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Re: Positronium Minefield

#16
ThymineC wrote:
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
ThymineC wrote: 1 MW and 1 MB (megabyte) for when the mine is activated and its microcontroller needs to manipulate the electromagnets accordingly. Otherwise nominal, periodic power and no data transfer needed when dormant.
1MByte/s is much for saying "deflect it that way"
I'd put an small specialised processor in the mine that does not need more info than the target and approach direction of the positron beam. Or even less, just the direction it should move. As the approach direction is known. In effect it would boil down to a couple of kb/s.
I don't know. I've got a fair deal of experience programming microcontrollers and dealing with high-rate communication with them and the 1 bit delineation protocol I specified here is a bit simplistic. One of the message protocols I've used a great deal and would probably be really appropriate for something like this is the CAN message protocol. It looks like this:
Image An extended frame format consists of 128 bits, and carries up to 8 bytes of information. Based on a 1 MB.s^-1 = 8 megabit.s^-1 information transfer rate, I can transmit ~524 bytes of information every millisecond to the mine. Given that I want it to make adjustments to its velocity vector on a millisecond basis, as well as give it information on whether to pass on the input stream to another mine or not, etc., I think this is about appropriate. You have to bear in mind things like cyclic redundancy checking as well.
Well... if you put it that way... you're right ^^
But if you can do single-photon switching on a megawatt laser bandwith shouldnt be a real problem in this magnitude xD
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#17
Cornflakes_91 wrote:Well... if you put it that way... you're right ^^
But if you can do single-photon switching on a megawatt laser bandwith shouldnt be a real problem in this magnitude xD
It's a gigawatt laser actually! 10^21 photons at 1.022 MeV each. But if a mine only needs 1 MW, then it only needs to consume 1/1000th of that beam's power...and there are 1000 mines in the minefield. So I was just thinking, what with this new idea you had of using lasers to power everything...what if each mine could not only allow the laser beam to pass through it, but deflect it at arbitrary angles as well?

You could have the caretaker output a 1 GW stream of photons that runs through all of the mines, and each mine extracts 1/1000th of its energy. So each mine could simultaneously receive enough power to be operated independently, and due to the potential exabyte.s^-1 information carrying capacity of the laser, you could encode instructions for every single one of the mines. Each mine would receive its power and instructions from the beam and then deflect the beam towards the next mine along (we will need to encode information on the position of all the mines so that the mine knows where to deflect the beam to, but again - exabyte.s^-1 transmission rates :D) Assuming the same cubic arrangement as I've been using all along, the distance between each mine is 100km. Assuming that the average distance between these mines remains roughly constant as the mines get moved around, you could make a laser beam run through every mine in the minefield in about 1/3 of a second.

In short, the caretaker would be able to manipulate every single mine in the minefield simultaneously. :shock:
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#18
...and the first mine would have to be able to deflect a continous gigawatt of laser energy.
So, why not use this as anti-laser armor and reroute every enemy laser back to them while being invisible ^^

in practise you could split the beam on every mine-pass to decrease the load on every mine and reduce response time by creating a minimum spanning tree.

And by using a 125MW laser in every edge on the caretaker you reduce ping and load even more if you place the caretaker in the middle of the minefield in the center of the cubic lattice.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#19
Cornflakes_91 wrote:...and the first mine would have to be able to deflect a continous gigawatt of laser energy.
So, why not use this as anti-laser armor and reroute every enemy laser back to them while being invisible ^^
The thing is, though, that we don't know yet know the "scale" of Limit Theory, not just in terms of the size of ships, their crew capacities, etc. but the kind of energy outputs of generators, weapons and shields. If we're talking about Star Wars, the energy outputs involved are on a scale so huge that I don't even know the names of the prefixes for them. I'd expect that if there were 1 GW lasers in the Star Wars universe, they'd be in the form of laser pointers that the little padawans use to confuse their poor little padawan cats.

