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Old November 10th, 2014, 01:15 AM
Carlobrand Carlobrand is offline
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Default Navigation lasers and other ideas

Aramis pointed out an issue: a ship traveling under acceleration toward a target a week away (presumably 3 1/2 days accelerating, 3 1/2 days decelerating) reaches speeds at which a mote of dust can penetrate through the hull of a ship - and right out the other side. Not on the list of healthy things if you or some vital electronic component or some such item happen to be in the mote's flight path.

Question then becomes: how do you prevent that? The obvious way is to slow down, but that has a pretty severe impact on canon. Safe speeds could leave you either spending weeks to get to the gas giant or having to jump to go get the fuel to jump.

Well, one good thing is that space is pretty empty. One estimate puts the amount of space dust out there at around 30 to 40 trillion tons - in a region of space measuring in the tens or hundreds of sextillions of kilometers. Odds of encountering something are very low. Still, what are the odds of lightning striking you? Given enough opportunity, the bad thing happens somewhere.

What is needed then is the ability A) to detect something as small as a mote of dust at ranges where you can do something about it, and/or B) to do something about it.

One thought is a navigation laser. Shine a beacon-size laser forward in an effort to illuminate tiny motes that might be in the flight path, either with the intent of spotting the things with enough time to maneuver around them or with the intent of targeting them with a second laser strong enough to vaporize the mote, so that instead of a dust mote the ship runs into a thin and expanding gas. The other thought is to make the beacon-laser strong enough to vaporize the mote itself, and then let it play across the ship's flight path. It depends on how much energy is needed to vaporize a mote: the object is to protect the ship without introducing an undocumented weapon.

What other ideas might be developed to protect the ship?
Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!
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