Author Topic: Astronomy  (Read 1359 times)

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Offline Novachen

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Well... Capella in the Freespace universe is a system with only one Class G star, so very similar to Sol... in Reality Capella would be a system with four stars and that would mean that it is unlikely that this one could be the home of 200 million.

Interestingly, the real Capella A and Capella B are Giant Stars that have enough mass to end their life cycle into Supernovae.

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Offline karajorma

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Are you really claiming that Terran Command are on a different ship in Mystery of the Trinity? Cause if they are, where the hell is it? Why is it never mentioned? And why aren't they scared that the Shivans will blow it up given that it's definitely nowhere near the Aquitaine, the only ship that can send help if it is attacked?

I'm sorry but there comes a point where it's only sensible to assume that the GTVA do have FTL comms.

But it's plausible (much more plausible than causing Capella to go supernova in fact). Clearly one cannot make completely realistic FS2 campaigns since subspace drives are already unrealistic, but if one's going to take creative liberties, areas like this one are the best places for it.

I don't think it's the slightest bit plausible that the GTVA are limited to STL comms. You'd have to contradict practically all of the interactions with Terran Command in order to make that work. Look at it this way, Earth and Mars are pretty close together in planetary terms yet it takes 6 minutes to send a signal and get a reply when they are at their closest points. Have we ever seen Command have that sort of delay ever? And yet we see missions where planets are present in one mission and dots of light in another. So unless you're going to posit that every time Alpha wing jump somewhere Terran Command is following them, staying out of range and yet never get attacked by the Shivans there is no way you can get away with claiming that the GTVA doesn't have FTL comms.

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Offline General Battuta

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Oh dear.

Ants can't even damage humans. Humans in Blue Planet can kill Shivans.

...ants can't damage humans? Have you, er, ever been bitten by an ant? Never mind the problem of ecologies: without ants crop yields would collapse, so all they need to do to harm us is stop working. What would happen to ants without humans? Nothing.

As a species ants have a much better chance of defeating humans than humans have of defeating BP's Shivans.

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If Corey were 10 light years away he would not be able to communicate since signals take 10 years to travel. He wouldn't even know which way to send the signals in.

Friend, there is no point talking unless you read what is said to you. Let me repeat: the point is not that Corey is 10 light years away, but that his navigational systems are ****ed. He cannot accurately determine his position. This is why Corey says "This is not right." when describing his readings.

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The atomic weapons idea doesn't work either (for reference stars by definition undergo atomic processes at their core, which is why they output so much energy). I'm nonetheless talking in terms of mass because the plausible power output of a weapon is capped by its mzzz blah blah blah

The atomic weapon idea is a perfect analogy because an atomic weapon cannot be explained by the chemical properties of its warhead. The supernova of Capella cannot be explained without understanding the dynamics of subspace. You don't know how subspace works, so your insistence that the supernova is impossible is as pointless as insisting an atomic bomb can't burn hot enough to produce all that energy. Atomic bombs don't burn.

Now if you'd started by complaining about the space friction that slows your fighter down when you turn your engines off... ;7
« Last Edit: December 14, 2017, 08:52:33 am by General Battuta »

 
If you want to get something realistic, go play Kerbal Space Program.

Let me throw in some stuff too:

1: Given Shivan expertise in subspace technology, this is plausible. While Shivans can definitely do subspace things that have impact on gameplay (precise jumps, possibly disabling subspace drives/comms), there are some other things. Like Blue Planet's description of Sathanas claiming that it removes the unimaginable amounts of heat generated by these large beams in front by radiating all that energy into subspace. Or using completely unstable jump nodes.
I think a simple way to force Capella to go nova (wait, wasn't that a multiple star system?) would be to just open a huge subspace portal inside it, directed to somewhere, and either suck out matter from its core or force more matter to flow through that portal into Capella (just have the other end of that portal inside a denser star). This method to throw a star off balance is rather simple. By the way, ever watched Stargate SG-1?