But assuming that Limit Theory deals with energy outputs on a more realistic scale, then yeah, I completely agree that you shouldn't have the mines take the full brunt of a 1 GW photon stream.
Cornflakes_91 wrote:in practise you could split the beam on every mine-pass to decrease the load on every mine and reduce response time by creating a minimum spanning tree.

And by using a 125MW laser in every edge on the caretaker you reduce ping and load even more if you place the caretaker in the middle of the minefield in the center of the cubic lattice.
Yeah, that sounds good. Assuming you continue the branching factor of 8 throughout the tree, the maximum path length throughout would contain 5 nodes from root (caretaker) to leaf - so ~400,000 km, which a laser could traverse in ~1.33 ms.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#20
Your caretaker would be a bright beacon to anyone who took the most cursory glance in its direction with the sort of power outputs you are postulating.

Even if you postulated fancy stealth for it, it is still a single point of failure in which you could render the entire minefield inoperable if destroyed.

Lastly, by assigning a uniform layout to the mines you are pretty much hanging a gigantic beacon on them as well. It seems tempting, since it offers you the most efficient coverage, but it also means that once you spot a couple of mines, you can extrapolate the position of the rest with ease. How hard would Minesweeper be if the mines were laid out in a grid? ;)



It would be much smarter to scatter micromissiles all over the area. Figure a 2kg dry mass/10kg wet mass(like the old FIM-43 Redeye), and a modest exhaust velocity of 2.6kps(equivalent to the space shuttle SRBs), and at engine cutoff it will be travelling at 3.7 kps, more than enough to hit a large ship within 10, perhaps 20km. Larger engines, multi stage missiles, etc, would greatly expand their coverage range. Simple technologies would enable such a missile to sit virtually inert for long periods of time at minimal power consumption.



It is highly important for a mine to be autonomous. Having a central command authority and a non random placement misses the entire point of a minefield: Area denial. Mines are crappy weapons. Once you know they are there they are completely ineffective, and giving the enemy a simple way to negate the threat removes their sole purpose. Their strength is in being a ridiculously massive PITA to clean up.

*Some mines, of course, are more in the nature of booby traps. These are not so much about area denial as they are to force the enemy to adopt expensive and time consuming countermeasures against them, and to take out the occasional target of opportunity.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#21
CutterJohn wrote:Your caretaker would be a bright beacon to anyone who took the most cursory glance in its direction with the sort of power outputs you are postulating.
With the highly directional and focused lasers the effective radiated energy would be very low if you assume a "silent" reactor.
Besides that, most of the time the reactor is powered down to very low energy levels, as most of the energy is needed when going aggressive and ot when idling and sitting around.

Also the caretaker does not neccesary need to be perfectly cloaked. If the minefield is large enough the caretaker is simply out of reach to be detected or destroyed from outside of the field. And the caretaker has lots of minions to defend itself }:)

With your other points you are right but there are a couple of points that speak in favour of the caretaker
  • the mines dont need any fuel storage, and can have because of that much larger payload fractions
  • because of the infinite thrust time you can reclaim mines to their place in the grid if they fail to hit their target (in time)
  • replenishing or extending the minefield is as easy as dropping fresh mines in range of the caretaker, they can move to their positions under own thrust
Btw: nothing in the concept forces regular grids on the minefields, they can be random scattered in the area to be denied.

