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Thread: Gravity Guns and Solid Slugs.. Will it work?

  1. #16

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    Good point from Phoenix there. There is an element of 'Trek Tek' here, where the established uses of Gravitons is for tractor beams... Its even established that by refersing the polarity of a tractor beam it can push the smaller object away (If the ship has less mass than the tractored object, it will be the ship that gets pushed away)

    Using that I could imagine the idea working with micro-tractor beams doing the repelling, but I stil remain unconvinced that the Federation would develop this, or that in over 100 odd years (200 years if Enterprise adds tractor beams) that this hasn't been developed previously, In which case the question you need to ask is why they didn't follow that path...

    Of course you could use the previous paragraph to your advantage, adding century's old data for a failed experiment, and let your players correct the faults with the benifits of that extra century...

    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Klingermann:
    Also this is for Dan. I know what you mean about the Navigational shielding but at least on Voyager it was proven that solid Matter delivered through a Particle Beam would go straight through the shields so it may be possible to use my idea in conjunction with that and just annhilate a ship before they have a chance to adapt, enery drain be darned! </font>
    OK, again, I can see your point here, but dont believe that shields offer zero protection from what amounts to a micro-meteorite... I can definatly agree that if a ship is close enough it would be able to ignore the deflectors with this projectilke, but in my mind that puts it well withing Phaser and Torpedo range... Ouch.

    Can you point out where on voyager that projectiles go straight through shields? I do not recall the details myself?

    ------------------
    DanG.

    "Hi, I'm Commander Troy McClure, you might remember me from other academy training holo-simulations as, Abandon Ship, the quickest way out, and I sense danger, 101 things you dont need a Betazoid to know..."

    http://www.theventure.freeserve.co.uk

  2. #17
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    Lightbulb

    Okay well I don't have the episode number or name where the Voyager crew couln't stop the particle beam, but it was the one where Chakotay had fallen in love with an alien whose race secreets a pheromone that makes you forget you ever meet them after about a week. She had returned to re-kindle the flame but Chakotay didn't know her along with rest of the crew and it got really funky. That race had a slew of neat tech, like the ability to fire while cloaked and tons of neat beam weapondry and shields.

    Also I found out some info from the TNG core book that helps give the slug some added credibility against shields. This is in the section where it discusses the navigational and normal sensors (the automated control system that tells the computer when to use the navigational shields to stop physical debris, etc.):

    "Although modern sensor technology is extremely sensitive, some 15,000 substances are not detectable by standard Starfleet sensor systems. Unusual, rare and exotic materials are not included in standard analysis routines because of the low incidence of occurance. Recalibration of sensor systems can allow the detection of these substances, although this generally renders the pallet blind to other substances. Detecting the remaing particles requires specialized sensor pallets and/or analysis programming."

    Yes, it has been discovered that the Navigational deflector can re-direct certain objects found commonly in space from hitting the hull, but if you use compunds not normally found, the deflector does nothing unless you re-calibrate the sensors which as stated in the above paragraph can be very dangerous.

    Even if shields are raised however, the navigational deflector assists in dispersing energy attacks and again will not try to stop an object unless it can detect it. This is most likely why Voyager couldn't stop the particle beam.

    It looks to me like the weapon is feasible. As Phoenix stated it works on the reliable and proven technologly already used in tractor beams, there are 15,000 or more compounds that will allow it to ignore shields, and it has vitually unlimited range in space and an almost unlimited range in an atmosphere. Very nice indeed!


  3. #18

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    Thats sensors. Not shields. Thing is. If they cant detect it, they would have diffficulty finding it!

    If its solid matter, then deflectors will work agaist it.

    The episode you are refering too is 'Remember Me'. I dont recall the spoecies in question using particle weapons, which I always understood to be energy weapons anyway, but they did have some extremeily advanced cloaking technology and the ability to bypass shields with transporters.

    Given such hi tech over and above the Federation norm, its easy to accept that they could beat known Federation tech.

    ------------------
    DanG.

    "Hi, I'm Commander Troy McClure, you might remember me from other academy training holo-simulations as, Abandon Ship, the quickest way out, and I sense danger, 101 things you dont need a Betazoid to know..."

    http://www.theventure.freeserve.co.uk

  4. #19
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    Thanks for the info on the episode Dan! I could have looked it up on the official site but armed with just a general knowledge of the episode it would have took me a while.

    The reason it is critical that the matter is detectable is because the Navigational Sensors have to be able to detect it in order to activate the Graviton Deflectors. If the object doesn't appear on sensors then the Deflectors don't target the matter and therefore do not re-direct it. Graviton deflectors can only work if the Navigational sensors pick up and determine the object's size and mass, if the matter is invisible to that sensor, it doesn't know what to target and it doesn't know how much force to use to deflect it.. So it's effectively worthless.

    Anyway, if you further complicate matters by say firing a phaser at or near the same spot where the slug is about to strike, the shield dipsersion would theoretically allow the matter to pass through anyway, even if the matter is recognizable by the sensors. Oh well, our crew doesn't plan to develop it for quite a while anyway, so our group will likely all be dead by then!

