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Old 1st April 2019, 08:05 AM   #441
HansMustermann
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Well, if a civilization actually has space wars, I would assume that they would invest a lot of research and money into detecting enemies. They'd have whole arrays of telescopes with spectrometres, to notice anything whose spectrum (A) doesn't fit reflecting light from the sun, and (B) shows a strong Doppler effect to known lines. In fact, they'd have them all the way out of the solar system.

That said, I have no problem with the idea that there would be practical limits to reliable detection range. After all, we have such limits in warfare nowadays. It stands to reason that there'll always be SOME limit.

All I really have a chip on the shoulder with is outright stealth in space.
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Old 1st April 2019, 08:12 AM   #442
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Another thought about detection, though: unless you're doing a high-c bombing run to ram the planet, at some point you'll want to start braking. I.e., turn around and fire your thrusters towards the enemy.

And THAT is going to be very detectable even with today's technology.
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Old 1st April 2019, 10:32 AM   #443
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Assuming that, in some far flung future, remaining undetected becomes an issue, is there any way to have a sort of reverse heat sink? A big chunk of ice (or something with better themal properties) that you keep frozen (somehow...?) and then pump all your excess heat into for 'silent running'?
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Old 1st April 2019, 10:39 AM   #444
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a hostile space-faring force could accelerate a comet from beyond the solar system on a collision with the enemy's planet so that by the time it is detected it would be too late to do anything to deflect it.
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Old 1st April 2019, 10:55 AM   #445
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Assuming that, in some far flung future, remaining undetected becomes an issue, is there any way to have a sort of reverse heat sink? A big chunk of ice (or something with better themal properties) that you keep frozen (somehow...?) and then pump all your excess heat into for 'silent running'?
Well, the technology already exists. Military planes can dump heat into their fuel tank. Won't really make you invisible in IR, but it might make you less bright than the flare you just dropped, when you need to lose a missile.

The problem is that no matter how you twist it for a space scenario, it only buys you so much time, really.

And obviously you need to have your thrusters off.

And you need to be moving slowly. If you can meaningfully write your speed as a fraction of c, just all the hydrogen and helium you impact will make your front plate glow like Rudolph's nose
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Old 1st April 2019, 11:00 AM   #446
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
a hostile space-faring force could accelerate a comet from beyond the solar system on a collision with the enemy's planet so that by the time it is detected it would be too late to do anything to deflect it.
If you have the thrusters that can do that, you don't need the comet. For the same amount of fuel, you can put the same kinetic energy into the rocket itself. That's what I meant by doing a high-c bombing. If you can achieve the kind of speeds to make an interstellar war worth fighting, the vehicle itself is a weapon. Just point it at the enemy planet and accelerate all the way.
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Old 1st April 2019, 08:02 PM   #447
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As of today, spacecraft power has been solved:




https://dilbert.com/strip/2019-04-01
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Old 1st April 2019, 08:06 PM   #448
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My pet peeve: when a SF setting with a few silly elements makes it big and later invents technobabbley explanations for why the silly things aren't silly and actually were never meant to be silly, it's super serious because the lore is just that deep.
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Old 2nd April 2019, 11:21 AM   #449
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
My pet peeve: when a SF setting with a few silly elements makes it big and later invents technobabbley explanations for why the silly things aren't silly and actually were never meant to be silly, it's super serious because the lore is just that deep.
Related pet peeve, elaborate post hoc rationalizations for choices made in the 60s to save on the FX budget.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 10:11 PM   #450
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Similarly "Cruiser" could be derived from originally being cruise ships retrofitted for battle.
In the case of the Mon Calamari Cruisers this was literally the case. The Mon Cal ships the rebels used were actually re-purposed Cruise Ships.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 10:48 PM   #451
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
My pet peeve: when a SF setting with a few silly elements makes it big and later invents technobabbley explanations for why the silly things aren't silly and actually were never meant to be silly, it's super serious because the lore is just that deep.
Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
In the case of the Mon Calamari Cruisers this was literally the case. The Mon Cal ships the rebels used were actually re-purposed Cruise Ships.
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Old 3rd April 2019, 11:02 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
My pet peeve: when a SF setting with a few silly elements makes it big and later invents technobabbley explanations for why the silly things aren't silly and actually were never meant to be silly, it's super serious because the lore is just that deep.
Heh. I read in one of the now-noncanon Star Wars Expanded Universe novels the rationalisation for why doing the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs was not really a dumb error brought about by not understanding what a parsec was. It wasn't too dissimilar to the canon Force Awakens explanation, but it had to do with piloting a course through a region rich with black holes. Doing it in as short a route as possible not only required great skill on the part of the pilot, but it required tremendous speed and resilience on the part of the ship. So Han was bragging not only about his ship, but about his skills too. It was actually a pretty neat post-hoc rationalisation.
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Old 4th April 2019, 01:07 AM   #453
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Heh. I read in one of the now-noncanon Star Wars Expanded Universe novels the rationalisation for why doing the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs was not really a dumb error brought about by not understanding what a parsec was. It wasn't too dissimilar to the canon Force Awakens explanation, but it had to do with piloting a course through a region rich with black holes. Doing it in as short a route as possible not only required great skill on the part of the pilot, but it required tremendous speed and resilience on the part of the ship. So Han was bragging not only about his ship, but about his skills too. It was actually a pretty neat post-hoc rationalisation.
Correct. I've read that novel as well.
Unfortunately 12 parsecs is a distance of about 39 lightyears.

