Advice: learn to spell mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405414)

The rest will fall into place.

THe crew (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405458)

In Earth orbit, you can always go home in an emergency. Even going as far as the moon, you can manually get home (as Apollo 13 demonstrated 41 years ago, and at least in theory we've learned something since then.

Not so in interplanetary space. You're completely on your own, with no place to run to. Therefore your crew is going to have to be extraordinarily calm and self-sufficient, able to perform emergency repairs very quickly while the emergency is unfolding around your ears, and be able to do so in a cramped environment. Fortunately, there is a pool of people available who have exactly this training and experience: submarine crew.

A submarine damage control specialist would make an excellent crew member for an interplanetary mission. Military members have the inside track to being considered for such missions anyway, and nothing beats a proven track record. Just as military test pilots were the first astronauts, a submariner would be an excellent candidate. Submariners are also frequently trained to deal with nuclear power units and, of course, nuclear warheads. In addition to dealing with tight quarters (moreso on a Russian sub than an American boomer), they're used to operating in an environment in which a shell of metal is what separates you from an instantly-lethal environment. An experienced submariner would have proven they can handle that particular psychological pressure.

Now if you're into intrigues in your story, having someone like that as a crew member allows the opportunity to inject "the mission is actually secretly this much more interesting thing" into the mix. And what if this submariner has for his entire career been a mole for some other government? The Opposition would always be trying to get someone onto a U.S. or Russian missile boat, and what if they succeeded? And then what if that person did so well they were offered the position on the interplanetary mission? Oh, what an opportunity...

Read Ben Bova's "Moonbase" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405494)

Read Ben Bova's "Moonbase" for a good overview of living in space and on a planetary colony.

Read:Human to Mission Mars.Colonizing Red Planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405502)

If you want it believable you'll want to read some spacecraft design books. "Human Mission to Mars. Colonizing the Red Planet" is on Amazon. Read the many papers it contains. It is a non-fiction solution-guide to colonizing Mars. If you are serious, start there.

This may help - you've probably already read it - at least I hope you have. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manned_mission_to_Mars [wikipedia.org]

Visiting and coming back is relatively simple compared to colonization. That is a completely different issue.

Find some hard scifi stories to steal from or have someone with aerospace engineering experience help you with these items. To be believable, it is not 5 simple calculations. Your questions are NOT something that can be explained in a slashdot response.

Sure, I can tell you that 8.5 months is needed to get to Mars based on a specific launch date based on Earth/Mars locations. That doesn't address weightlessness for all that time, solar radiation, re-entry dynamics, food production, habitat creation, oxygen generators, power generation, months of zero sunshine due to storms, Mars gravity causing muscle atrophy, etc. There are many, many, many challenges.

Even the fantastic Red/Green/Blue Mars books overlooked many of the challenges.

Well.... I'll give it a shot. (3, Funny)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405560)

A boy finds out that he is actually a Martian, and that there are many Martians living amongst the humans on Earth (which they call Puggles). He also discovers that his parents were killed by an evil Martian King who wants to rule all the Martians, but whose ship crashed into an asteroid years ago during a failed attach on the protagonist's birth cache ship.

The protagonist is taken to a special school in Area 51, where he falls in love with a Venutian girl. However, this relationship is made extremely complex, as she can't be in direct sunlight (the cloud cover on Venus prevents this). Also, in her true form, she is a horrible parasitic being who sparkles and glitters.

Furthermore, the protagonist discovers that the one thing he has from his dead parents is a dvd containing the Bing search engine code. Strange reptilian monsters, referred to as Mozillas, are after him, trying to reclaim what is theirs.

Eventually, things reach a climax, when, with winter coming, and his instructors with arrows through their knees due to a series of freak accidents, our hero steals an rocket ship and flies to Mars. Despite an attempt by his iHal to throw him out of an airlock, he eventually reaches Mars, where he is able to climb Mt. Olympus and destroy the One Bing, thus saving the solar system.

The End.

Re:Well.... I'll give it a shot. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405584)

Oh - and... because this is slashdot:

"Writing is like driving a car. Too many people doing at once leads to horrible accidents."

Read Baxter. (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405602)

Check out Stephen Baxter's Titan. Almost exactly that scenario, and brilliantly done. If you can come close to that then I look forward to reading your work :)

Titan? (1)

toutankh (1544253) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405636)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Titan (one of Saturn's satellites). I believe it took Cassini-Huygens 7 years to reach it, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassini-Huygens [wikipedia.org]
Titan shares similarities with Earth, which makes it a good candidate for science fiction, check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_(moon) [wikipedia.org] for an extensive description.
It has among others lakes of liquid methane (not water, too cold there), a lot of water ice, an atmosphere with seasons, wind and rain (although not of water).

