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"Lifeboat" equipment?

  1. Aug 29, 2016 #1
    Say a pod about the size of the one R2 and C3PO escaped from their ship in "A New Hope". What would you consider essential equipment for "castaways"? Assume a technological level equal to the Star Wars universe, but you're not tied to what they are known to have in that scenario. Pick your planet, Endor, Tatooine, Hoth, some other? And assume that the pods are loaded for just that type planet.

    Endor: I'm thinking weapons, food, some kind of com gear or beacon, durable clothes, and a shelter over and above the pod.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    I have trouble thinking about planets I've yet to visit.

    For the Earth though, I'd probably want a waterproof survival book, a life raft, some signaling equipment like flares, beacon... an effective map and a means to determine where on the map you were like a compass, GPS and a clock.

    Some binoculars and some survival tools like a bow, rope, knife. Some cooking tools like a pot, fire starter. Some water desalination and purification stuff.

    A tent or lean-to sheet...

    A lot of this stuff in the first paragraph could easily be replaced by an iPad device with comm capability and with access to backup or rechargeable power.

    You can also find ideas on YouTube look for bug out bags where folks try to build the ultimate survival pack with reasons why they chose what they chose.
  4. Aug 30, 2016 #3
    One thing I'd do with the design of the pod would be to make it strong enough to be a retreat for the survivors, including defense measures such as electric shock delivered through the hull. I'd also build them so they could provide electric power for at least a year, something along the lines of the radioisotope thermo-electric generators.

    jedishrfu: A lot of my cousins are survivalists, they're sure civilization is ten seconds away from collapse. They've lectured me on their plans. I mentioned that revealing the location of their secret hidey hole to anybody not expected to share it is a bad idea. I get a blank expression in return. :facepalm:
  5. Aug 30, 2016 #4
    It is impractical to build a different lifeboat for each type of planet. There's too much variation.
    A planet could have little to no atmosphere, or way too much.
    You could land near a river of liquid sodium, or in an ocean of liquid methane.
    Most of the time I would expect there to be no planet whatsoever. A lot of space is just empty space.

    So, playing by the rules, I would want a lifeboat capable of:
    1. Remaining in orbit
    2. Air, water, and food production/recycling.
    3. Communication equipment to call for help.
    4. Some sort of technology capable of suspending/restoring my animation. (No sense dying of old age or boredom.)
    However, I think you might have overlooked an interesting option available in the SW universe.
    Ships about the size of a lifeboat have been shown capable of hyperdrive travel.
    Why wait to be rescued, when you can just go home?
  6. Aug 30, 2016 #5
    I didn't mean to imply that there would be specialized lifeboats for each type of planet. I was asking what would be stocked when they knew they'd be working near such a planet. I could picture modules that would be added to the lifeboats when the crew knew they'd be working near Endor, for example.

    As for the hyperdrive, would it be practical to have maybe dozens of hyperdrives around that you hope to never use?
  7. Aug 30, 2016 #6
    Unfortunately, I'm in no position to judge the practicalities of a hyperdrive. That bit was meant to be mostly tongue-in-cheek, because I recognize that it isn't in the spirit of the original question.

    That said, what do you think of my general purpose proposition?
  8. Aug 30, 2016 #7
    You have the primary purpose of a lifeboat down very well. My intent, however, is to provide "castaways" with something similar to Robinson Caruso's wrecked ship, a means of getting what they need. For example, on a desert planet there would be a device that acts like a tent to shield the pod from the sun.* On a jungle world it would be an "electronic umbrella" of some kind to allow the castaways to get outside the pod when it's been raining for five straight days and still not get too wet.

    * This based on the reports of men in lifeboats in the Pacific in WWII. They all got badly sunburned because there was no large piece of canvas in the boats.
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