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shanty towns in space


tsmspace
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Ok. I think I have a subject that I don't know where it's addressed,, but it appears to be NOT addressed in your average show. 

I watched (and did not read,, reading is certainly different) the expanse, and got talking on facebook about it a lot. Well,, here's the thing, there's all these belters, they have ships, , but 

In real life, you get people who initially would be a homeless colony, but left unchecked people build there. they get pallets, scrap rubble, regular garbage, cardboard, tarps, tents, blankets, vehicles, everything, and they build a colony. If you go to some cities in "underdeveloped areas", you will find thousands upon thousands of people living in literal towns of settlement that are fundamentally unchecked homeless camps. 

In space, in order to even survive, a person needs quite a bit of equipment. Assuming a very populous space settlement as represented in the expanse,, there should be junk, junk-ships, balloons like the bigelow inflatable habitat, all kinds of things that people tie together into huge floatillas. People would be able to get enough equipment to survive, (people might even just give it to them sometimes, to keep people alive), but they won't be able to afford docking fees, or rent on civilized habitats. They will be homeless, but have enough gear and shelter to be a space homeless. If the populations of asteroids is 100,000, then there should be hundreds, or possibly even thousands of people living in junkers nearby,, scavenging garbage, bartering with marketeers, offering services off the books, (repairs, illegal equipment, stores or goods without the need for docking fees, delivery services, drugs, brothel bigelows, ) , and this would have a significant impact on ,,,,, space war. 

often space war is depicted as a very organized affair. Huge well funded militaries field highly sophisticated navies. But earth-war doesn't work this way. The greatest militaries on earth simply don't fight. They police, they present a threat, but the fighting is not carried out by them. Instead, "terrorists", traffickers, police, small countries with condemned reputations, private security for resource enterprises, , all fight in ways we would describe as "not effective warfare". Pistols, hacked up rifles, machetes, improvised explosives made from cleaners and household hardware, kidnapping, hold-ups, piracy of pleasure craft and tankers, one person against another person, 100 people against a police force, a small army in a poverty stricken area against small convoys of peace-keepers trying to protect industry,,,,, Sure, there could be a battle between capital ships that happens out in the open where you see nothing but those ships. But it would be this one time, it would make the history books. But people would be militant against militants, people would make floatillas of homeless,, able to keep a ship that has no engine, but unable to park it, there would be shipping containers in huge formations, there would be huge formations of abandoned containers that are no longer fit for service, there would be so,, much,,, stuff. 

 

pretty soon, shooting point blank from what amounts to an engine with a gun on it sounds like it would happen a lot,, more than anything else that would happen. You would need to manuever so much with thrusters to get around. You would need to be such a good manual pilot at slow speeds. You wouldn't be able to SEE a planet, only the junk several yards in front of you. it would be an ocean of junk, filled with people who patched together bits and bubbles. it wouldn't be a dyson cloud, it would be a shanty town, as close to the nearest station as the stations police allow. 


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Gaius Konstantine
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Posted by: @tsmspace

often space war is depicted as a very organized affair. Huge well funded militaries field highly sophisticated navies. But earth-war doesn't work this way. The greatest militaries on earth simply don't fight. They police, they present a threat, but the fighting is not carried out by them. Instead, "terrorists", traffickers, police, small countries with condemned reputations, private security for resource enterprises, , all fight in ways we would describe as "not effective warfare"

Well the thing is, we can't really fight anymore in that way, at least not major powers as the situation can escalate out of control, so we fight by proxy instead. Imagine a conventional war where one side is losing but possesses a nuclear arsenal, I don't know about you, but I'm taking everyone down with me. This is a major reason as to why we are more well behaved (in a sense). Contrast this to two states without WMDs, Iran vs Iraq 1980-1988. Traditional warfare reminiscent of WW I. Depending on the weaponry then, space war, when we get to it, may be different than what anyone expects.

I had the privilege of experiencing a simulation of space warfare funded by the DoD in the 80s, it was enlightening. Using technology that is available now, the exercise resulted in ships using gravitational pull of nearby objects to outmaneuver each other while spewing out salvos of nuclear missiles. In space, nukes are not as devastating, you needed to hit the target, (or close enough), to envelope it in the effective blast radius. There was nowhere to hide, as your engines resulted in a heat signature that could be spotted from Pluto, and the most effective tactics were to anticipate where your enemy would be, not where he was.