I would also emphasize social problems (as mentioned above) such as people getting along, people willing to reproduce (being attracted + having a decent libido), people not willing to kill each other. Brining genetic diversity issues in sounds good too: if 20 settlers go colonize Titan, then after a few generations they might all turn out stupid. You can even use it as a funny metaphor with any colonized country, e.g. by naming your spaceship the Mayflower.
Don't forget mission members' ability to deal with common medical problems (e.g. violent toothache that requires quick surgery). And of course don't forget the totally new diseases that humans have never been exposed to such as Titan's purple death.

If you are looking for paranoid scenarios then I recommend playing the first part of the Knight Of The Old Republic II, The Sith Lords video game, where a single robot exterminates the crew of a whole mining station and turns everyone against each other in a clever and funny fashion. That is, if you can play through it without having the game cashing.

One of the best resources (1)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405676)

http://www.hobbyspace.com/ [hobbyspace.com] has collected blurbs and links to just about everything space related.
I also recommend you read "The High Frontier" by Gerald K O'Niel, and "The Rocket Company"
by Patrick J. G. Stiennon & David M. Hoerr

Necessary Reading (3, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405712)

One Wikipedia article that you absolutely must read if you want to do any sort of "serious" Science Fiction involving travel in the solar system is to read up on Delta-v for travel in the Solar System. These articles are essential:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta-v_budget [wikipedia.org]
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberth_effect [wikipedia.org]
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation [wikipedia.org]
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecraft_propulsion [wikipedia.org]
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_travel [wikipedia.org]
  • Make sure you read up on very real "spaceship" (as opposed to spacecraft) that is being proposed by NASA engineers: The NAUTLUS-X [spaceref.com]

    Travel in space is all about energy, and you need it in heaping piles that are incredibly efficient in how that energy is used, as well as fuel sources that are incredibly dense in terms of potential energy storage for such a journey. All of this is in terms of how you get there, and to be perfectly honest there are still a whole bunch of unknowns. More importantly, there is very little if any sort of biological research that has gone into the long-term effects of partial-gravity environments, considering that the Apollo missions were mostly like weekend camping trips rather than any sort of serious attempt to stay somewhere for a substantial period of time.

    One thing that I find especially sad is that there has been absolutely no research at all to find out the physiological impacts of zero-g environments, much less partial gravity environments, upon the gestational development of a placental mammal. You hear all sort of conjecture flying about from supposedly intelligent scientists on the matter and talk of sterilization of the first participants to long-term stays elsewhere in the Solar System, but I think all of that is a bunch of hogwash as the proper answer is simple "we don't know". There might not be problems, but there might be issues too, or potential ways to mitigate the issues that come from having sex in space and producing children. Note here I'm talking even studies of mice, rats, guinea pigs, or any other kind of creature has never been studied in terms of what happens when they produce kids. Mice have gone on board the ISS, but they are intentionally kept separate and explicitly not permitted to have sex. I think this is something criminal in terms of keeping that sort of knowledge from being developed, and is to me one of the things that should have been studied years ago, particularly in light of potential plans for travel to other planets. Make a wild guess as to what happens, and know comfortably that nothing has been studied so the ideas of a 3rd grader is just as good as a PhD in terms of this particular issue.

    There are terrestrial studies (stuff done entirely on the Earth) of population groups and the minimum number of people you may need for a viable self-sustaining population. Even there, however, don't get hung up on the piddling details of what it takes to make a sustainable colony as no colony is going to be completely isolated from the rest of humanity, unless your story has an apocalyptic flavor and the isolation from the rest of humanity is part of the story itself.

    Some overlooked issues include worrying about base machines that make machines. In spite of some very interesting progress along the way, I don't see 3D printers becoming the ultimate source of tool making on Mars or somewhere else in the Solar System, and good standbys of things like a lathe, grinder, and other machine shop tools are going to be critical items to take on any sort of extra-terrestrial trip. I envision that one of the very first tasks for any colonization effort off of the Earth is to find a local source of metal that can be worked in some fashion (smelted, refined, and machined in some way) to make tools and even to make the tools that make tools. Everything that is used in a place like that, beyond some basic "starter kits", will have to be made by the colonists. This includes communications devices and even computing equipment, where a store of spares won't be sufficient in any circumstance.

fictional story about space mission with realism (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405806)

The world finally realizes how fucked up capitalism is after global financial markets implode on themselves, and the US loses its reserve currency status and becomes a more dangerous place to live than Mogadishu. Then like-minded people begin establishing non-profit companies using government loans to drive the greedy corporates out of business (mass marketing driving consumer sentiment, competitive pricing, etc) and the non-profits eventually band together when they have a combined revenue higher than most countries, form an R&D group and develop a fleet of horizontal takeoff and landing single stage to orbit space planes with an operational launch cost to LEO of under $100/tonne so that then space becomes truly accessible to the average person.