2: While there was a mention of whether any light-speed communication with Sol would be disclosed or not or if that investment in post-war GTA (with Shivans, HoL, GTI defectors and completely wrecked economy) would be even possible, in Freespace we do not have a magical immediate FTL communication anywhere we want.

Look at that. From this you can see that a vessel's subspace drive needs to be in a gravitational field (of a solar system) in order to even work properly and trying to make a jump to a location far into outer parts of a system seems to require a) a lot of power to stabilise a subspace corridor, b) computational abilities to predict an optimal path of some sort in an unstable subspace field.
My guess is that subspace normally is very, very energetic and unstable, but gravitational fields close to their source are able to fairly well stabilise local parts of subspace, and vessels using a jump drive as we see in FS are able to only move in such subspace environment, probably because in a more violent areas a ship travelling in FTL would have been just vaporised or forced to use excessive amounts of energy to prevent that from happening. (Note: Jump nodes seem to be temporary natural "corridors" of stabilised subspace between "bubbles" that are solar systems) So if we imagine FTL comms being basically a tiny subspace corridor between comm systems of two vessels into which radio waves are sent and received on the other side (again: Stargate), even if you would somehow manage to open a corridor between Sol and Alpha Centauri (energy requirements!), any objects sent would probably be vaporised and any message sent would be either too corrupt to be even registered as a message or completely indistinguishable from the subspace background noise.
Also note that tightly packed star clusters could have really complex subspace mechanics like dozens of jump nodes or most of the space inside that cluster being accessable with a basic in-system jump drive.

Freespace ship speeds seem to be relative. I think it was mentioned in some campaign that your speed is measured relatively to a close notable revelant object, like a space station, huge warship or an asteroid. I suppose that would also mean these objects are the center of mass for a gravitational system like, in example, planetoid-you or capship-you-others.

3: Either nav systems of Bei's wingmen malfunctioned... Or 10ly isn't actually that much off the scale in this case. See, in reality N362 is a star cluster, not a single neutron star. As I mentioned earlier, star clusters could have really complex subspace dynamics and the presence of a massive neutron star probably isn't helping too. I guess that in such a system 10ly is a realistically achieveable distance of an in-system subspace jump with that huge navigational error being caused by multiple interactions of that cluster.

4: That war is intergalactic (in more detail: between our galaxy and a stray star cluster outside it IIRC), so the distance isn't that ridiculous, but it doesn't matter either way since the only way to get to another solar system is via a jump node and the same seems to be true between galaxies/star clusters. And I think it's settled that travel through a jump node is really fast.
The other issue is a sense of scale: if the Ancients are that arrogant and have similarities with humans in that domain... Well, our definition of "colonised" is "some people live there", not "we are fully utilising the resources of a whole planet". If you ever watched certain videos of Isaac Arthur on Youtube, you would probably know that our whole solar system is able to provide us with stuff to build a civilisation with a fleet exceeding most things seen in science fiction by several orders of magnitude. Even better, Jupiter and its moon system are also able to do it. For example, look at UEF in Blue Planet: Sol has got a similarily sized population and economy to whole GTVA. Or Mass Effect - the known civilisation spans the entire galaxy, but only a fraction of a percent of stars and systems are accesible to travelers. In ME the effective range of travel is: mass relay systems + very limited FTL range. In FS it is: wherever a stable jump node decides to form and only the insides of that solar system. So it's very probable that Ancients had only a couple dozens of systems colonised and Shivans could even originate from that single system and build an enormous fleet only with resources available there. Heck, you can hide fleets as huge as moons or planets in such a single solar system. Noone's looking there anyway.
So that battle is important in two ways: in a way Ancients think it is - honour, pride ("we've never lost a system") and in a way a little bit more serious - to hold them off in that place because otherwise they will break into your territory and slaughter everything (just like GTVA's defence of Gamma Draconis and later Capella).

