September 5th, 2008

Planets of Peril

Weinbaum atomic engines

Re. space travel in the Weinbaum RPG, I'm going with nuclear engines that give about 0.01-0.02g acceleration in sustained flight, which are the best fit for the travel times mentioned in the stories.

Now obviously this isn't going to be much use for takeoffs and landings, and I can either go with auxilliary engines that have higher power output but can't be run for a sustained time, or with an "emergency / takeoff / landing" setting on the main engines, like using the afterburners on a jet. A lot more power, but it burns through fuel extremely fast, say 200 times as much fuel for 100 times as much thrust. E.g. to get 2g for 10 minutes uses as much fuel as .02g for 2000 minutes, about 33 hours. And 33 hours at 0.02g will take you a LOT further than 10 minutes at 2g.

Does this sound reasonable for game purposes?

Later: To clarify this, my best guess for travel times is a few weeks for Earth-Mars and Earth-Venus, with Saturn to Neptune and beyond just on the edge of the possible. In The Red Peri they imply that Saturn-Pluto (about a billion miles) can be done in three months or possibly less, but they don't give exact times.

Assuming that it'll take three months for the 1 billion mile trip under normal circumstances, that's about 0.01g cruising acceleration /deceleration. Plugging in a range of values gives 1 billion mile trip times of:

0.01g = 93.7 days
0.015g = 76.5
0.02g = 66.3
0.025g = 59.3
0.03g = 54.1

And Earth-Mars times at conjunction of:

0.01g = 20.2 days
0.015g = 16.5
0.02g = 14.3
0.025g = 12.8
0.03g = 11.7

I think I'm going to go with 0.01g for the earlier ships in e.g. A Martian Odyssey, 0.02g to 0.03g for later ships.
marcus 2013

Must be a bargain!

Anyone need twelve rather battered bright yellow ex-MOD 57 x 43 x 22 cms flight cases? Or a pallet of A0 red-sensitive plotter film, 12 100ft rolls 48" wide?. Or two used video phones?

They must be good for something, but you need to collect them from Bethnal Green if you win them...

I should add that I've bought a lot of laboratory kit from this guy and it has all been good - these are just unusually weird, even by his standards...
marcus 2013

A First Look at Tweel

I'm rather pleased with this. I think it meets the description reasonably well, and has the right sort of slightly silly ostrich look:

“The Martian wasn't a bird, really. It wasn't even bird-like, except just at first glance. It had a beak all right, and a few feathery appendages, but the beak wasn't really a beak. It was somewhat flexible; I could see the tip bend slowly from side to side; it was almost like a cross between a beak and a trunk. It had four-toed feet, and four-fingered things—hands, you'd have to call them, and a little roundish body, and a long neck ending in a tiny head—and that beak. It stood an inch or so taller than I..."

And here's another form of alien life pointed out by ramtops