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Firearms and force users
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh doh, you're right. I'm off by a magnitude of 1 000. I shouldn't be too proud of this technological terror I've created. The power to generate plasma is nothing compared to the power of the magnitude. Or something.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
Plasma makes a lousy ranged weapon, but that's in the real world. Star Wars is science fantasy. If you want to ignore the physics of the situation, that's fine.

Aren't lightning bolts essentially plasma?
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Amazing. Everything you just said was wrong.
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Argentsaber
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
Plasma makes a lousy ranged weapon, but that's in the real world. Star Wars is science fantasy.

I recently had a similar point made on my scifi writer's group. In that case the topic was how ion drives are highly efficient but don't really have noticable thrust in the short term. My answer to this was that perhaps the drives ionize hypermatter, and as such can expell it at many hundreds of times lightspeed. This might explain how Han and crew make it to a nearby star system on "sublight" drives.. as if you were going with strict relativity bounded by the speed of light it should have at least taken years, right?

..Anyway, if you apply the same concept to the plasma weapons in space they become much more believable, and it doesn't introduce anything that isn't already in the setting. maybe that is why Tibanna gas is used in blasters and hyperdrives both?

Kytross wrote:
Personally, I liked it better when they were lasers. Lasers make excellent weapons with no problems with physical laws. But lasers can't be reflected with laser swords. Plasma can be deflected by a magnetic field.

Isn't that what shields are trying to do in the first place? Why else would you "angle the deflector shields?"
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argentsaber wrote:
In that case the topic was how ion drives are highly efficient but don't really have noticable thrust in the short term. My answer to this was that perhaps the drives ionize hypermatter, and as such can expell it at many hundreds of times lightspeed. This might explain how Han and crew make it to a nearby star system on "sublight" drives.. as if you were going with strict relativity bounded by the speed of light it should have at least taken years, right?

Sorry, but I'm having trouble understanding this.
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wookieepedia goes into some detail about the sublight drive:

"A sublight drive was a vital starship component used to drive ships through Realspace at speeds less than the speed of light; the most common form of sublight drive was the ion engine, which the TIE fighter used two of to achieve its incredible speeds.

The usual speeds achieved by sublight drive were quite substantial, amounting to a respectable fraction of the speed of light. A freighter-sized vessel propelled by sublight drive could clear the atmosphere of a planet and its gravity well in a matter of minutes."

Consider that in "normal" physics, lightspeed is the fastest you can go. The closer you approach lightspeed, the more your subjective clock slows down - time dilation.

If you break down in space, chances are that you're some distance away from whatever system you're trying to reach. Hence, hyperdrive backups.

The closest star to our solar system is just over 4 light years away. If I'm travelling at 0.1c (i.e. 10% of lightspeed), that trip will take me some 40 years to cover. If I'm travelling at 0.5c, that trip will take me 8 years. The fastest man-made object ever made (so far), would likely be the Helios 2 probe or the Juno probe - travelling at about 260 000 km/h.

Despite my recent miscalculation about this, that is about 0.0002c. Which means that if we try to cover 4 LY at a speed of 260 000 km/h, it'll take about 20 000 years.

The common quip about this is that "it's called space for a reason - there's a lot of it".

A "respectable fraction of the speed of light" is opaque - but ignoring a variety of problems we'll encounter (blueshift of cosmic background radiation, for instance), let's consider 0.75c as a nice speed. That's about 800 000 000 km/h - eight hundred million kilometers per hour. To cover 4 LY would still take about 5 years and four months.

So Argentsaber's point is that if you're going BETWEEN systems on sublight, you're on a time scale of YEARS. If you're going intrasystem - well, Pluto's about five and a half light hours away from Earth, so going at 0.75c you'll cover that distance in about seven and a half hours. And that is completely ignoring time spent accelerating and decelerating.

Argentsaber's other point about using hypermatter rather than ordinary matter as fuel for a sublight drive is to just circumvent the limits of an ion drive - the push of an ion drive would usually be limited by the speed of the exhaust (the stream of ions) of the ion drive, and that matter wouldn't usually go faster than approaching lightspeed. The faster the exhaust, the stronger the push - and if you had hypermatter that would appear to travel faster than light (tachyonic matter introduces all sorts of problems in physics), then you might get a corresponding stronger push from your drive. Or a strong, negative push. But then you just need to rotate your drive.

