As humanity has begun to explore his home system through the use of nuclear fission propulsion technology as a method of effective space travel the privatization and proliferation of various space faring vehicles due to the technology reaching its build out completion has created a sudden boom in the number of space faring craft.
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This in effect has created a worrying trend wherein due to the inherent nature of inter-solar objects such as asteroids, meteors, comets and micrometeorites, various private vehicles have in effect been subject to sudden jarring impacts radically altering courses or in the worst possible cases causing a subsequent malfunction in the nuclear energy source causing leakage and the subsequent death of the ship’s passengers.
While nuclear fission propulsion technology utilizes Uranium 235 as an effective means of creating minor nuclear bursts of energy without having to utilize massive multistage rockets the fact remains that its use is isolated to outer space due to the fact that even minor nuclear explosions on the surface of Earth are considered a danger to the continued health and well-being of people within the immediately area (Reisz and Rodgers, 50).
The process starts with a tiny nuclear fuel cube being exposed to an activation matrix composed of neutrinos and electrons in order to “excite” the atoms within the already unstable piece of nuclear material (Reisz and Rodgers, 50).
Once a sufficient level of neutrinos and electron streams has engulfed the cube the process utilizes a multistage explosion utilizing various forms of fissile material in order to trigger a small nuclear explosion at the back of the ship (Fittje and Buehrle, 502 – 504).
This explosion is usually several million degrees in temperature (3.2 million to be exact) and through the use of an electron stream is encouraged to eject its energy outward following the path of the electrons (Fittje et al., 503 – 508). This in effect creates a chain reaction which incites forward motion and propels the ship towards a given destination at speeds previously unheard of for space faring vehicles (Grandin et al., 26 – 30).
Composite materials made out of nano-weave (created through the use of nanomachines and high tensile nanofiber) and titanium X22 (titanium support beams combined with artificial diamonds) have enabled radiation to be effectively sealed off from a ship’s passengers (Zweben, 37).
The fact remains though that such materials were never meant to take direct impacts from asteroids a few kilometers across. In fact any given time, numerous planetoids composed of rock, dirt and various minerals proliferate the area between space and planets (Zweben, 37).
While some are quite obvious the fact remains that several objects move at varying speeds through space in effect creating obstacles from one point to another. One of the detrimental effects of nuclear fission propulsion technology is that from a rudimentary perspective it is effective in getting an object from one point to so long as the route is in effect a straight line.
Course corrections can be made however these take time and with the sheer speed a ship moves at within a given hour (30,000 miles per hour) the ability to effectively create a course correction is inhibited by the fact that an approaching interplanetary object could be moving at a certain velocity as well and due to its sheer size may in effect impact a ship faster than course corrections can be made (Lenard 404 – 408).
Within the past 20 years ever since the privatization of space travel has been put into effect there has been a notable rise in the sheer amount of accidents wherein ineffective course corrections have been attempted resulting in the death of passengers and crew.
While this paper doesn’t disparage the recent boom in the space travel industry it does criticize the reckless abandon of several space travel agencies that leave at nearly any given time in order to get their passengers from one location to another. Established routes have not been created resulting in an increasing amount of accidents as space travel has grown in popularity.
While emergency rescue missions can be mounted the fact remains that upon arrival most ships have either drifted so close to a planet that they are engulfed by a planet’s gravity and burn up in the chromospheres or the impact has jarred the ship in such a way that the occupants are exposed to background radiation in space as well as radiation from the propulsion technology itself resulting in their subsequent deaths.
It is due to this that this paper proposes the creation of various signal buoys that can be placed at various areas in order to effectively create interplanetary highways and an advanced early warning system in order to alert ships of incoming objects before they get too close to avoid.
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Such a system will utilize traditional solar panel technology within areas close to the sun however will have to utilize nuclear fusion reactors in areas closer to the outer planets due to the lack of solar energy (Theodorakos, 72).
It is expected that through the strategic placement of possibly millions of these buoys through the solar system that an effective trajectory system can be created wherein routes can be planned out before execution thus preventing future deaths as a result of reckless course trajectories (Janssens van der Ha, 778 – 780).