There were no banks and rolls of space fighters as seen in movies, no hiding behind asteroids, (as the belt is nowhere near as dense as people imagine). In other words it was like nothing seen in games or movies, it was rather...boring.

As to it being organised, that comes from the actors responsible for fielding the opposing forces.

P.S.

Love your thoughts


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tsmspace
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@gaius-konstantine 

 

so tell me more about this using nearby objects to benefit in acceleration,, because I'm imagining everyone crashing back to earth, or else I'm imagining ENORMOUS distances, where the time between a shot fired and a shot hitting is weeks or more. 

as for cluttered asteroids,, well I was suggesting that instead of asteroid clutter, it would be shipping containers, house-boats, more house boats, house pods that need tugs to hook them to things, ,,, maybe it's not any rocks, but maybe if there is such a space station on an asteroid as in the expanse, where 100,000 people live in it, there would be all kinds of people who park a habitat close by. Just like today, a nice rent costs a lot, the US has a very low homeless rate, but in other countries, homeless is the norm, building out of junk materials into little garbage huts is very common, and all of this would result in basically something to hide behind (lets say if you are some kind of criminal). 

I will change the subject a moment,, archeologists don't agree here, there isn't much debate, but some people over time have suggested that shanty towns explain how egypt could be imagined, and why society in egypt was so high class in archeology. Instead of the stated urban populations,, these would simply be the wealthy and their workers. But outside of each settlement would be countless numbers of "heathen", people who were homeless, living everywhere, eating rodents and grass, building out of grass if it was available, etc. This is the reason for so much egyptian military,, the military wasn't mostly there to war, or even to police the citizens,, it was there to continuously beat back the wilderness, which consisted MOSTLY of homeless encampments. So, there are some suggestions that a better way to imagine egypt is having their cities be surrounded with shanty towns just like mexico city. 

 

I picture space to be like this. People will make it to space , they will buy a ship or a ticket to a habitat, but then they will run out of money. Space will be expensive, but sometimes there will be relief, sometimes illegal merchants will be able to offer hacks and non-code fixes to keep habitats livable, people will get up into space, and where they can survive,, but only if they don't have to pay for "the grid". THey will ultimately spend a lot of time as close as possible to little opportunities for scraps, (if a mining operation breaks up a rock, for example, maybe there will be "seagulls" chasing around valuable dust).  ,,,, I don't try to imagine the steps between,, but neither do these sci-fi fantasies,, they just HAVE 100,000 people living on a space station,, yet no one is homeless in a boat>? 


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Gaius Konstantine
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Good morning.

Acceleration meant, (for example),you used the moon as a way to slingshot your ship. You approached at the correct vector where gravity did not pull you in, but increased your speed as you swung about. You also had the benefit of temporarily being un-seen by your opponent. He/she had to guess what you were doing during that time. Did you continue on your trajectory, or did you apply thrusters  and alter it? What will your speed be when you come out?

Your missiles were much faster than your ships, but yes, we were missing a lot as you had to calculate where the enemy would be by the time your barrage closed. The nuclear war-heads were a must otherwise you needed a direct hit... which was nearly impossible. The time to impact was not weeks, just minutes, but keep in mind the tech being used, very low end stuff. Relatively speaking the combatants were not that far from each other either.

I can agree with your thoughts on ancient Egypt, and indeed such shanty towns would have left little archaeological evidence as the materials used would not be durable. That said, I don't know if it could ever apply to space as the costs are so much different. Right now a sturdy cardboard box can be used as an improvised shelter, in space, no container on its own would suffice. You would need atmosphere, climate control, etc. These things are extremely expensive. Of course in a game setting, or far enough into the future where costs would be less, it could be plausible.

It's still an interesting approach and one that could come about, remember in Star wars when Han asked for 10K to take Luke and Obiwan to Alderan, Luke replied he could almost buy a ship for that amount. What I'm saying then is that in a setting where space settlements and exploration are at an early stage, I can't see it. In a setting where the space "economy" is mature, I could.


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Cody
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Nukes in space? No blast wave, no thermal radiation, only nuclear radiation, yes?

 

The light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train!


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Gaius Konstantine
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@cody 

Yes Cody, that was what we saw and why the nukes were so far less effective than what they are on Earth. You needed almost a direct hit so the enemy would be caught in the immediate blast (not really a blast like in an atmosphere, more particle and radiation discharge). It was frustrating... yet tons of fun at the same time. Mind you, the fun was that we were playing a sim that wasn't available to the public, PCs were in their infancy as was gaming. The frustration was that it was nothing like Star Trek, Star wars, et all. Heck, even Space 1999 seemed more futuristic than what we were experiencing.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago 2 times by Gaius Konstantine

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Cody
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Posted by: @gaius-konstantine

You needed almost a direct hit so the enemy would be caught in the immediate blast

Might as well use conventional HE warheads on torpedoes.