That means going faster than lightspeed. Unfortunately, in the EU novel, this was not the case. Han was flying hands on stick. (unless I remember completely wrong).

So. Neat as the explanation is, it's still nonsense.
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Old 4th April 2019, 01:32 AM   #454
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Stars Wars EU has also explained why you can hear spaceships flying passed with an "Aural Amplifier" worn by pilots to help orient themselves.

Trying to make sense of most Sci-fi is like Religion: a lot of effort for very little result.
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Old 4th April 2019, 04:25 PM   #455
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Originally Posted by erwinl View Post
So. Neat as the explanation is, it's still nonsense.
Oh yes, absolutely. But so is a lot of the Star Wars universe.
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Old 5th April 2019, 12:11 AM   #456
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I don't think it was a retroactive fandom attempt to explain the naming, it comes from the Visual Guide and other official sources also say that the Mon Cals produced civilian ships prior to them entered the Civil War on the side of the Rebels. It really was that it was a suggestion that cruisers could have come from cruise ship, so I was pointing out that Mon Cal Cruisers actually by official sources were retrofitted cruise ships. I doubt that they were called cruisers because of that though, I just thought it was an interesting coincidence.
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Old 5th April 2019, 01:31 AM   #457
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
I don't think it was a retroactive fandom attempt to explain the naming, it comes from the Visual Guide and other official sources also say that the Mon Cals produced civilian ships prior to them entered the Civil War on the side of the Rebels. It really was that it was a suggestion that cruisers could have come from cruise ship, so I was pointing out that Mon Cal Cruisers actually by official sources were retrofitted cruise ships. I doubt that they were called cruisers because of that though, I just thought it was an interesting coincidence.
I prefer the term "astroquarium".
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Old 5th April 2019, 02:11 AM   #458
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Retrofitted civilian ships HAVE been called cruisers in the real world. They get called stuff like auxiliary cruisers or the Royal Navy called them armed merchant cruisers. That's not the problem.

The problems are:

1. They're only useful for attacking other unarmoured ships, like submarines or other merchant vessels. If you try to stand up to an actual warship, that's going to be like a circus dwarf funeral procession: short and sad. See for example the sinking of the Atlantis for how even a destroyer can make VERY short work of one.

You try to stand up to a mis-named battleship, which is what a super star destroyer is... yeah, that's not going to end well

2. IRL they're still named "cruisers" because they're the kind of ship you can use to, you know, cruise. The hint is in the name. And the important part, for that to have any meaning, is: as opposed to other ships which are used for different, less cruisy roles.

3. What would even be the role of one? IRL they were used either as bait for submarines (Royal Navy) or to prey on unarmed enemy merchant ships (Kriegsmarine.) Neither works very well in SW, unless the rebels are actually doing piracy.
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Old 5th April 2019, 02:51 AM   #459
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Retrofitted civilian ships HAVE been called cruisers in the real world. They get called stuff like auxiliary cruisers or the Royal Navy called them armed merchant cruisers. That's not the problem.

The problems are:

1. They're only useful for attacking other unarmoured ships, like submarines or other merchant vessels. If you try to stand up to an actual warship, that's going to be like a circus dwarf funeral procession: short and sad. See for example the sinking of the Atlantis for how even a destroyer can make VERY short work of one.

You try to stand up to a mis-named battleship, which is what a super star destroyer is... yeah, that's not going to end well

2. IRL they're still named "cruisers" because they're the kind of ship you can use to, you know, cruise. The hint is in the name. And the important part, for that to have any meaning, is: as opposed to other ships which are used for different, less cruisy roles.