Leave our minefields to us, we know that they would be completely unfeasible in space and expensive as hell, but they make some interesting "space terrain" that you would like to avoid
Last edited by Cornflakes_91 on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#22
CutterJohn wrote:Your caretaker would be a bright beacon to anyone who took the most cursory glance in its direction with the sort of power outputs you are postulating.
Nope. Like the schematics show, the caretaker's generator is heavily damped to reduce emissions. The caretaker can afford to do this because mostly it's pretty stationary and doesn't need to be particularly agile. Edit: If you mean the energy it emits, this will be in the form of highly focused beams, which Cornflakes already covers.
CutterJohn wrote:Even if you postulated fancy stealth for it, it is still a single point of failure in which you could render the entire minefield inoperable if destroyed.
Sure. If you managed to make it far enough into the minefield to attack it, then yeah. It would be right in the middle. In the example I gave, you'd have to traverse 500 km of space to reach it. You'd also need to know the minefield was there in the first place, and the region of space it was centred on to find the caretaker.
CutterJohn wrote:Lastly, by assigning a uniform layout to the mines you are pretty much hanging a gigantic beacon on them as well. It seems tempting, since it offers you the most efficient coverage, but it also means that once you spot a couple of mines, you can extrapolate the position of the rest with ease. How hard would Minesweeper be if the mines were laid out in a grid? ;)
Another clever tactic! Fleet commanders who were able to spot a few mines could have extrapolated the position of the rest in an attempt to safely navigate the minefield. The caretaker would have adapted to this tactic by manipulating the position of the mines so that whenever a hostile is detected, the pattern of mines close to him are maintained while mines further back are scrambled into different positions, probably ones that will maximise the chances of intercepting hostiles that behave in expectation that the pattern of mines remains constant throughout the minefield. The caretaker is Borg. >:3
CutterJohn wrote:It would be much smarter to scatter micromissiles all over the area. Figure a 2kg dry mass/10kg wet mass(like the old FIM-43 Redeye), and a modest exhaust velocity of 2.6kps(equivalent to the space shuttle SRBs), and at engine cutoff it will be travelling at 3.7 kps, more than enough to hit a large ship within 10, perhaps 20km. Larger engines, multi stage missiles, etc, would greatly expand their coverage range. Simple technologies would enable such a missile to sit virtually inert for long periods of time at minimal power consumption.
The advantages of the current system over this one are that:
  • Positron mines can be re-used indefinitely if they fail to reach their target. Micromissiles cannot.
  • Positron mines can be coordinated to work together through the caretaker. Micromissiles probably cannot.
  • Positron mines do not need to carry propellant so can reserve more space for their payload.
  • Q-thrusters probably don't generate as many emissions as a missile burning fuel as it travels does.
  • Positron mine payloads can be modified and overloaded on the fly. As the mine approaches the hostile, the caretaker could beam photons at it that it converts into positronium, allowing it to increase its payload past its sustainable limit.
  • Positron mines can behave more intelligently, pursuing hostiles or differentiating between hostiles and friendlies better than a standard missile could, as a positron mine is controlled remotely by an array of powerful computers as opposed to the relatively low-power microprocessors I guess they'd put in missiles.
  • Following on, you cannot re-program missiles to behave differently once they've been set up in the minefield. You can get positron mines to behave however you like since they're being actively controlled by the caretaker.
CutterJohn wrote:It is highly important for a mine to be autonomous. Having a central command authority and a non random placement misses the entire point of a minefield: Area denial. Mines are crappy weapons. Once you know they are there they are completely ineffective, and giving the enemy a simple way to negate the threat removes their sole purpose.
How? Even assuming a person knew the minefield was there, the size of it, the number of mines in it and the initial starting layout of the mines, they'd still have a lot of trouble navigating it as the minefield will adapt as soon as the caretaker notices the hostile.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#23
I have thought a little more about it, and can come up with a couple more issues:
  • As CutterJohn already mentions above, the caretaker will be quite easy to detect despite its small size, just because of all the energy and radiation it's putting out. Thus I'm making an amendment to my primary tactics of sending a decoy first: Keep in mind that we're talking about a grid of 10 x 10 x 10 mines, with the caretaker in the centre. From this follow two things:
    1. If I want to cross the minefield from one side to the other, I only need to avoid 10 mines. In the worst case scenario, when I'm flying exactly along the corner between four sectors, it will be 40 mines. All other mines are too far away to reach me. Thus, what prevents me from sending in 40 decoys first? Each one that is actually hit by a mine is also taking out that mine. And each one that gets through has caused at least one mine to be out of the way long enough for me to cross safely. After crossing the field I collect the surviving decoys, thus I lose only those which are directly hit by a mine, but each of these losses is actually a win for me, and a loss for the mine field.
    2. Even better: At any given time, there's no more than 5 mines between me and the caretaker. Thus—and as the caretaker is easily detectable—the first thing I do is to fire one full volley of missiles at the caretaker. If the caretaker detects the threat, it will send all available mines after the missiles—which means that the area in front of me is totally cleared of mines and I can follow straight through. If either the missiles or the mines pursuing them take out the caretaker, the mines become dead and useless immediately. I win.
  • Finally an observation from a game play perspective (assuming that we're still talking about a potential addition to Limit Theory): As a weapons type, these highly mobile mines are not really mines IMO, but they seem virtually indistinguishable from missiles—missiles with unlimited fuel, nota bene. This is—I believe—my main gripe which I couldn't put my finger on at first. These mines do not behave like mines, thus it's a little odd to call them mines. And I think that a real minefield is still not viable in space.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#24
On my ipad right now.

