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 Post subject: landing on an icy world
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:35 pm 
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I seem to recall this being brought up as a problem in a couple Larry Niven stories way back when, but what happens if you try to land a spacecraft on a frozen planet or moon? Like say Titan or Pluto?

I would think that even a Traveller style reactionless drive would probably give off a decent amount of heat. What would that do to the environment?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:24 pm 
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I would think the radiant heat would be a huge issue and the colder the planet, the more of a problem it would be.

Touchdown on Titan and most of the nearby "ground" would flash to vapor. Once the ship had cooled, it wouldn't be as big of an issue, but then the inside of the ship is at cryogenic temperatures, not comfortable for humans.

Unfortunately, this probably needs to be something that you ignore for most RPG's - or, you don't allow habitation on these colder worlds.

For warmer worlds (water ice), there are likely design techniques that could be used to keep the ground frozen (say down to -50C) - those leg struts on the Type-S might actually make sense in those conditions! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:36 am 
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I think your lander would need really good insulation (maybe some kind of heatsink sticking up really high from the top of the ship so as little of the insulated heat radiates down to the ground?), or really long landing struts :P. Or maybe both!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:04 am 
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EDG wrote:
I think your lander would need really good insulation (maybe some kind of heatsink sticking up really high from the top of the ship so as little of the insulated heat radiates down to the ground?), or really long landing struts :P. Or maybe both!

And a very short exhaust plume.

At least on Titan you'd be able to land aerodynamically.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 4:24 pm 
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These answers match my suspicions. Thanks everyone.


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