Feasibility and Application
The use of signal buoys has actually been a technology that has been utilized on Earth for hundreds of years in order to help ships orient themselves near landmasses. In fact the basis of this particular proposal is based off the design utilized in a light house wherein the constantly rotating energy beam helps ships to know when they are close to a particular land mass.
While it is infeasible to place signal devices on every single type of moving object in space what is feasible is the creation of a moving method of detection in order to observe when a particular object is close by. While the use of traditional radar systems is ineffective in space what can be used is a projected gamma wave originating from a rotating gamma energy projected on a buoy.
What this does is in effect project two separate gamma radiation beams in two directions in order to seek out large masses in space such as asteroids, comets etc (Razzaque et al., 611 – 615).
The reason behind the use of gamma radiation is simple, due to the property of gamma rays wherein the propensity for absorption by a particular object is directly affected by the degree of thickness of the object’s various layers this means that the mass of a particular object can be determined through the level of penetration of the gamma ray beam (Lisitskiy, 103927).
A gamma ray buoy can use sensors to determine the degree of penetration of a particular object when a ray encounters it and transmit the information to satellites in order for the information to be relayed to a combined early warning system/course plotter in order to determine a path that avoids certain special masses within a given area (Razzaque et al., 611 – 615).
While there are concerns regarding the potential for such satellites inadvertently exposing the passengers of ships to deadly gamma radiation the fact remains that the hulls of all ships are composed of effective lead, titanium and nanofiber shielding that they in effect block all forms of radiation from entering the ship.
Solar and Space Weather Phenomenon Affecting Detection Grid
The inherent problem with inter-solar (referring to within a solar system) communication is the fact that solar weather and sudden changes in the Sun’s activity can in effect interrupt or delay transmission resulting in possible problems from cropping up in the detection system.
Solar wind is a stream of charged particles consisting of protons and electrons originating from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, has been known to cause significant problems for inter-solar communication systems (Lemaire, 20 – 23).
The reason behind this is the fact that the charged protons and electrons originating from solar wind in effect creates an ionic discharge from electrical components when the protons and electrons interact within the differently charged electrical equipment usually resulting in up to 1000 volts of static electricity building up as a result of the interaction between the electrical components and the charged particles (Bhardwaj, 526 – 527).
As a result of this interaction a significant electrical charge builds up resulting in a subsequent overload of the system as the degree of exposure increases. While such a phenomenon is rare in various communication systems within planetary atmospheres, systems located near the sun have in effect a higher degree of exposure thus a greater likelihood of sudden electrical surges frying the system (Bhardwaj, 526 – 527).
Even in cases where the stream of charged particles reaches the outer planets there is still a significant risk of the charged particles negatively affecting equipment which in some cases has been shown to subsequently shut down as a result of an electrical surge due to sudden outburst of high heat from the interaction resulting in 1000 kelvin or more in released temperatures.(Bhardwaj, 526 – 527).
While proper shielding can be utilized this is often expensive and limits the number of space buoys that can be released due to the added cost. On the other hand it must be noted that cases of solar wind directly affecting equipment in space are not as high as one may think and as such this could be considered an acceptable margin for equipment error when taking into consideration the number of buoys that can be released.
Further examination of other space weather phenomena show that geomagnetic storms which are a result of either solar wind or a coronal mass ejection are capable of creating disturbances in a planet’s magnetosphere resulting in possible fluctuations in the ability of signals to properly transmit (Pandey et al., 366).
While this doesn’t affect space buoys located up to 20 to 30 million miles from interplanetary bodies, buoys located near Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and other celestial bodies may be affected if their orbits are close enough to the planet.
The true problem with geomagnetic storms lies in their ability to increase the solar ultraviolet emission heat in the upper atmosphere of various planets by up to 1,000 Kelvin or more which in effect causes them to expand.
Buoys located near massive planets such as Jupiter and Saturn which already have a significant gravitational pull may cause the buoys to crash into the planets themselves as a result of the upper atmosphere expanding due to the increased heat resulting in the deterioration of the orbits of satellites in orbit around the planetary body (Lago et al., 69).