3. What would even be the role of one? IRL they were used either as bait for submarines (Royal Navy) or to prey on unarmed enemy merchant ships (Kriegsmarine.) Neither works very well in SW, unless the rebels are actually doing piracy.
I think in the SW Universe it would be easier to end up with a ship that is more powerful that in the case of WW2 versions. It's easier to install more powerfull shields and weapons than to rebuild and armour a hull.

According to Wookiepedia, the MC-80A Home One and its sister ship the Independence were initially build as a space exploration ships rather than the passenger ships that the MC-80 Liberty types were.

They were a threat to Star Destroyers because they had better and more advanced shielding systems so they could take a lot more damage before hull armour become an issue.

Another interesting point is that Star Cruiser and Capital Ship are used interchangeably for these ships, and technically they don't fit into the "cruiser" category for SW ships as they are far too big.
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Old 5th April 2019, 03:36 AM   #460
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SW starships are really stupid - they have a total mismatch of power, unless the story demands otherwise, then the balance is reversed.

Spoiler: best Star Wars ship is the Arrowhead.
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Old 7th April 2019, 04:14 PM   #461
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I think it's profoundly misguided to think that Star Wars capital ships could or should have direct analogies to any genuine Earth wet-navy ships.
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Old 10th April 2019, 03:14 PM   #462
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think it's profoundly misguided to think that Star Wars capital ships could or should have direct analogies to any genuine Earth wet-navy ships.
But in the Lucasarts Games, there is a definent analogy between the Tie Fighter and the Zero: both are very fast and maneuverable ,but both have almost no protection (no armor for the Zero, no shields for the Tie Fighter) and one good blast will shoot them down.
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Old 10th April 2019, 03:16 PM   #463
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Read some earlier posts and I am always amused when you read about two ships being able to meet and I'm amused because despite the terrible "science" involved in e.e. Doc Smith lensmen universe FTL (back in the 1950s he actually made a lot of use of "intrinsic" velocity, in other words two of his ftl craft could on FLT zoom to almost touching distance but then to actually transfer across the master pilots had to fight the rockets to match the ships " intrinsic" velocity ( their velocity before they switched to FTL). It was decades later that other science fiction writers started to think about this, and many of them still just ignore it.
Sci FI Nerd hat on: Lensman novels were first published as serials in the pulp sci fi magazine "Astounding" in the Mid Thirties..the first was "Galactic Patrol" in 1936.
But no doubt Smith had a massive influence on Fifties Sci Fi "Space Opera".
"Triplantery" was published in 1934,but in it's original version, was not set in and had nothing to do with the Lensmen Universe. The 1934 Magazine version was only the last part of the novel, the earlier parts of the novel setting up the Lensmen Universe were added when Smith rewrote it for book publication in the late 1940's ( to cash in on the big success he had with the Lensmen stories).
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Old 10th April 2019, 03:51 PM   #464
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Sci FI Nerd hat on: Lensman novels were first published as serials in the pulp sci fi magazine "Astounding" in the Mid Thirties..the first was "Galactic Patrol" in 1936.
But no doubt Smith had a massive influence on Fifties Sci Fi "Space Opera".
"Triplantery" was published in 1934,but in it's original version, was not set in and had nothing to do with the Lensmen Universe. The 1934 Magazine version was only the last part of the novel, the earlier parts of the novel setting up the Lensmen Universe were added when Smith rewrote it for book publication in the late 1940's ( to cash in on the big success he had with the Lensmen stories).
I think you meant "Triplanetary".

"Triplantery" was about Triffids, I think.
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Old 10th April 2019, 04:50 PM   #465
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
But in the Lucasarts Games, there is a definent analogy between the Tie Fighter and the Zero: both are very fast and maneuverable ,but both have almost no protection (no armor for the Zero, no shields for the Tie Fighter) and one good blast will shoot them down.
That's not a capital ship.
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Old 11th April 2019, 07:27 AM   #466
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I think it's profoundly misguided to think that Star Wars capital ships could or should have direct analogies to any genuine Earth wet-navy ships.
Its an amusing conversation though, seeing as they were all named in accordance with the rule of cool in the first place.

A. "Cruiser makes no sense for reasons....."
B. "Sure it does base on this elaborate rationalization......"
C. "Who cares its fantasy in space and they were just named things that Lucas thought sounded cool, you know, the guy that thought 'Count Dooku' was a good name and 'younglings' sounded like space talk for kids."
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Old 11th April 2019, 01:11 PM   #467
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
That's not a capital ship.
I never said it was and I agree with you on that;I just noted there were some parrelesl between real world fighter aircraft and some of the ones in the X Wing Games.
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Old 14th April 2019, 11:55 PM   #468
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Sci FI Nerd hat on: Lensman novels were first published as serials in the pulp sci fi magazine "Astounding" in the Mid Thirties..the first was "Galactic Patrol" in 1936.