5: The story is about races noticing each other when they have similar tech levels, because if that isn't the case... there's no story. Just an immediate slaughter or subordination. Also, what will a single high-tech weapon do for you when your enemy has got millions of more primitive guns?
Not to mention that multiple races with similar technology advancement arising in a short period of time is a quite possible situation when there is something like the Reapers.
The thing making this situation (humanity vs Shivans) a lot different than a simple comparison of military forces is intelligence: since we're intelligent we know how to use stuff like viral weapons in order to even take control over enemy assets. This isn't actually a case against Shivans, but I think you get it. In Blue Planet's case the problem is whether Shivans want to kill humanity off or if they need that not to happen at all.
Yes, humans can kill Shivans, but infinity minus one is still infinity.


Also I've always thought that Command is actually stationary somewhere in fleet HQ and all the info and orders are sent through a system of subspace transmitters and relays through jump nodes to the desired system where Allied units are located. That would need a device sitting near a jump node in the nebula and transmitting stuff, and I really doubt GTVA would attempt to expand into that nebula without basic comm infrastructure.

Also,
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How many ants does it take to kill a human in an F-16? How many F-16s can humanity field? I rest my case.
If we assume that an ant has no weapons like a Shivan and also no realistic way of damaging F-16's hull, in order to kill that man they should... a) fly en masse into fighter's engines until they're completely clogged up, fail and the whole fighter crashes. Yes, flying ants exist. Or walk into the engine when that fighter is stationary on the ground. Or hide in the cockpit instead and just eat the pilot after lift-off.
And repeat.
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Offline Banedon

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Your desire to educate us all on real physics is admirable. That you want a bit more realism in your spacefighter shooty game is understandable, even though I don't share that want. But what you are doing here is needless nitpicking of things that, sorry, do not matter to the question of how to tell an engaging story in FS.

Okay, then I don't care either.

Consider this offer to help withdrawn. You can close the thread.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Wait, I thought this was a request for help, not an offer! You wanted things explained! ;)

 

Offline Mongoose

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Oh and the GTVA does have FTL Comms, but that just makes the entire "No Sol communication" thing worse, (why are FTL comms down?) (do they need subspace?) (If so, why can't they still just use radio and wait 4-8 years?)
It's almost a certainty that intersystem comms require an active subspace node between the two systems, with the aid of relays (like the Faustus in FS1's A Failure to Communicate) to send and receive the signals.  As was previously mentioned, the Aquitaine itself presumably served as the comm relay during the nebula campaign, and Command was incommunicado during Into the Lion's Den because there was no relay ship on that side of the node.  Take away the node entirely, as in Sol, and there's nothing to transmit through.  As for Alpha Centauri, is it that no one is able to send a signal...or does the GTVA not want anyone to know what was said?  ;7

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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5) Finally, about technology: life on Earth has existed for over 3 billion years, and it's only in the past several hundred years that we've actually had firearms. If there is sentient life out there, they are not likely to be at a technologically comparable level. In other words, if we do go to war with an alien species, it's overwhelmingly likely that it would be like us vs. ants: one side wipes the other out without even trying. Unfortunately that doesn't allow for a good story but what to do :doubt:
Heeeh... What about no?

This argument is invalid because you have no idea what aliens are like. In fact, nobody do. While evolutionary rules are quite specified and they are likely to be identical in whole universe, potential alien races may develop much slower or much faster than humans. Numerous conditions may contribute to speed of their technological development, or opposite. They are also likely to go with completely different technology, mostly exotic compared to technology of humans.

Second issue is tempo of evolution. On Earth life is existing for 3 billion years as you mentioned and we are the first intelligent, sentient speces of Earth, well... Evolution is probably not likely to give birth to species with higher intelligence frequently. Space is not full of ancient, hyperadvanced species dwarfing humans in every aspect. The most possible result is varied age of individual species and their civilisations respectively. Some of them are older than us by millenia, some are analogical to humans in stone age. We have no idea what shall we encounter first.