1. Already pointed out that the heavy damping of the caretaker's generator will make it very difficult to detect. Otherwise you could just fire a very tightly focused laser from outside the minefield and bring it down anyway. You won't even need missiles. The point is that the caretaker has a mass equivalent to if not less than a standard fighter, is stationary and has tons of damping. You won't be detecting it except at far closer ranges.

2. If you send in 40 decoys, the caretaker won't be dumb enough to send mines after them all. It will probably attempt to destroy the first few until it notices the pattern and catches on to what you're trying to do. Remember: it adapts. It'd probably work if it had never seen that tactic before, though.

3. Missiles are by definition self-propelled. The positron mines are not able to move without power from the caretaker (unless they start breaking down their payload, I guess, but they lack the means to do this efficiently and this will generate a lot of omnidirectional gamma radiation that will make the mine highly visible). It is contentious, though. I guess you could call it a positron missile-field.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#26
ThymineC wrote:Nope. Like the schematics show, the caretaker's generator is heavily damped to reduce emissions. The caretaker can afford to do this because mostly it's pretty stationary and doesn't need to be particularly agile. Edit: If you mean the energy it emits, this will be in the form of highly focused beams, which Cornflakes already covers.
You can't make 100% efficient systems. Anything you do will produce heat, and producing a 100mw or gw laser will produce LOTS of heat. It really doesn't matter how damped you make it. It may be able to hide when it is in standby, but as soon as the system activates, it is going to be a lighthouse.

Disregarding that, space is not empty. If you shine a laser that powerful, it *will* be hitting quite a lot of dust and debris. It will not be visible to the naked eye , but it will be visible to sensors of any particular sensitivity.
ThymineC wrote:Sure. If you managed to make it far enough into the minefield to attack it, then yeah. It would be right in the middle. In the example I gave, you'd have to traverse 500 km of space to reach it. You'd also need to know the minefield was there in the first place, and the region of space it was centred on to find the caretaker.
Your caretaker is immobile, so you would not need to enter at all to destroy it. Just a single well aimed projectile once you've determined its location.