But no doubt Smith had a massive influence on Fifties Sci Fi "Space Opera".

"Triplantery" was published in 1934,but in it's original version, was not set in and had nothing to do with the Lensmen Universe. The 1934 Magazine version was only the last part of the novel, the earlier parts of the novel setting up the Lensmen Universe were added when Smith rewrote it for book publication in the late 1940's ( to cash in on the big success he had with the Lensmen stories).
Ultra nerd if my recollection is correct. you'll only find accounts of the master pilots matching intrinsics after the publication of First Lensman in 1950 hence my use of 1950s forgetting the initial publication dates in the magazines. I'll deduct a 100 nerd points for my terrible mistake!
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Old 15th April 2019, 02:14 AM   #469
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I never said it was and I agree with you on that;I just noted there were some parrelesl between real world fighter aircraft and some of the ones in the X Wing Games.
More like between incorrect pop culture and the SW universe, to be honest.

IRL no plane ever was really armoured, because if you made one bulletproof then it couldn't fly because it's too heavy. Most airplanes were designed to be able to take a lot of damage by, basically, shrugging off the fact that a few bullets passed right through one side and out the other -- and occasionally through someone's head on the way out. As long as you didn't break the internal frame or something important (engine, fuel tanks, pilot, etc,) holes through the skin had not much effect.

Even the famed B-17 flying "fortress", was not as much a fortress, as just being able to come back with a lot of bullet and shrapnel holes going right through. Again, and sometimes through someone's head on the way out. As the propaganda truthfully said, the planes WERE coming back. What they didn't tell you is that the crewmen were coming back in body bags. No, really, you had an about 80% chance to die before finishing your tour of duty. But the plane just didn't have a problem with having lots of holes in it.

Back to the Zero, it had just about as much armour as any US or UK or German plane at the time. Which is to say a bit of steel plating on the back of the pilot's chair and a bit in front of the pilot, including a thick glass block in front of the pilot.

The Zero also did have a much thinner skin, which some people misunderstand as "ah-ha! see? less armour!!!111eleventeen", but it was just a skin over an internal frame. Again, not unlike any other plane of the era. The skin had no real ability to stop bullets on any airplane. It didn't even matter if it were metal or canvas for that purpose: the biplanes that crippled the Bismarck came back with many dozens of holes each, but as long as the frame was still in one piece, the thing flew anyway.

The Zero originally did lack self-sealing fuel tanks, so there is that, but at that point it was ruling the skies anyway because, see below, its opponents had no clue what it can do. Later IIRC it got those too.

What the Zero also did have was a feature that was misunderstood by idiots at the time. See, when you pushed the throttle to the max, flames would shoot out the exhausts on the sides up front. So it looked like you just set it on fire with the first short burst. (Without even hitting with that burst, even! See how flammable it is? ) When in reality, the pilot just put the pedal to the metal, so to speak. Many an idi... err... brave US airman has broken pursuit when that happened, and some then lost their life when that Zero came back from the "dead" and back into the fight.

Well, at least early in the war. Then they learned.

But at any rate, early in the war many had this mis-conception about how the Zero works. And comparing reports on both sides, false reports of downed zeroes were through the roof. Mind you, both sides were reporting more kills in an engagement than the other had total in the area, but the Zero kills were easily the most over-reported.

Eventually what doomed the Imperial airforce was more of a combined case that:

A) the Americans were progressing in air tech faster than they were. The Zero eventually lost its agility edge and really all other advantages.

B) the American pilots were learning fast how to deal with it, and passing that information on to other pilots. And

C) meanwhile the Japanese weren't. Their being unprepared for a long war also included not pulling out the veterans to train new pilots. Eventually, just as the quality of American pilots was going up, the Japanese were sliding back from elite pilots to rookies who only had a couple of hours tops of actual flight before they were sent to their deaths.

Oh, and

D) Yamamoto's misuse of carriers and generally Japanese naval doctrine being stupid.

You'll notice that none of that includes any armour factor.
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Last edited by HansMustermann; 15th April 2019 at 02:16 AM.
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Old 15th April 2019, 05:19 AM   #470
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As of last week, very picky science fiction writers are banging their heads and saying "Orange event horizon! I should have gone with orange!"
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Old 16th April 2019, 12:33 AM   #471
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
As of last week, very picky science fiction writers are banging their heads and saying "Orange event horizon! I should have gone with orange!"
The joke here is that they could have picked any colour. It is a picture of radio waves which do not have any colour.
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