It must be noted that course adjustments can be utilized in order to maintain a proper geosynchronous orbit however this requires constant vigilance and due to the sheer number of satellites involved will require a secondary system in order to ensure that buoys are within their proper orbits.
Finally, in regard to buoys located near the inner planets a certain degree of concern must be entailed for the sudden occurrence of solar flares from the sun. Solar flares can be described as an event wherein the plasma located in the sun is heated to tens of millions of Kelvins resulting in a sudden brightening and the release of energy from the sun’s surface (McGregor, 195).
Another factor that must be taken into consideration is the fact that most solar flares can reach lengths of several million miles as well as widths of up to 3 million miles or more. The inherent problem with such an event is that it releases electrons, protons, various ions as well as gamma rays into the surrounding environment (Malandraki, 309).
For a system that utilizes gamma rays as a method of detection wherein a single beam of high intensity gamma radiation can reach 5 to 6 million miles in total detection area a solar flare can in effect blind most systems or cause a sudden malfunction over a long period of time.
This sudden blind could enable large objects in space such as comets and asteroids to all of a sudden escape detection systems due to their ability to travel several kilometers within a few seconds. It is due to this that buoys located near the sun need to take into account solar flares as the cause of sudden malfunctions and adjust accordingly.
Planetary Characteristics and their Infeasibility as Possible Detection Platforms
So far it has been established that outer space has various detrimental effects that hamper the ability to create a detection network capable of finding large free floating objects in space. It must be noted that even though there are various difficulties in establishing such networks in space the fact remains that attempting to create a network utilizing a planetary base such as Earth could prove to be a far more arduous affair.
Current methods of detecting objects in space from a planet are actually not that far removed from technologies established in the early 21st century since it was only in the mid 21st century that nuclear fission propulsion was invented. As such methods of detecting large free floating bodies in space involve the use of radio signals, planetary and atmosphere based telescopes as well as various forms of laser detection systems.
The problem with utilizing such systems is the delay in which the data can be properly created and mapped. Not only that, such methods of detection cannot account for the majority of free floating objects in space and as such is an inefficient method of detection.
While it has been proposed in the past that establishing observation sites on various planets and combining the data gathered could be an effective means of “mapping” the various objects in the solar system there are certain problems with the condition of various worlds that make this proposal high unfeasible.
For example, establishing an observation platform on the surface of Mercury entails having to deal with the 700 Kelvin temperatures that the surface is regularly subjected to resulting in not only the possibility of damage to the equipment but its close proximity to the sun means that it is in the direct line of sight for a vast majority of solar cosmic rays, solar waves as well as solar proton events which have the possibility of causing electrical malfunctions in even the most well protected equipment (Wang and Ip, 34).
Venus is also a terrible choice to place an observation platform due to the fact that it has a dense atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide and clouds containing sulfuric acid (Gasparri, 72). Not only that, its surface is well known for having significant levels of volcanic activity which makes establishing an observation platform on the planet nearly impossible without the danger of subsequent eruptions destroying the equipment installed (Gasparri, 72).
While the surface of Mars may seem to be an ideal site for an observation platform due to its relatively thin atmosphere and the absence of volcanic activity the fact remains that accumulated data has shown that Martian dust storms that occur regularly are highly corrosive due to the nature of the Martian soil (Millour, 504).
Gathered data shows that the average Martian dust storm can corrode even free standing steel structures over a period of time and as such this shows that Mars would not be an ideal location for an observation platform as well (Millour, 504).
Jupiter and Saturn are also out of the question due to the fact that the level of gravitational force evident when entering their respective atmospheres would crush any equipment that could be set up there (Barrow and Matcheva, 609).
Based on the data presented it can be seen that the best and most feasible method of implementing set space lanes and an early warning system for space faring objects is to establish a buoy system within the in-between the distances travelled by ships.
While such a system could be vulnerable to the effects of solar weather and other forms of local solar environmental effects that fact remains that its implementation would help to save lives and this can be considered an effect means of promoting safe space travel.
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