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Old June 9th, 2007, 01:37 AM
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TRAVELLER Special Supplement 4: Sensors

POST One - Introduction.

Space is vast, almost entirely empty, and very, very cold such that even gases freeze solid. A vessel's drives emit enormous energy when providing any reasonable thrust, thus the energy from a manuvering ship is very easy to detect against the super-cold background of space.

But, even when a vessel ceases use of its maneuver drive, a reasonable internal temperature must be maintained to protect the crew. And a vessel uses its fusion power plant to support all manner of equipment including the ship's life support system, it's computer system, and a multitude of other power-hungry essential systems--all of which emit heat as a waste by-product. This heat must be shunted to the exterior of the vessel in order to keep the excess from cooking the crew and frying components. Even a military design stealth ship must be crafted in such a way that these types of issues are addressed. All vessels (if ship's systems are used) radiate energy which can be detected using the advanced sensors available in Known Space. Thus, it is generally easy to detect the presence of other starships and extact a fair amount of information about other vessels based on energy emissions.

There isn't much to hide behind in space, but space also isn't completely empty. Background noise, such as that emitted from a gas giant's magnetosphere or from the radiation of the system's star, can interfere with sensor readings. The limiting component of a vessel's detection capability is its ability to filter this background noise, and the quality of this process is directly related to the expertise of the sensor operator, the equipment he uses, and the vessel's computing power.

NOTE: These sensor rules are a revision of the rules I posted earlier. Besides my original work, I draw upon sensor information described in the Classic Traveller basic rules and Grand Survey as well as CT articles in Pegasus and White Dwarf magazines. The description of sensors above is inspired by a paragraph in Power Projection: FLEET.

Last edited by Supplement Four; June 28th, 2007 at 07:08 PM..
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