ThymineC wrote:Another clever tactic! Fleet commanders who were able to spot a few mines could have extrapolated the position of the rest in an attempt to safely navigate the minefield. The caretaker would have adapted to this tactic by manipulating the position of the mines so that whenever a hostile is detected, the pattern of mines close to him are maintained while mines further back are scrambled into different positions, probably ones that will maximise the chances of intercepting hostiles that behave in expectation that the pattern of mines remains constant throughout the minefield. The caretaker is Borg. >:3
Its got to move thousands of mines. That will take a while and use even more power, and will also be illuminating the mines.
ThymineC wrote:The advantages of the current system over this one are that:
  • Positron mines can be re-used indefinitely if they fail to reach their target. Micromissiles cannot.
  • Positron mines can be coordinated to work together through the caretaker. Micromissiles probably cannot.
  • Positron mines do not need to carry propellant so can reserve more space for their payload.
  • Q-thrusters probably don't generate as many emissions as a missile burning fuel as it travels does.
  • Positron mine payloads can be modified and overloaded on the fly. As the mine approaches the hostile, the caretaker could beam photons at it that it converts into positronium, allowing it to increase its payload past its sustainable limit.
  • Positron mines can behave more intelligently, pursuing hostiles or differentiating between hostiles and friendlies better than a standard missile could, as a positron mine is controlled remotely by an array of powerful computers as opposed to the relatively low-power microprocessors I guess they'd put in missiles.
  • Following on, you cannot re-program missiles to behave differently once they've been set up in the minefield. You can get positron mines to behave however you like since they're being actively controlled by the caretaker.
I'll go through these one at a time.

- Your mines couldn't be reused indefinitely either. Motion requires reaction mass(if we're discounting reaction mass then missiles just got a whole hell of a lot more effective).

- Missiles could easily coordinate with each other by one missile simply broadcasting to any nearby missile to attack its target. It doesn't know, nor need to know, if any other missiles are nearby to make this broadcast.

- Of course they need propellant. If we're making up non newtonian drives then physics are completely out of the window and we may as well say the mines work because magic( :ghost: ), and this entire technobabble project becomes meaningless.

- Yes, because I'm trying to extrapolate plausible functionality. If I just made stuff like a Q-thruster up, it would be trivial to design anything that works. Technobabble and math don't mix.

- You know, I'm starting to wonder why you're not just pointing this super powerful laser at the enemy. It has, after all, a 1000km range. 1gw of Xrays will make anyones day highly unpleasant.

- Doubtful. The mine is completely passive, relying utterly on a far removed facility to detect for it, power it, and guide it. The caretaker will not have as close of a look, and there will be significant time lag. Processing power is not hard to make in tiny, cheap packages. Nor are sensors that function within the operational range of the weapon.

- Of course you could reprogram the missiles. You'd simply need the appropriate key and then broadcast it within range. It detects the signal, powers up just enough to authenticate the communication, then follows the instructions within.
ThymineC wrote:How? Even assuming a person knew the minefield was there, the size of it, the number of mines in it and the initial starting layout of the mines, they'd still have a lot of trouble navigating it as the minefield will adapt as soon as the caretaker notices the hostile.
The assumption that this caretaker can't be detected is just pure fantasy. I can not imagine how you could possibly hope to hide a multi gw power plant.

Tbh, I just realized another thing that completely negates the premise.. The caretaker must hit a baseball sized target from 1000km away with utter reliability. This means the mine *must* be able to tell the caretaker where it is every time it is to be moved, which means a signal that says "I'm here!", which means that mine has just given up any semblance of stealth.


You're trying very hard to make the ancient concept of a mine work in a space environment, which I can respect, but all you've done is transform them into an incredibly odd type of missile using a lot of handwavium and caveats to explain away weaknesses of the centralized design.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#27
CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:Nope. Like the schematics show, the caretaker's generator is heavily damped to reduce emissions. The caretaker can afford to do this because mostly it's pretty stationary and doesn't need to be particularly agile. Edit: If you mean the energy it emits, this will be in the form of highly focused beams, which Cornflakes already covers.
You can't make 100% efficient systems. Anything you do will produce heat, and producing a 100mw or gw laser will produce LOTS of heat. It really doesn't matter how damped you make it. It may be able to hide when it is in standby, but as soon as the system activates, it is going to be a lighthouse.