A few years is too soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405868)

When you say, "a few years" I assume you mean less than 10 years. I think that's too soon unless something really lights a fire under our asses. The first part of your story would have to be about what that is. Depending on what it is, it might weave itself throughout the fabric of the story. You could go for the "runaway greenhouse global warming" scenario, in which case any number of publishers will take it and any number of AGW zealots will automaticly have to buy it. A more difficult but perhaps more interesting sell for me would be the ongoing global financial crisis leading to the space industry as a Keynesian stimulus, in cooperation with major world governments. The tension amongs an international crew is always good for some drama.

Ah, but you wanted technical advice. In just a few years? Russian craft for manned LEO. Recycled US electronic tech based on our probes for high reliability in deep space, and long durations. The physical craft for deep space, now that might be a bit more of a challenge. We could use Mir tech I suppose, but it's getting kind of old. Given the short timeframe, how about one last shuttle launch? It doesn't have to re-enter and there's a lot of space in the cargo bay. Break those bad boys out of the museums, send 'em to Mars. Bonus points if you can figure out how to land a shuttle there. You've got the atmosphere, but no runway. Runway building robots, yay... but... not enough time. Retro packs for the shuttles, have 'em land like in Space 1999. That'd work on the Moon too, which is a more realistic target for all of this...

stardestroyer.net (1)

NortySpock (1966236) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405884)

I'm a member of the stardestroyer.net forums, and there are some very sharp people on that site who would be happy to give you a hand with the technical side of things. They also have a user-fiction section just for writing stories, and some of the ones posted there are pretty damn good.

Just be polite. And make sure you have a thick skin. And do your homework first.

As for your questions, I can take a stab at them...
As for the destination, the moon and Mars are the obvious choices, but what else would make sense?
Near Earth Asteroids, Venus (reasonably habitable 50 km up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_Venus#Aerostat_habitats_and_floating_cities [wikipedia.org]), Phobos, Deimos. Moons of Saturn might work, Titan and Enceladus being the more interesting ones.

How long would it take to get there?
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/appmissiontable.php [projectrho.com]
Also the rest of the atomic rockets site I just linked has very good stuff for just this type of question.

What could be the goals of the mission?
There are maybe three broad categories, I'd say: political (Why did we go to the moon anyway? To rub it in the Soviet's faces.), monetary, and scientific.
Beyond that, well, you tell me, you're the writer. He3 mining on the moon? Political/Religious refugees? Life found on Mars means everyone wants to go see it? There are a lot of semi-plausible explanations. Which is all you need to start a rattling good yarn (sometimes not even then).

Any events or tasks that could punctuate an otherwise predictably boring long trip?
Micrometeroid punches a hole in the ship. Solar CME event burps a lot of radiation at the ship. The engine stops working. The AE-35 communication dish develops a fault and they can't talk to earth. The plants (the ones that provide air and feed people, you know) get sick/die. The biologist comes unglued and murders someone. I mean, this is stuff off the top of my head, man.

And there's always turnaround day for continuous acceleration ships. (The fastest way to get anywhere in space besides FTL travel is a continuous acceleration route, where you burn the engine to speed up halfway to your destination, then flip the ship over and burn the engine to slow down. Flipping the ship you have to do with the engine off, so everyone goes weightless for a few hours or a day while the ship turns end for end.) In some universes this is traditionally accompanied by a celebration or a special dinner or something, along with funny things like (say) bolting the floor furniture to the ceiling or having the most junior officer head up dinner instead of the captain.

Any possible sightseeing for beautiful VFX shots?
Space is beautiful, kid. There are always good VFX shots.

What would be the crew?
Captain, doctor, science, communications, pilot, engineering (the astute among you will notice I'm actually listing off bridge positions from the original Star Trek...)
Ok, come on, kid, I'm not going to do all your homework for you. If you can't even be bothered to look up or think up common crew positions, why bother helping those who won't help themselves?