    [This message has been edited by Klingermann (edited 08-27-2001).]

  5. #20

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    <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Klingermann:
    The reason it is critical that the matter is detectable is because the Navigational Sensors have to be able to detect it in order to activate the Graviton Deflectors. If the object doesn't appear on sensors then the Deflectors don't target the matter and therefore do not re-direct it. Graviton deflectors can only work if the Navigational sensors pick up and determine the object's size and mass, if the matter is invisible to that sensor, it doesn't know what to target and it doesn't know how much force to use to deflect it.. So it's effectively worthless.
    </font>
    That is your choice oif interpretation of the technology...

    However seing that at super-luminary speeds a speck of dust is likely to be capabl;e of destroying a ship the size of a galaxy class, I always assumed that the deflectors were active constantly...

    After all, there is a LOT of dust out there!

    As an Real Science aside, speeds are not the only thing, some of this dust is also travelling at high speed anyway.

    Microscopic analysis of the helmets worn on Spacewalks have shown a very interesting image that seems to indicate that such impacts have occured on an atomic level... To small to even leak oxygen.

    Damn I wish I could connect the images I remember seeing to give you a web page.

    However these didn't kill the sastrounauts in question, but the theory is still valid for larger chunks of detritus.



    ------------------
    DanG.

    "Hi, I'm Commander Troy McClure, you might remember me from other academy training holo-simulations as, Abandon Ship, the quickest way out, and I sense danger, 101 things you dont need a Betazoid to know..."

    http://www.theventure.freeserve.co.uk

  6. #21
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    Well, space dust could destroy a ship if it wasn't constructed of tough materials but even in the space program the stuff they use is incredibly resilient (they are gonna be using a Kevlar polymer in the new space station for window covers) and those tiles they use under the space shuttles are simply awe-inspring.

    Star Trek stuff is even worse. Tritanium and Monotanium is well, to be honest, too tough to be realistic but at least it can be damaged by the extremes of space (singulaties, supernovas, impulse speed crashes on planet surfaces, Hirogen weapondry ) .

    That's why the cannon will only do maybe 5-10 points of damage. Any more would just not fit the image I see of 24th century hull technology. It's too broken to ignore!

  7. #22
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    For the reasons listed above I also don't think your gun is going to work. A rail gun *might* be useful based on a planet - in that it could fire chunk-o-metal at orbiting starships whose mobility is reduced and at least annoy them and make them keep their shields up (till they drop a multi-megaton photon torp on it).

    However- all is not lost. Basically what you are suggesting is the use of kinetic energy weapons against a modern starship. This is only going to work if you catch them by surprise. You can't count on the enemy "just not seeing" the little bullet come winging out at them in open space - even if it is going close to c. If they are able to go to warp without creaming into debris they must have the means to defeat this. However, if you (as I understand it) are trying to develop defenses against the Dom's attack on the Marquis then you have options. Your folks have the home field advantage. Utilize your science skills to put that to work: map out the "null" spots in the system where a ship can hide and fire w/ surprise, place mines and traps, heck I might even let a player attach a tug to a chunk of asteroid modify a stolen cloak and use it to ram (maybe under remote control, maybe they have to 'eject'). Lots of possibilities for winning a battle against a superiour foe if you know they are coming and can control where you fight.

    But a gravity slug thrower isn't going to work. A magnet the size of a baseball can overcome the gravity field of an object the size of earth for one thing. (If the paper clip sticks to the magnet instead of falling to the ground then gravity is the weaker force.) So a "gauss" gun would be better (more bang for a given size) but even then we're talking really slow muzzle velocity by trek standards.

    TK

  8. #23
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    Also keep in mind that a warp feild does change the Gravatational constant in a local area

    Karg

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  9. #24
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    OKdog, increasing the local gravitational constant would neither increase or decrease the object's mass.

    What it might do is change how much gravitational attraction resulted from that mass. Trust me, there is a difference. But even increased, gravitational attraction would be a feeble force. The relevant, dangerous force here is the inerta. You don't worry about the (insignificant) gravitational force exerted by a bullet or missle or micrometeoroid. You worry about the interta when it hits you.

    Altering the gravitational constant is entirely different than changing the amount of mass.

  10. #25
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    Lightbulb

    Although, I cannot tell you if your rail/gauss "torpedoe" idea will work, if you are looking to have a powerful weapon on a small ship why not...well...try adding a subspace weapon.:/
    I know they are banned by the second Khitomer Accord signed by all the major powers, but if you are part of the maquis throw caution to the wind.
    Load one of those babies on your ship and watch it rip apart your opponents(and hopefully not your own ship) . You could also trade for some through the Son'a or even the Ferengi.

  11. #26
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    It was researcher Gerard K. O'Neill who first proposed the mass launcher - essentially an electromagnetic rail gun - to propel payloads into Earth orbit for construction of a space station/orbital habitat.

    As a weapon, I'm not sure the magnetic forces would suffice - your projectile may have to be made of a superconducting alloy to withstand heat generated by atmospheric friction. Also, the energy profile of the weapon would be determined by the distance it has to 'launch' the projectile ... i.e., it would take considerably more energy to accelerate the 'bullet' to speed N across one meter than it would over one kilometer.

