Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Beyond the Star Trek Universe - Lawrence Krauss

  1. Jun 27, 2011 #1
    Hey all,
    I was watching a talk by Layrence Krauss on what might be possible from all the science fiction in star trek. One thing that he mentioned was that everyone comitted suicide in the show everytime they said engage! cuz of the massive G forces due to acceleration. The writers got around this problem by inventing the inertial dampeners.

    Anyway, he said that while it was not trivial to imagine how to implement a device such as the inertial dampeners, it was possible. He left it for the Q&A part of the talk but no one asked him about it.

    I was wondering if anyone here had an idea on what he thought might be the solution as I am very curious on how one could sneak a fast one by newton.

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2011 #2
    I think a GR solution contraption would be very speculative. Practically, immerse people in a spine-fitting seat surrounded by a neutral buoyancy fluid, supine to the acceleration.
     
  4. Jun 27, 2011 #3

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes and no, this is not suppressing the inertia merely making the human body able to sustain higher G forces.

    As far as I am aware there is no way known to physics (theoretical or otherwise) to make inertia magically disappear.
     
  5. Jun 27, 2011 #4
    Right. I picked on 'dampeners' as suitably broad. There's no such thing as anti-g suits, elsewhere, but that's what they are called. The body and the suit are still party to 'g-forces'.
     
  6. Jun 27, 2011 #5

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Actually, I think it is more accurate to say that it was the impulse engines that would cause the massive G-Forces. The warp drive causes the ship go into subspace right? I could believe that both speed and inertia are different there, while impulse engines only operate in normal space and are subject to real world physics.
     
  7. Jun 28, 2011 #6
    Yeah. The impulse engines is what he was talking about. He used the example of a car accelerating from 0-60mph in a few seconds and compared it to the enterprise going from 0 to 0.5c in a few seconds.
     
  8. Jun 28, 2011 #7

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The warp drives are like the Alcubierre warp drive and so when activated they would all still be floating around in free fall. What would kill them is the near infinite blue shift they would receive from trying to go FTL, that and the heart attacks they would all get from seeing their energy bill (IIRC a warp drive would take a few solar masses to transport a molecule across the galaxy...)
     
  9. Jun 28, 2011 #8
    Going back to danR's post on putting the occupant in this fluid. Would this solution provide enough to support the body against the massive amount of g forces? I realize this is very speculative but I am very curious under what circumstances this may happen.
     
  10. Jun 28, 2011 #9

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    You would have to homogenise the density across the body as much as possible, this means filling the gut and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_breathing#Space_travel" (potentially impossible). This will help you to a certain extent but there would still be issues eventually as the body is damaged due to the compression even through the liquid.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  11. Jun 28, 2011 #10
    0.5c/s2 could be rather annoying, I must concede. I wasn't up to speed on what the drive was about.
     
  12. Jun 28, 2011 #11

    davenn

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    filling the lungs with breathable liquid is already done for very deep diving. how to get it through the rest of the gut may be a problem ;)

    Dave
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  13. Jun 29, 2011 #12

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    As far as I am aware it's been done experimentally but there's been no way of making it safe or efficient.
     
  14. Jun 29, 2011 #13
    At the accelerations they're talking about (.5c/sec^2) it won't matter anyway. The slightest differences in tissue density will result in homogenization even of the containment equipment.
     
  15. Jun 29, 2011 #14
    Do we know how big a difference this will make in principle with respect to withstanding a given number of g's?
     
  16. Jun 29, 2011 #15
    That's an engineering question. But if you want to escape the Klingons, a good escape speed will need more g's than the g-suit above.

    You really need a high-end GR inertial-'force' cancellation field generator. That's not new engineering, that's new science at a very fundamental level.
     
  17. Jun 29, 2011 #16

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Even in a g-suit the body would still face damage to vital organs at high g's for prolonged periods. John Stapp (US fighter pilot) took part in some high g tests (20-40gs) but suffered damage to his retinas leading to poor eyesight.

    A g suit would help spread the g's out (i.e. prevent you suffocating) but prolonged exposure to tens of gs for minutes is going to damage your eyes, heart and probably brain.
     
  18. Jun 29, 2011 #17
    That's interesting because the eyes are already all-fluid, and ensconced conformably in the sockets. On the other hand, there is a channel leading to the nasal passage; there's the nasal cavity and pharynx, etc.

    That wouldn't apply to our high-end total immersion unit, but at the accelerations we need, it would still crush the body and suit to a thin film.
     
  19. Jun 29, 2011 #18

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The fact that it's liquid wont protect your tissues from high g's. As far as I am aware the only advantage to liquid breathing is that it makes breathing easier, your body will still be pressed against whatever surface you are being pushed against.

    But yes, we've well and truly debunked the star trek idea. The only possible way that this could work is if one could turn gravity and inertia on/off. As you pointed out this isn't just fancy tech it's completely new physics.
     
  20. Jun 29, 2011 #19
    Even immersed in a fluid, and all cavities filled with a fluid, things have different densities. Bones and cartilage, etc. Which is how an ultracentrifuge separates viruses and even proteins. At 50,000 g's even the total external and internal 'suit' would probably crush the rib cage, tear out the inner-ear bones, the larynx, etc.
     
  21. Jun 29, 2011 #20

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Low gs for longer times will do a similar trick. We don't even have to look at gross anatomy to find examples of this, cellular organelles/membranes all have slightly different densities. Also on the subject of g-suits for space I wonder if any brain damage could ensue from having blood constantly pushed to the posterior of the skull?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Beyond the Star Trek Universe - Lawrence Krauss
  1. Star Trek (Replies: 20)

  2. The Star Trek (Voyager). (Replies: 21)

Loading...