Research for Science Fiction Story

In summary: You could fling two loads at once. Different directions, but if the orbits are right...My thought on that. Have an asteroid as the "core" of the Slinger. Two long structures (arms) at the "poles". Shipments are delivered to the asteroid and placed on the base of the arms. The rotation of the rock pushes the loads out along the arms and they sail off toward their destination(s). Balance the two loads with something always needed or at least useful, like water. The loads could have rockets attached to adjust their trajectory. The destination orbits would gradually get "out of alignment" with the Slinger's trajectories, and local tugs would be in business to retrieve them and nudge them to their
  • #1
I'm researching a topic for a sci-fi story. One of the elements is a "space glove", basically a network of nets that "catch" rods of ballistic projectiles launched from the peaks of mountains by railgun. Any comments or insights would be helpful. Here is a data dump of my scribblings on the topic.

Space Glove
Orbital system of nets that catches raw materials launched by railgun as ballistic projectiles.
size of net to establish 95% confidence of catch
Mass of net Mn using known materials (what would these materials need to be?)
Challenge: Railgun exit velocity necessary for projectile to achieve low Earth orbit and have necessary tangential velocity to ensure catch without net breakage. Assume ground launch at 6,000 meters (i.e. Dinali or similar peak). What is the energy necessary and what is the marginal cost of each launch? My hypothesis is that marginal cost is a fraction of current launch technologies.

Assuming catch successful, given mass Mp of projectile and Tangential Velocity of projectile Vx, how much fuel Mf is necessary to re-establish orbital velocity of net?
Mass Mp of projectile needed to carry re-orbital velocity fuel Mf + 100kg of raw materials. We are assuming that projectiles will carry raw materials plus fuel to pay for momentum loss during catch.
Surface area / shape / tangential velocity necessary of projectile at time of catch needed to ensure glove does not break

I'm thinking that we are launching a ceramic tipped rod of (net materials) that will expand for "the catch". It would also need to contains fuel. First several years of launches would self assembling nets to increase the capacity of our Space Glove launch system.

How many nets to accommodate a railgun launch every 60 seconds.

At this launch capacity, space glove would enable low cost launching of 52,560,000 kg of raw materials per year. How long before we could have...
- Orbiting solar cells to power entire countries via microwave relays
- Planetary defenses from rogue asteroids
- Orbital debris cleanup programs
- Human habitats
- Building of space factories
- Launch platforms for exploratory programs & asteroid mining
 
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  • #2
Since the payload is launched via railgun, does that mean its casing at least is strongly ferrous? If not, why not make it so? Then the space glove can be magnetic, simply reversing the ballistic velocity. You'll need to account for trajectory drift though.

I think you could set up an energy recovery system, which could power subsequent launches, or simply power the retrieval station.

With such high volume interplanetary passages, you'll want to close the energy loop as much as possible - so your system doesn't hemorrhage energy at interplanetary scales.
 
  • #3
Would a centrifugal catapult work for launching loads?
 
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  • #4
Noisy Rhysling said:
Would a centrifugal catapult work for launching loads?
Intriguing. You could line up and fire multiple projectiles at the perimeter and energy can be conserved. Braking for reload could recharge the batteries. Cool idea.
 
  • #5
Bradley Morrison said:
Intriguing. You could line up and fire multiple projectiles at the perimeter and energy can be conserved. Braking for reload could recharge the batteries. Cool idea.
You could fling two loads at once. Different directions, but if the orbits are right...
 
  • #6
My thought on that. Have an asteroid as the "core" of the Slinger. Two long structures (arms) at the "poles". Shipments are delivered to the asteroid and placed on the base of the arms. The rotation of the rock pushes the loads out along the arms and they sail off toward their destination(s). Balance the two loads with something always needed or at least useful, like water. The loads could have rockets attached to adjust their trajectory. The destination orbits would gradually get "out of alignment" with the Slinger's trajectories, and local tugs would be in business to retrieve them and nudge them to their end point. (This scenario would open up the possibility of competition for the loads, up to and including piracy and armed ships confronting each other for the loads.

Each major destination would have it's own Slinger, of course. Important but low priority loads would be flung in off-angle days, and be picked up when there was nothing else to do. Rather like the "cod grind" in "Deadliest Catch".
 

1. What is the research process like for writing a science fiction story?

The research process for writing a science fiction story can vary depending on the specific topic or theme of the story. Generally, it involves gathering information and knowledge about current scientific advancements, theories, and technologies. This can include reading scientific literature, conducting interviews with experts, and attending conferences or lectures. It is important for the writer to have a solid understanding of the science behind their story in order to make it believable and engaging.

2. How much research is necessary for a science fiction story?

The amount of research needed for a science fiction story depends on the complexity of the story and the level of detail the writer wants to include. Some stories may require extensive research in order to accurately portray the science and technology involved. Other stories may only require a basic understanding of scientific concepts. It is important for the writer to strike a balance between enough research to make the story realistic, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming or bogged down with technical details.

3. Can you use real scientific concepts in a science fiction story?

Yes, using real scientific concepts can add credibility and depth to a science fiction story. However, it is important to remember that science fiction is a genre that often involves exaggerations or speculations about current scientific knowledge. It is okay to take creative liberties with real concepts in order to make the story more interesting or thought-provoking, as long as it remains within the realm of possibility.

4. How do you balance scientific accuracy with creative freedom in a science fiction story?

Balancing scientific accuracy with creative freedom can be a delicate process. The key is to have a solid understanding of the science behind the story and to use that as a foundation for creative elements. It is also important to be open to feedback from experts or beta readers who can provide insight on the scientific accuracy of the story. Ultimately, the writer should strive for a balance between making the story believable and engaging, while still being true to the scientific concepts involved.

5. What are some common mistakes writers make when researching for a science fiction story?

One common mistake is relying solely on popular culture or other science fiction stories for research. While these can be sources of inspiration, it is important to also consult scientific literature and experts in the field. Another mistake is overlooking the societal or ethical implications of the science and technology in the story. It is important to consider how these advancements could impact society and to incorporate these considerations into the story. Additionally, writers should be careful not to over-explain or include unnecessary technical details, which can bog down the story and make it less enjoyable for readers.

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