Seriously, most of this stuff could be answered with some intelligent usage of Wikipedia and Google and a few hours of spare time. I answered this because I was bored and was familiar with it, but if you actually care, why aren't you looking this up for yourself? If you did already, say that you did, but want geek's valuable opinions. (and they'll fall all over themselves to give it).

Because right now the summary looks like you are lazy and can't be arsed to look this stuff up yourself. Do your homework, and intelligent people will be much more interested in helping you help yourself.

There was a Google Tech Talk... (2)

bmuon (1814306) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405890)

...about a trip to "mars". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZo36huahoI [youtube.com] Summary:

"Presented by David D. Levine.

In January 2010 I spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert. Although the Martian conditions were simulated, the science was real, as were the isolation, hostile environment, and problems faced by the six-person crew. Although my official title was Crew Journalist, I soon found myself repairing space suits, helping to keep the habitat running, and having interplanetary adventures I'd never before imagined. My talk on the experience is profusely illustrated with photographs and has gotten rave reviews. Please see http://bentopress.com/mars/ [bentopress.com] for more information."

Zubrin has done this all for you (3, Informative)

lukeaar (1737974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405896)

Have a look at 'The Case For Mars' and 'Entering Space: Creating a Spacefaring Civilization' by Robert Zubrin. The first bascially explains step-by-step how we can use present-day tech to send humans to Mars within a decade and goes on to explain how it would be possible to terraform the planet with Martian natural resourced etc. The second book reaches out further, exploring the idea of using Mars (for example) as a stepping stone for missions aimed outside of our solar system.

Writing for free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405908)

If you want to write an essay for college, copy from Wikipedia. If you want to write a science-fiction story, copy from Slashdot.

50 Years From Now On (1)

qwerty765 (2438276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405934)

By the year 2025, China surpasses US in terms of economic output. It will have pebble-bed reactors ready for production. In 2020 - 2030, China should have a space station in orbit. By the year 2050, China should robotically colonize and mine the moon for Helium-3 if fusion power plants prove to be feasible.

This is as realistic as possible.

Send Mars some comets. (1)

Unmitigated Gaul (903669) | more than 2 years ago | (#38405970)

They attempt to make Mars habitable by pummeling it with comets in an attempt to deliver Mars with water, methane, etc. The pummeling also heats up the planet. They retrieve the comets from the kuiper belt using gravitation towing. The towing is done by probes or piloted by humans, your choice. Something goes wrong. A Comet heads toward Earth or towards the habitation zone on Mars. Or a whole of comets get disturbed due to the slightly chaotic nature of the solar system. Also, the pilot is a women or an android or both.

Make sure to include one person in a red shirt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38406004)

Because you never know....;)

Colony (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38406036)

Deep space (outside the van Allen belts, i.e., anything but low Earth orbit) has a serious amount of radioactivity. This takes two forms

- Solar flares (where the solar radiation suddenly increases by many orders of magnitude). These require shelters, with warning times in hours. The worst (biggest) flares could kill an unprotected human. These are most likely to occur at certain times of the solar cycle, and there might be a few a year to really worry about then.


- Galactic cosmic radiation (high energy particles - aka cosmic rays). The lifetime occupational dose for an astronaut would be reached in about 2 years. So, these can be (more or less) ignored for voyages, but cannot be ignored for habitation. In particular, a pregnant woman will need serious shielding.

Now, there is a wrinkle in shielding for high energy galactic cosmic radiation - these particles have kinetic energies > the rest mass energies of pions, protons, and the like, and, so, when they hit a nucleus in the shielding, they turn into a shower of pions, protons, and the like, each of which itself has enough energy to be dangerous. On the Earth, we avoid this as this all happens 20 + km up. In space, that means that a modest amount of shielding can make things worse if it is close to you. So, you either need room, or a lot of shielding, or both. And, if people work outside (or in lightly shielded auxiliary ships or stations) they need a solar flare warning system plus some sort of shelter within easy reach.

So, if by colony you mean "a place where children are brought to term," you need to address this. That, to me, says that the first colonies (under that definition) will be either on the Moon, in lunar caves [usra.edu] (aka lunar skylights), where 40+ of rock will provide excellent shielding (and where lunar ice likely exists and will be much easier to access than at the Lunar poles), or in a O'Neill type cylinder or habitat [nss.org], where there is enough space to shield the inhabitants properly. If I had to guess, the O'Neill cylinder / habitat would be at least 1 km long, and would be made from either Lunar material (brought up by a Lunar Space Elevator), or from an asteroid (and probably made in place, i.e., using asteroid material without moving it very much.

By the way, water (liquid or ice) would make an excellent shield, if you don't have megatons of rock handy.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account