Disregarding that, space is not empty. If you shine a laser that powerful, it *will* be hitting quite a lot of dust and debris. It will not be visible to the naked eye , but it will be visible to sensors of any particular sensitivity.
To address the first point: the caretaker and all of the mines have a shell consisting of meta-materials. These have the property of being able to control the path of electromagnetic radiation in different parts of the spectrum. We've already developed meta-materials that work in the infra-red range: http://arxiv.org/abs/0904.3508. In the advanced world of Limit Theory, I assume that the technology has reached the stage where these can cloak a significantly large volume of space, but are cumbersome. Any thermal radiation produced by the caretaker will have to pass through layers of this meta-material exterior which will guide it and expel it in the direction of nearby mines, which can then re-transmit onwards to other mines or just expel it into space. Even if the radiation were detected then, there's no way to trace it back to the caretaker.

As for the second point, that's a pretty good point, especially since Josh does love his dust. I've been searching for some source of information to tell me how much energy a tightly focused laser would emit through hitting matter over, say, 500 km in the almost perfect vacuum of space. I couldn't find anything.

Assuming that is actually significant, there's a way to modify the system to work but you're going to hate me for it. :ghost: You know Josh's idea of matter transfer units? In another proposal I made, I suggest the possibility of altering the quantum mechanical behaviour of particles within a region of space to facilitate motion. At the bottom, under Extensions, I consider the same kind of idea being applied to matter transport units. I imagine a modification of the system where the caretaker and possibly the mines are equipped with very weak but long-range matter transport units that establish (what I call) Heisenberg fields between themselves through which photons are transported. Since the properties of Heisenberg fields are configurable, you can establish ones which expel matter outside of themselves but permit light to travel through them as normal. I know you'll hate this because the science it rests on isn't as established as everything else I've proposed, but I do give a defence for the plausibility of the science in my other proposal. So long as science fiction ideas don't contradict anything that's been firmly established in science, I'm quite happy.
CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:Sure. If you managed to make it far enough into the minefield to attack it, then yeah. It would be right in the middle. In the example I gave, you'd have to traverse 500 km of space to reach it. You'd also need to know the minefield was there in the first place, and the region of space it was centred on to find the caretaker.
Your caretaker is immobile, so you would not need to enter at all to destroy it. Just a single well aimed projectile once you've determined its location.
If. If you determine its location (see above).
CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:Another clever tactic! Fleet commanders who were able to spot a few mines could have extrapolated the position of the rest in an attempt to safely navigate the minefield. The caretaker would have adapted to this tactic by manipulating the position of the mines so that whenever a hostile is detected, the pattern of mines close to him are maintained while mines further back are scrambled into different positions, probably ones that will maximise the chances of intercepting hostiles that behave in expectation that the pattern of mines remains constant throughout the minefield. The caretaker is Borg. >:3
Its got to move thousands of mines. That will take a while and use even more power, and will also be illuminating the mines.
Actually, thanks to Cornflakes' improvements to the idea, all the mines can be moved simultaneously, and with a branching factor of 8 the highest power output along any one path is only 125 MW, again using tightly focused lasers, and above using matter transfer units you can get rid of any dust or particles that it might otherwise intercept.