 

Ever read the Honor Harrington novels? Military sci-fi by David Weber. Think Hornblower in space, but with a twist - the protagonist is a woman, and she's a tough cookie! It's set in a real universe with Newtonian physics, and there are some very good descriptions of capital ships engaged in long-range battles, and slow stern-chases. Torpedoes are quite popular!

The light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train!


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Gaius Konstantine
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Posted by: @cody
Posted by: @gaius-konstantine

You needed almost a direct hit so the enemy would be caught in the immediate blast

Might as well use conventional HE warheads on torpedoes.

 

Ever read the Honor Harrington novels? Military sci-fi by David Weber. Think Hornblower in space, but with a twist - the protagonist is a woman, and she's a tough cookie! It's set in a real universe with Newtonian physics, and there are some very good descriptions of capital ships engaged in long-range battles, and slow stern-chases. Torpedoes are quite popular!

HE warheads would be less useful than Nukes my friend.

I haven't read those novels though I am familiar with them, I will check it out when I have some free time as I love the description you provided as regards battles. The thing is, just about all my spare time is now spent on trying to learn Python, I've got my own project in mind and I need to get familiar with this language as it will help with GDSscript which is my goal. That said, I'll need a break at some point and this sounds like an excellent diversion when the time comes to recharge my batteries.

P.S.

Not quite shanty towns in space, but I will be looking to incorporate some non-aligned, (and unsanctioned) bases/settlements. 


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Cody
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Posted by: @gaius-konstantine

I will check it out when I have some free time

First novel in the series is a free download from Baen Books.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the light of an oncoming train!


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tsmspace
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@gaius-konstantine Ok, so this morning I was imagining that missiles could be used to counter missiles. Also, anti-missile missiles would be able to be smaller, since they would travel less distance and need to do less damage. But your comments on the difficulty of hitting enemy ships with missiles makes me wonder if the anti-missile missiles would also have a difficult time hitting the target. An incoming target is hard to steer towards because the time you have to change vector can be smaller particularly if the incoming missile is able to perform some form of evasive maneuver. Perhaps the countermeasure could be launched as soon as the incoming missile was detected, so that it is able to fly out a ways before turning around to pursue the anti-ship missile, but that would be a much bigger missile. 

 

In my imagination I was thinking that actually,, it MIGHT be difficult to use missiles to shoot other ships because any defending ship could carry so many more counter-measure missiles than an offender could carry anti-ship missiles, just as a factor of the much smaller size that a shorter range smaller warhead missile could be. I will use the expanse as a reference,, I watched the show recently,, even they carry so many more missiles than it looks like they should be able to. I would imagine a frigate like the rosinante as pictured to carry a handful of torpedos at best. They would probably be fairly compact, but the imagery presented shows a rather appropriate size of missile compared to modern standards, popping out of a rather small parent vessel. A countermeasure missile might be able to be quite small, closer to the size of a large model rocket. It wouldn't need to do much damage to an incoming missile to result in the incoming missile failing to hit, it should be quite maneuverable, it could carry some kind of shotgun shell and likely hit the missile head on if fired from relatively short range. An incoming missile would likely have a cruise stage followed by a high velocity stage (this strategy is to defeat countermeasures), so the counter-measure would either be much faster than the cruise stage, or be able to fly directly at a missile that was in it's final high velocity stage, during which it would not be able to maneuver and still hit the target. 

anyway, the point of my whole scenario is to get past missiles, because missile warfare doesn't have room for fighters shooting some kind of bullets or similar. 

