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The Dawn Star and Chihiro

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Bluestrike2   » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:19 pm

Bluestrike2
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Posts: 59
Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 12:59 am

Bluesqueak wrote:
Dilandu wrote:
Sigh. With early XXI-century equipment.

Guys, you really need to refresh your astronomy. Space is basically the very contrast "cold" background. Any heat source could be easily detected on enormous distances with relatively cheap equipment. We could directly observe exoplanets literally THOUSAND of lightyears away (like CVSO 30 system, 1200 ly from Sun) - and no exoplanet emit as much energy as those supposed planetary-moving engine.

If Gbaba have at least our tech level (and there are "some indications" in books that they, indeed, have :) ) they could arrange for periodical scans from automated stations around their sphere of influence with literally miniscule resource requirements. So no, you could NOT hide planetary-moving engines even in space.


Sigh. Do they have time travel?

You've forgotten that the exoplanets we are currently 'observing' are in fact the state of play 1,200 years ago in time. If the colonists moved sufficiently far outside the Gbaba sphere of influence (which they did), any automated systems would only note an increase in heat several thousand years in the future.

You've also made an assumption that I was talking about moving a moon, with the consequent ginormous engines - probably because I joked about Iapetus - when I actually said 'build'. Build a moon.

More to the point, the entire premise of Safehold is that it IS possible to hide from the Gbaba if you go far enough.

Dilandu, if the Gbaba are as good at detection as you think, the entire premise of the series is destroyed. There can be no Safehold, because the Gbaba have already detected the planetary system, and will have noticed the energy produced by an entire fleet of Interstellar spaceships.

Except they won't, because one thing we do know about Fed tech is that they can 'stealth'. Likewise, they'll have noticed the energies used in Terraforming- except everyone thought they could hide that too.

So they can hide the energy event of spaceships, they can hide one-off energy events like the high tech gear for terraforming. Possibly they could even hide a one-off event like making a moon a bit bigger. What they can't do is hide the continued emissions of a high tech civilisation.


The Operation Ark mission planners worked from the assumption that Gbaba scouts would capture lightspeed data from their eventual destination system either during terraforming operations or the "silent colony" era. That was the point of temporarily reverting to a pre-technological civilization. When the Gbaba scouts analyzed returns from the Safehold system, they wouldn't pick up anything because the scouts would be too early.

In OAR, Pei Kau-yung openly states the mission planners were worried about an active search. Waiting for signals to reach fixed monitoring installations within Gbaba space might have been how the TF was originally detected, but it wouldn't work for tracking down any escaping humans. By the time the signals reached the Gbaba, a human colony would have had enough time to build up to be an even greater threat than the TF had managed.

This means the Gbaba need to either account for all of their victims' ships--or, more likely--deploy a massive number of scouts to move through hyperspace, drop out to deploy huge distributed radio telescopes and other sensors to listen for a few weeks, and then move out a few light-years before repeating their efforts. For the Gbaba, missing a colony means that their former victims get to come back looking for a war when they're ready. They literally cannot use passive monitoring at home because by then it'd be too late for them. They have no choice but to send out ships.

While I realize you're joking about a time machine, given the ability to effectively bypass the speed of light via hyperspace, the Gbaba (or any FTL-capable species) is equipped with a sort of temporal telescope. That's close enough for their purposes. Peter F. Hamilton used this in Pandora's Star for his Commonwealth Saga. An astronomer observes two stars that were suspected Dyson spheres. All emissions are instantaneously cut off, so he buys time on another telescope light-years away to verify the same moment in time.

Operation Ark was about finding a distant enough colony that their emissions would take millennia to reach the Gbaba, and then hiding long enough that any scouts would move past the colony. Langhorne's modifications merely extend that: no emissions, ever. The scouts are the primary threat, because they're looking for emissions that are only a few years old at best. Time and the inverse-square law are their biggest protection from future detection from within in Gbaba space.

The problem with building a moon is that you don't have millions of years to wait for it to form out of a mass of rock. You need to move ‎7.342×10^22kg of mass (e.g. Luna) to one location, and then use external forces to effectively condense all of that mass. That generates a ridiculous amount of heat, which would take centuries to radiate away. To say nothing of the energy that'd be radiated during the attempt itself. It'd also take a great deal of time, and we know that Safehold only took a few decades (at most) to terraform.

They could build a hollow moon, I suppose, but there's a problem with that as well. The Gbaba could measure the moon's moment of intertia which would make it abundantly obvious that it's an artificial body. And then they have to look more closely. Or their scouts could just compare their new data to older scan data. Is there a major difference? Plus, building a Dahak or just a regular 'ol hollow moon would require extensive space-based industry. The same sort of industry that sets off a warning flag. If they were going to do that, they'd never have bothered with reverting to a pre-technical society to begin with.

Compared to those energies, the energy and waste heat of terraforming operations (as well as their ships) would be minimal. The TF didn't shift Safehold's orbit. They didn't try to build up or modify an atmosphere, add mass, reshape the crust, or anything else like that. For the most part, they had a perfectly usable Earth-similar planet and just had to modify its biosphere. If they really wanted a moon for whatever reason, they'd just reject the system and move on. Apparently, habitable planets are common enough in the Safehold universe.

The original Operation Ark wasn't about eliminating *any* risk of detection whatsoever. It was just about minimizing it during the critical period when they expected Gbaba scouts to be searching for any escaped humans. Escape the threat of an active search in the first ~500 years (OAR), and don't worry about passive detection in the centuries or millennia or two after that. By the time the Gbaba discovered the humans (if they ever did), the colony would have had centuries to build up a population and space presence that would have made even the TF look positively parochial.