ThymineC wrote:The advantages of the current system over this one are that:
  • Positron mines can be re-used indefinitely if they fail to reach their target. Micromissiles cannot.
  • Positron mines can be coordinated to work together through the caretaker. Micromissiles probably cannot.
  • Positron mines do not need to carry propellant so can reserve more space for their payload.
  • Q-thrusters probably don't generate as many emissions as a missile burning fuel as it travels does.
  • Positron mine payloads can be modified and overloaded on the fly. As the mine approaches the hostile, the caretaker could beam photons at it that it converts into positronium, allowing it to increase its payload past its sustainable limit.
  • Positron mines can behave more intelligently, pursuing hostiles or differentiating between hostiles and friendlies better than a standard missile could, as a positron mine is controlled remotely by an array of powerful computers as opposed to the relatively low-power microprocessors I guess they'd put in missiles.
  • Following on, you cannot re-program missiles to behave differently once they've been set up in the minefield. You can get positron mines to behave however you like since they're being actively controlled by the caretaker.
CutterJohn wrote: - Your mines couldn't be reused indefinitely either. Motion requires reaction mass(if we're discounting reaction mass then missiles just got a whole hell of a lot more effective).
Sure they could. What makes you think my mines require reaction mass? They use Q-thrusters, which by definition don't require reaction mass. Only energy.
CutterJohn wrote: - Missiles could easily coordinate with each other by one missile simply broadcasting to any nearby missile to attack its target. It doesn't know, nor need to know, if any other missiles are nearby to make this broadcast.
Broadcasting to nearby missiles? What was that about beacons and lighting up in the sky? :p
In any case, these missiles could at best communicate with others close to it. My mines can effectively communicate with each other (although really it's just the caretaker doing all the work). Also, each missile would be quite dumb compared to the caretaker, since they can't carry more than microprocessors.
CutterJohn wrote: - Of course they need propellant. If we're making up non newtonian drives then physics are completely out of the window and we may as well say the mines work because magic( :ghost: ), and this entire technobabble project becomes meaningless.
It's hardly magic. The idea is apparently plausible enough that NASA are investigating it ([url=hhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_vacuum_plasma_thruster]Wikipedia link[/url]).
CutterJohn wrote: - Yes, because I'm trying to extrapolate plausible functionality. If I just made stuff like a Q-thruster up, it would be trivial to design anything that works. Technobabble and math don't mix.
I've lost track of which point you're responding to but again, the Q-thruster stuff isn't made up. I'm basing the stuff on real experimental figures derived from tests.
CutterJohn wrote: - You know, I'm starting to wonder why you're not just pointing this super powerful laser at the enemy. It has, after all, a 1000km range. 1gw of Xrays will make anyones day highly unpleasant.
Because I don't really know or believe 1GW lasers would count as all that powerful in the world of Limit Theory. I guess the difference between us is that you prefer to only accept science fiction based on established hard science, whereas I prefer to only reject science fiction that goes against established hard science. I like imagining relatively large values for things like power and damage outputs (it contributes to the scale and epicness of the setting, in my opinion, but if over-done can ruin the immersion). This is a contrast of Star Wars scales against Star Trek scales. I'd probably imagine Limit Theory to be somewhere in-between, but far, far closer to Star Trek's end. So I'm thinking maybe a standard laser would output 10-20 GW of power. The caretaker might be able to do some damage with its laser, but it's more effective at using mines.

