Page for Wednesday, June 05, 2013:


It's really difficult to hide a ship in space. Apparently, conventional rocket engines firing near Earth can be detected from as far out as Pluto, while maneuvering engines can be detected as far out as the asteroid belt, and anyone who's played Mass Effect knows that a ship's heat signature will stick out like a sore thumb against the cold vacuum of space. However, I take it as a given that the ships in this comic have somewhat more advanced propulsion systems than conventional rockets we know today -- they are more efficient, producing less light, which dramatically reduces the range at which they can be seen. As for heat, well, naturally, that's still a problem that needs to be contended with; but, again, presupposing more advanced technology, one can assume that spacecraft of this era generate a lot less wasteful heat exhaust -- again, reducing the range at which they can be spotted. So, powering down to the barest essentials (and that includes turning off the gravity) could help to mask your ship's presence considerably.

Also, if we take into consideration the difference between active sensors, which send out a signal and scan for a return signal (actively looking for objects in space, similar to radar and sonar) and passive sensors, which simply "listen" for objects in space (passively waiting for incoming signals, like a radio receiver), you could render your ship effectively invisible, assuming nobody comes into the vicinity running an active sensor sweep. Given how big the solar system is, that's a lot of "ground" to cover, so it is possible, theoretically, to hide by moving into the outer rim of the system, where the distance between... well, anything, starts to increase exponentially. Try to move, however, and you'd risk being spotted... a bit like a submarine, really. That said, space is not an ocean.

It's a wee bit painful looking back on this page now, because, in a more recent page I've completed featuring Kochanski, he looks a lot better than he does here. I don't know what I was thinking with that nose.

Commentary for June 05, 2013


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