Vasudan civilisation is probably older than terrans, but similar technological level may be explained by various conditions. The easiest one to figure out was harsh, hot climate of Vasuda Prime or more tradition-focused mentality. Shivans are likely to be much older than both terrans and vasudans, but their history is remaning ever mysterious.

I have no idea where did you get your theory. I guess it's derived from some science publications. Well... Your publishers lack imagination and in case of science, imagination is extremely important as Einstein used to say :P. Potential aliens are nothing like humans, so we should not think about them like we think about us. I mean, some percent of them are similar, but current species of homo sapiens is a result of millions of years of veeery complicated history. Similar chains of events + similar environmental conditions are unlikely to exist in close proximity to Earth, but somewhere in distant galaxies... Well, who knows.

And yeah... FS is about science too, but it's mostly about entertainment :P
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Offline Banedon

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I have no idea where did you get your theory. I guess it's derived from some science publications.

I'm an astrophysicist by training. You'd think I know what I'm saying. If you cared I could point you towards references on this, but do you?

I won't be reading this thread anymore. If anyone still wants to talk, send me an email, but no promises.

 

Offline General Battuta

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If you're an astrophysicist by training, why did you come into a forum full of smart people who've been thinking about this stuff for nearly twenty years and try to 101 it? No personal offense intended, it's just a weird choice.

 
I'd like to posit that the scientific method can be applied to speculative fiction. Obviously, we can't run experiments on Shivans or jump drives, but we can test hypotheses against the data we do have, namely canon. Under this model, you've proposed five hypotheses. Each of them has has been responded to with canon or something that can be easily derived from canon. I'm sure you'd agree that refusing to reconsider your hypothesis when faced with new information isn't very scientific, being an astrophysicist and all. So, rather than this little tantrum, why not do the scientific thing and defend your hypothesis - taking into account the new data you've been given - or gracefully concede the point? There's still a discussion to be had here, if you want, but you've got to consider the game's canon as a valid source. As you say, real life doesn't have jump drives; therefore, to speculate about how they work without considering what the game tells us about them isn't a productive exercise. I think you've already seen how frustrating it gets.

 

Offline Nyctaeus

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I have no idea where did you get your theory. I guess it's derived from some science publications.

I'm an astrophysicist by training. You'd think I know what I'm saying. If you cared I could point you towards references on this, but do you?

I won't be reading this thread anymore. If anyone still wants to talk, send me an email, but no promises.
I actually care, but your references will be just a bunch of thesis. Mostly because that's only thing we can do now in case of hypothetical alien life - make thesis. To make something more than thesis, you need to have representative sample and repeatable results according to modern scientific methods... Which you won't have unless we make contact with multiple alien species. What I don't understand is the fact that you defend your obviously not-confirmed thesis with incredible stubbornness. It's not that hard to admit: "Okay, it's just a thesis. One of many. We have no proof that this one will ever be confirmed".

If you're an astrophysicist by training, why did you come into a forum full of smart people who've been thinking about this stuff for nearly twenty years and try to 101 it? No personal offense intended, it's just a weird choice.
Common trait of all hard-science enthusiasts. They're all trying to show everyone else how smart they are [and how others aren't :P]. This is also nothing personal, but this is not the first time I see something like that and it's quite common behaviour among devoted science enthusiasts. No offense Banedon. Don't do typical ragequit but instead calm down your ego. Your knowledge may be very useful here for plot and lore designing, but try to use your knowledge for expanding FS lore instead of negating it because it is not fully scientifically accurate.

I guess there is no point in continuing this discussion any further. May I kindly request any moderator to close it to avoid further pointless, unproductive discussion?
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I just want to point out that there are some interesting fan fiction texts on HLP that are astronomically... quite correct (or at least logical). Like Shetland/Ephesus.
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