 

In other discussion, , also looking at the expanse (I did not read the books), is the railguns. Well, these might actually be guass guns, or anyway guns that accelerate the projectile using a series of coils and careful timing. Railguns use the projectile to close a circuit. THey are good, they might be the one for space, but they would wear the rails out quickly, and might have a much lower rate of fire. I happened to catch a youtube video where "demolition ranch" bought a gauss pistol with a very high rate of fire (although a projectile speed that is too low to be a proper gun). A turret would have some limitations when considering long range accuracy resolution. It's plausible to make some very accurate turrets, but these require some impressive engineering, certainly suffering from durability issues that military equipment can't afford. Aiming would require the turret to be in constant relative motion, futher affecting the accuracy resolution. A gauss gun uses coils, however, so perhaps these coils could be charged slightly more or less to result in a bit of aiming resolution being available WITHOUT moving the turret. Also, a gauss gun offers a significant degree of control over the other variables of a round. For example, if the plan was to create a cloud of gauss rounds in orbit, they could easily be fired gently so as to form a tight formation (like a bombing run). If the plan was to create a spread, using this magnetic aiming, the degree of spread could be controlled based on the range of the target. Actually, some gauss coils might be able to be used at the end of a railgun to offer this aiming resolution, even if the bulk of the acceleration is done by rails. 

Bullets would be overall much more difficult to counter, is the idea. A missile is very bulky, and possible to shoot down. Having missiles would be a sort of standoff,,, no one can really win, but no one can really win. You could fly your big ship close enough to shoot bullets, but it would be easy to hit with bullets, and take a lot of time to maneuver, but you could mount engines onto a gun, some low-tech engines that are durable against electromagnetic warfare equipment, you could control these engines with synchro-servos that are little more than copper wire, and you could pilot these fighters with your eyes, defeating almost any jamming environment. A bit of breifing, know where the sun is, and a radio that can handle more emf than your body so that WHEN it works, it's still working, , and you should be able to get fighters into line-of-sight of a large object (one that can carry so many missiles) so they can fire all of their bullets and then use their compass to turn back around. (I don't know how a space compass would work, but perhaps your eyeballs are enough if you are in a familiar part of space,, for example inside of one solar system, you could just use the stars and the sun).Once you get far enough away from the jamming your radio could be used to get you home. 


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Gaius Konstantine
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@tsmspace 

Wow, that's a lot of thoughts, and brings to mind contemporary naval warfare, it may help you out if I summarize some things about that.

A weapons platform, (ship), has various offensive and defensive systems, the more of one, the less of the other. In a "wet" navy you have to consider the ships role. Is it general purpose, or does it specialize in anti sub, anti air, or anti ship warfare. For your scenario, we are looking at general purpose.

You have no equivalent to subs to counter, so we won't worry about that. Fighters can be part of the equation (anti-air), or not. It doesn't matter though because dealing with fighters is similar to dealing with missiles.

So what are we left with? Offensive weapons, and defensive measures (which can include weapons)

Offensively you are going to use Missiles which in space are interchangeable with torpedoes. In a game you can differentiate, perhaps a pure missile is faster, harder to defend against, but packs less of a punch than a torpedo. You get the idea.

Wet navy ships are limited in the number of anti ship missiles they can carry, with 8 being standard on an all purpose Frigate. 

Ships also carry a main gun. It has greater ammunition available, but lacks the range of a missile, it is also a "dumb" munition. In space, your ships should also carry guns. Yes they can be particle accelerators dealing out damage via kinetic impact, or just plain artillery in space akin to Battlestar Galactica. If you go with accelerators, they needn't be riffled and the projectile need never encounter the barrel physically, meaning you don't need to worry so much about replacing the barrels.  Artillery on the other hand will cause degradation of the barrel over time, but has the advantage of not needing to be powered by your reactors, the shell has it's own propellant. 

In either case, scoring a hit by these weapons should be harder than scoring a hit via missile fire, much harder, but apart from armor, (if any), there is no defense against these weapons.

Defending against missiles is done in a variety of ways, ECM, Decoys, and of course, interceptor missiles. And yes, hitting a missile with another missile is hard but doable. Your interceptor missiles are smaller as they don't need to have the range of anti ship missiles but you still can't carry a lot of them, you also can't fire all of them at once. 

You can incorporate some small caliber auto cannon as a last ditch defense as well (think flak)

So here is a space ship

It has 8-16 anti ship missiles

32 Interceptor missiles

1 main gun (heavy)

2 smaller rapid fire guns for defensive fire...

And I just gave you a Frigate.

Eventually you could think about some charged particle beams, these have unlimited ammo, but would be a drain of power to fire... not to mention the technology is in its infancy. 

Shields could play a role... but again, we don't have this yet... armor on the other hand is available now.

Your warheads, regardless of whether they are offensive/defensive are going to face the effects of happening in space, but so much the better if you need a direct hit with your interceptor missiles, after all, you do want some shots to get through...which is what happens in real life anyway.

Oddly enough, my own sim, (which is just an idea at this stage), will focus on these low tech weapons.


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