If you do want to take the more realistic route, then we could just assume that, although the caretaker can generate up to 1 GW of power, it can only sustain ~125 MW lasers through any given emitter, so that it's forced to use multiple emitters anyway. (You could then counter that by saying, what's stopping the mines just re-coalescing the beams on the target at the full 1GW? No, be quiet! >;p)
CutterJohn wrote: - Doubtful. The mine is completely passive, relying utterly on a far removed facility to detect for it, power it, and guide it. The caretaker will not have as close of a look, and there will be significant time lag. Processing power is not hard to make in tiny, cheap packages. Nor are sensors that function within the operational range of the weapon.

Significant time lag? Only a few milliseconds. It's only a 500km distance at most and light travels pretty fast. And we're talking about science fiction here. Considering how fast processing power is advancing in real life, I think you can maintain that sufficient processing power could exist in tiny, cheap packages in Limit Theory for these purposes. You're imposing limitations that you can't substantiate at this point since the technology could easily exist within Limit Theory.
CutterJohn wrote:Of course you could reprogram the missiles. You'd simply need the appropriate key and then broadcast it within range. It detects the signal, powers up just enough to authenticate the communication, then follows the instructions within.
Lighthouse.
CutterJohn wrote:
ThymineC wrote:How? Even assuming a person knew the minefield was there, the size of it, the number of mines in it and the initial starting layout of the mines, they'd still have a lot of trouble navigating it as the minefield will adapt as soon as the caretaker notices the hostile.
The assumption that this caretaker can't be detected is just pure fantasy. I can not imagine how you could possibly hope to hide a multi gw power plant.
It's just 1 GW actually. And this is covered above.
CutterJohn wrote:Tbh, I just realized another thing that completely negates the premise.. The caretaker must hit a baseball sized target from 1000km away with utter reliability. This means the mine *must* be able to tell the caretaker where it is every time it is to be moved, which means a signal that says "I'm here!", which means that mine has just given up any semblance of stealth.
Well, Cornflakes suggestion was that the mines would be able to guide matter. I extended it with the assumption that mines would be able to deflect light back at any angle, in order to facilitate having mines beam power and information between each other. They could in theory deflect the light back a full 180 degrees (or if this is not feasible, just deflect it around a little at a time in a circuit that encompasses a handful of mines). By bending the stream of photons back, the caretaker can maintain an accurate lock on the mines without the mines being detected.

CutterJohn wrote:You're trying very hard to make the ancient concept of a mine work in a space environment, which I can respect, but all you've done is transform them into an incredibly odd type of missile using a lot of handwavium and caveats to explain away weaknesses of the centralized design.
You've gone to a lot of trouble to impose limitations that don't necessarily exist just because they don't exist using today's technology. Everything I've said still seems to be in accordance with our present understanding of the laws of physics, even the stuff on Heisenberg fields.
The difference between us is that you take a pessimistic outlook on the technological capabilities within Limit Theory, but I take an optimistic stance. Next you'll be telling Josh that interstellar jump-gates are infeasible because they don't exist today.

It is useful feedback though! Between constructive criticism and refinements from Cornflakes, it's already altered significantly from the original proposal.

I do like trying to tie my ideas as close to established science as possible, with that being said, the closer the better, but I prefer to not rule out anything that hasn't been contradicted by established science, since you get more interesting things happening that way.
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#28
CutterJohn wrote:
I'll go through these one at a time.

- Your mines couldn't be reused indefinitely either. Motion requires reaction mass(if we're discounting reaction mass then missiles just got a whole hell of a lot more effective).

[...]

- Of course they need propellant. If we're making up non newtonian drives then physics are completely out of the window and we may as well say the mines work because magic( :ghost: ), and this entire technobabble project becomes meaningless.

- Yes, because I'm trying to extrapolate plausible functionality. If I just made stuff like a Q-thruster up, it would be trivial to design anything that works. Technobabble and math don't mix.
about 5 seconds of googling, from nasa.gov

if you discount something as made up, google it first
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#29
Interesting (and ridiculously extensive :clap: ) proposal.
I did not read everything in detail, since it is too late already, but I think you miscalculated the explosive force of your payload:

Using the famous E=mc^2 and a mass of 1 µg (microgram) for the payload I get a total amount of 90 MJ, not 90 GJ, which would be equivalent to 20 kg TNT - nothing more than a little poooof at those large spaceships.
Maybe just scale everthing up by a factor of x1000 to fix this?

Have a good night
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Re: Positronium Minefield

#30
bananenwurst wrote:Interesting (and ridiculously extensive :clap: ) proposal.
I did not read everything in detail, since it is too late already, but I think you miscalculated the explosive force of your payload:

Using the famous E=mc^2 and a mass of 1 µg (microgram) for the payload I get a total amount of 90 MJ, not 90 GJ, which would be equivalent to 20 kg TNT - nothing more than a little poooof at those large spaceships.
Maybe just scale everthing up by a factor of x1000 to fix this?
Thanks for noticing that! I was playing around with different values of my system and mainly varying them by certain orders of magnitude (e.g. I reduced the initial mass of my mines from 10kg to 1kg). I originally had the positronium payload at 1 milligram and must have forgotten to change the rest of the calculations. I'll revert it back to 1 milligram like you recommend since I'm pretty happy with a 90 GJ payload.

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