Using the same logic, you could get hypermatter 'plasma' bolts that amounted to much more than just hot air - essentially releasing vast amounts of energy at whatever real-matter target that is hit, almost as if the target was hit by a significant amount of antimatter.

However, that doesn't jive with the old EU's explanation of what hypermatter is, and how a hypermatter reactor works.

Personally, I tend to take blaster weapons at face value, and not to worry too much about the implementation of it - Star Wars is Space Opera, and that gives a few genre tropes that I prefer to be internally consistent, but they're all ultimately handwaved. Jumping to lightspeed happens when you pull levers or push a button. TIE fighters scream in space. Blasters blast. And lightsabers cut stuff. And there you go.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Zarn.

Argentsaber wrote:
In that case the topic was how ion drives are highly efficient but don't really have noticable thrust in the short term. My answer to this was that perhaps the drives ionize hypermatter, and as such can expell it at many hundreds of times lightspeed. This might explain how Han and crew make it to a nearby star system on "sublight" drives.. as if you were going with strict relativity bounded by the speed of light it should have at least taken years, right?

I don't think a sublight engine can go faster than light, but maybe you are on to something for part of an explanation of how backup hyperdrives work. It would still have to involve hyperspace because you can't exceed the speed of light in realspace, and hyperspace is what removes the element of time dilation.

Zarn wrote:
A "respectable fraction of the speed of light" is opaque - but ignoring a variety of problems we'll encounter (blueshift of cosmic background radiation, for instance), let's consider 0.75c as a nice speed. That's about 800 000 000 km/h - eight hundred million kilometers per hour. To cover 4 LY would still take about 5 years and four months.

If you mean that journey of 4 light years at .75c would take 5 years and 4 months for the traveller, that would be 8 years to those planetside. And if you meant 5 years and 4 months to those planetside, that would still be a good amount less for the traveler. So sublight speeds will take still take years either way, and we don't have relativity in space opera so speeds spaceships go have to either be non-relativistic sublight speeds or FTL.

Zarn wrote:
So Argentsaber's point is that if you're going BETWEEN systems on sublight, you're on a time scale of YEARS. If you're going intrasystem - well, Pluto's about five and a half light hours away from Earth, so going at 0.75c you'll cover that distance in about seven and a half hours. And that is completely ignoring time spent accelerating and decelerating.

For these shorter distances the time dilation is on a much smaller scale, but it would still add up for frequent travelers. A "respectable fraction of the speed of light" is vague, but it really couldn't be that respectable. I think whatever original source that part of the Wookieepedia article came from was written by an author that didn't really understand time dilation. It seems evident that in Star Wars you can safety enter and come out of lightspeed less than a light-second away from the planets you travel to, so there is just no need to cover those extreme distances at sublight and thus no need for a sublight engine to go relativistic speeds.

Without backup hyperdrives that still travel at hundreds of times the speed of light in hyperspace, then the only explanation I think works for the Falcon's journey from Hoth to Bespin would be if the Hoth, Anoat and Bespin systems are actually the three components of a wacky trinary star system. A dense asteroid field in between the subsystems would not be implausible.
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Argentsaber wrote:
In that case the topic was how ion drives are highly efficient but don't really have noticable thrust in the short term. My answer to this was that perhaps the drives ionize hypermatter, and as such can expell it at many hundreds of times lightspeed. This might explain how Han and crew make it to a nearby star system on "sublight" drives.. as if you were going with strict relativity bounded by the speed of light it should have at least taken years, right?

Sorry, but I'm having trouble understanding this.


Something like this.
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Kytross wrote:
Plasma makes a lousy ranged weapon, but that's in the real world. Star Wars is science fantasy. If you want to ignore the physics of the situation, that's fine.

Aren't lightning bolts essentially plasma?


Yes and no. People argue over how to define both lightning and fire. Plasma is one of those options.

Plasma is when a gas is super excited that the electrons leave their host atoms. It acts like a gas in some respects and follows certain rules. Plasma is made up of atoms, which are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.