    The next thing to consider is what happens once the 'bullet' leaves the barrel - gravity and other forces will start to act upon it. While you would likely have sufficient velocity to go quite a distance, I imagine it's like a sniper compensating for windage and bullet drop.

    So my feeling is it's POSSIBLE to make such a weapon, but infeasible for reasons of energy expenditure, effectiveness over range, and durability (if one of 500 mini-coils goes out of alignment, does the weapon stop working, or does it impart an error into the trajectory/path?).

    A small scale model could be built and even test well in the lab. Funding for a full-size version might be problematic.

    - Could a similar weapon have been along the path for a Doomsday Machine? An orbital platform with such a weapon could devastate a city or possibly a planet with relative ease (piercing the planet's crust with explosive charges, etc. ... this is similar to Harlan Ellison's Shadow planetkiller from Babylon 5).

    - If a non-aligned society were to learn of the weapon, what might they do to acquire the plans or a working prototype?

    Bob



  12. #27
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    Exclamation

    I know it's a powerfully sensitive device and that even the smallest mis-alignment issue could have horrible reprecussions but that's the risk of trying anything new. It's still an idea that is quite a way off from even being attempted but once it is out there it will definitely earn the vessel some innovation renown even of it didn't work.

    The fact is that it can and will work if the shell is propelled to impulse speeds against a warp field albeit it likely cannot be used to target a specific ship system (although this would also seem to apply to a photon torpedo if you ask me). The shell will be small but dense, and one really cool thing about it is that the shell will actually shrink as it travels down the barrel.

    Think about it, gravity is acting on this object on 2-4 sides in order to push it. As the gravity increases the force will compress the shell and increase it's density as well as evenly collapse it. An object made from a material that isn't very dense (like Balsa wood for example) may on one side be the size of a football but the gravity would impact the object to say the size of say a sewing needle by the time it reaches the other end and give it the toughness of titanium (Well.. probably not, but maybe)!

    Just my thoughts.

    [This message has been edited by Klingermann (edited 09-05-2001).]

  13. #28
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    Lightbulb

    We have seen that warp fields alter the gravitational constant of a mass (thank you karg), in this case, the projectile.

    We also have seen that an object with sufficient mass can stop a starship cold. (Reference the TNG episode where the Enterprise ran into the "Quantum filament")

    Why not use a warp sustainer coil from a Photon Torpedo to get a really heavy object out in front of a ship and then (treknobabble conjecture warning) reverse the field polarity to increase the object's mass?


    Sometimes my own geekitude amazes me.

  14. #29
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    The gravitational forces necessary to compress an object that severely would likely be more than could be powered by a warp core. After all, the sun exerts enough force to hold the planets in orbit, but nothing's compressing. (Unless, of course, we're all compressing along a uniform scale and simply not noticing it.)

    'Conventional' scientists would most likely turn to beam or particle weapons as a practical alternative -- accelerating light and/or charged particle streams would require less energy (moving a photon vs. moving 1 gram of metal).

    Some of this reasoning must have occurred to the character in the process of designing the accelerated projectile weapon (APEX - Accelerated Projectile EXperimental?) ... and therefore he must have theoretical and practical answers to power demands, etc.

    Mind you, YOU don't have to have all the physics in line, though it's nice to have a little theoretical grounding to lend an air of believability. As long as the character has the proper skills/specialties, it is conceivable that they could do any of what has been postulated here.

    Perhaps a cyclotron-style design might work, so that the size of the weapon is reduced. The projectile whips around a circular track until it reaches target velocity, upon which it is shunted to the firing chamber.

    Section 31 might also take an interest in the weapon if it has significant performance against conventional shields, and is something that could be fitted on a smaller vessel. A handheld version might be interesting, but risky.

    From a narrator's perspective, if the weapon is that effective/devastating, there should be a downside to it to balance use/development, so that it doesn't become a deus-ex-.357 (which, depending on your campaign, is antithetical to 'Trek').

    Just some more ramblings ...

    Bob

  15. #30
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    Question

    If it works effectively there will be hell to pay, if it works too effectively were dead, and if it doesn't work or malfunctions we're either all dead or I'll have hell to pay. What an interesting situation I face!

    I like the idea of "interested" parties a lot and I'm going to tell my narrator about it and beg him to use it. By the time the weapon can be developed the Domion War will be going full force and the Maquis will be almost wiped out and only a shadow of the shadow they once were. If this weapon does in fact have desirable results (that's at my narrator's discretion) there will be no way to stop what will surely be both the Dominion and the Cardassians from trying to grab it shy of a miracle. Should be interesting to see how it turns out.

    The "Deus-Ex".. I'm not familiar with it though I do think I've heard of it before.. Also, was there a book printed by LUG that described sub-space weapondry? I never have really heard much about them except that a ship that has one not only violates the accords and are therefore facing a massive manhunt but also face the risk that the weapons could destroy one's own ship due to instability issues. Could anyone fill me in on their mechanics or effectivenes?

    Thanks in advance!

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