Lightning is a massive amount of electricity that is following the path of least resistance. Electricity is all electrons. Not protons, not neutrons.

I think you can argue that lightning creates plasma as it travels through the sky. Then the electrons travel through the gases in the atmosphere they super charge them, creating a flash of light, but the plasma disburses immediately, as plasma is known to do.

Does that make sense? There's plenty of talk on the internet if you want to do further reading.
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argentsaber wrote:
Kytross wrote:
Plasma makes a lousy ranged weapon, but that's in the real world. Star Wars is science fantasy.

I recently had a similar point made on my scifi writer's group. In that case the topic was how ion drives are highly efficient but don't really have noticable thrust in the short term. My answer to this was that perhaps the drives ionize hypermatter, and as such can expell it at many hundreds of times lightspeed. This might explain how Han and crew make it to a nearby star system on "sublight" drives.. as if you were going with strict relativity bounded by the speed of light it should have at least taken years, right?

..Anyway, if you apply the same concept to the plasma weapons in space they become much more believable, and it doesn't introduce anything that isn't already in the setting. maybe that is why Tibanna gas is used in blasters and hyperdrives both?


Hypermatter isn't real. Hypermatter is matter infused with tachyons, or made with tachyons? Either way, tachyons are imaginary, ipso facto, hypermatter isn't real.

Tachyons, for those that don't know, are theoretical particles that travel faster than light. They were imagined by theoretical physicists to argue over the possibility of traveling faster than light. Tachyons are not theoretical, they are imaginary. There is no evidence to suggest that tachyons exist.

That being said, hypermatter and tachyons are 'real' in the Star Wars universe. Yes Argentsaber, that's a good in universe explanation. It has Verisimilitude.


Kytross wrote:
Personally, I liked it better when they were lasers. Lasers make excellent weapons with no problems with physical laws. But lasers can't be reflected with laser swords. Plasma can be deflected by a magnetic field.

Isn't that what shields are trying to do in the first place? Why else would you "angle the deflector shields?"[/quote]

Yup.

To the best of my knowledge, George Lucas has never been accused of being scientifically accurate. But then, he wasn't trying to be, especially with Star Wars. He was looking to entertain, to make something fun.

Star Wars is science fantasy. An imaginary energy field that can deflect/diminish/absorb/reflect/refract/reduce lasers works just fine in science fantasy. Finding an energy field that can feasibly do that in real life, well, that's trickier.

Gravity can bend light, slowing it in the process.
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Argentsaber
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I don't think a sublight engine can go faster than light, but maybe you are on to something for part of an explanation of how backup hyperdrives work. It would still have to involve hyperspace because you can't exceed the speed of light in realspace, and hyperspace is what removes the element of time dilation.

I agree mostly. The concept I was entertaining is that perhaps by using artificial gravity technology to reduce the ship's mass to effectively zero and including hypermatter (which as I understand it is actually the normal state in hyperspace anyhow) as the thrust mass, the math works out just fine. You get faster than light travel by having an exhaust velocity faster than lightspeed, and little or no mass to push against gives you extreme accelleration. It doesn't completely eliminate time dialation unless your mass is actually 0, but it minimizes it substantially. Honestly, I can't see why a "backup hyperdrive" is even a thing if you could just mount two or more main drives, particularly in military ships.. but if the "backup" is really just using your sublight drives in a particularly unusual fashion (and one which all but prevents maneuvering on any but interplanetary scales to boot), it becomes reasonable that any ship of substantial size might include a way to "pipe in" hypermatter to the sublignt exhaust for emergencies.

I realize this isn't where the game books went with it, but it seems reasonable based on the movies and most other media.


Zarn wrote:
So Argentsaber's point is that if you're going BETWEEN systems on sublight, you're on a time scale of YEARS.

Yes. In fact, my interest in this topic started with an argument about how long Luke was actually training for on Dagobah. Interestingly, if you presume that they did fly there for literally years, you get a large volume of training time as well. screws up the ABY scale a bit though..
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if the (technobabble) solution is that something in the specific nature of the gases used - specifically, spin-sealed tibanna gas - remains coherent in a linear bolt, unlike "normal" plasma?
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Amazing. Everything you just said was wrong.
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