At least, that was the plan until Langhorne screwed it up. On the plus side, we wound up with a much more interesting story as a result.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:34 pm

Bluesqueak
Captain (Junior Grade)

Posts: 291
Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:04 pm

Bluestrike2 wrote:
Bluesqueak wrote:
Sigh. Do they have time travel?

You've forgotten that the exoplanets we are currently 'observing' are in fact the state of play 1,200 years ago in time. If the colonists moved sufficiently far outside the Gbaba sphere of influence (which they did), any automated systems would only note an increase in heat several thousand years in the future.

You've also made an assumption that I was talking about moving a moon, with the consequent ginormous engines - probably because I joked about Iapetus - when I actually said 'build'. Build a moon.

More to the point, the entire premise of Safehold is that it IS possible to hide from the Gbaba if you go far enough.

Dilandu, if the Gbaba are as good at detection as you think, the entire premise of the series is destroyed. There can be no Safehold, because the Gbaba have already detected the planetary system, and will have noticed the energy produced by an entire fleet of Interstellar spaceships.

Except they won't, because one thing we do know about Fed tech is that they can 'stealth'. Likewise, they'll have noticed the energies used in Terraforming- except everyone thought they could hide that too.

So they can hide the energy event of spaceships, they can hide one-off energy events like the high tech gear for terraforming. Possibly they could even hide a one-off event like making a moon a bit bigger. What they can't do is hide the continued emissions of a high tech civilisation.


The Operation Ark mission planners worked from the assumption that Gbaba scouts would capture lightspeed data from their eventual destination system either during terraforming operations or the "silent colony" era. That was the point of temporarily reverting to a pre-technological civilization. When the Gbaba scouts analyzed returns from the Safehold system, they wouldn't pick up anything because the scouts would be too early.

In OAR, Pei Kau-yung openly states the mission planners were worried about an active search. Waiting for signals to reach fixed monitoring installations within Gbaba space might have been how the TF was originally detected, but it wouldn't work for tracking down any escaping humans. By the time the signals reached the Gbaba, a human colony would have had enough time to build up to be an even greater threat than the TF had managed.

This means the Gbaba need to either account for all of their victims' ships--or, more likely--deploy a massive number of scouts to move through hyperspace, drop out to deploy huge distributed radio telescopes and other sensors to listen for a few weeks, and then move out a few light-years before repeating their efforts. For the Gbaba, missing a colony means that their former victims get to come back looking for a war when they're ready. They literally cannot use passive monitoring at home because by then it'd be too late for them. They have no choice but to send out ships.

While I realize you're joking about a time machine, given the ability to effectively bypass the speed of light via hyperspace, the Gbaba (or any FTL-capable species) is equipped with a sort of temporal telescope. That's close enough for their purposes. Peter F. Hamilton used this in Pandora's Star for his Commonwealth Saga. An astronomer observes two stars that were suspected Dyson spheres. All emissions are instantaneously cut off, so he buys time on another telescope light-years away to verify the same moment in time.

Operation Ark was about finding a distant enough colony that their emissions would take millennia to reach the Gbaba, and then hiding long enough that any scouts would move past the colony. Langhorne's modifications merely extend that: no emissions, ever. The scouts are the primary threat, because they're looking for emissions that are only a few years old at best. Time and the inverse-square law are their biggest protection from future detection from within in Gbaba space.

The problem with building a moon is that you don't have millions of years to wait for it to form out of a mass of rock. You need to move ‎7.342×10^22kg of mass (e.g. Luna) to one location, and then use external forces to effectively condense all of that mass. That generates a ridiculous amount of heat, which would take centuries to radiate away. To say nothing of the energy that'd be radiated during the attempt itself. It'd also take a great deal of time, and we know that Safehold only took a few decades (at most) to terraform.

They could build a hollow moon, I suppose, but there's a problem with that as well. The Gbaba could measure the moon's moment of intertia which would make it abundantly obvious that it's an artificial body. And then they have to look more closely. Or their scouts could just compare their new data to older scan data. Is there a major difference? Plus, building a Dahak or just a regular 'ol hollow moon would require extensive space-based industry. The same sort of industry that sets off a warning flag. If they were going to do that, they'd never have bothered with reverting to a pre-technical society to begin with.

Compared to those energies, the energy and waste heat of terraforming operations (as well as their ships) would be minimal. The TF didn't shift Safehold's orbit. They didn't try to build up or modify an atmosphere, add mass, reshape the crust, or anything else like that. For the most part, they had a perfectly usable Earth-similar planet and just had to modify its biosphere. If they really wanted a moon for whatever reason, they'd just reject the system and move on. Apparently, habitable planets are common enough in the Safehold universe.

The original Operation Ark wasn't about eliminating *any* risk of detection whatsoever. It was just about minimizing it during the critical period when they expected Gbaba scouts to be searching for any escaped humans. Escape the threat of an active search in the first ~500 years (OAR), and don't worry about passive detection in the centuries or millennia or two after that. By the time the Gbaba discovered the humans (if they ever did), the colony would have had centuries to build up a population and space presence that would have made even the TF look positively parochial.

At least, that was the plan until Langhorne screwed it up. On the plus side, we wound up with a much more interesting story as a result.


Yes, agreed. In fact, I thought that was what I said.

I do think that - in fixating on building a moon, which was originally a joking aside - we are missing an important point about Safehold.

Which is, that Safehold is exactly as far away from the Gbaba as it needs to be, and the original colonisers had exactly the right stealth technology needed to hide its emissions for just long enough.

Because that's part of the story's premise.

And it has one moon. Apparently that's part of the story's premise.

Now if, for some reason, RFC needs an artificial moon to tell his story, then the Federation's stealth tech will not only be so good it can hide an entire colonising fleet (Off Armageddon Reef), it will be good enough to cloak the heat emissions of moon-building. Which I think would be about equivalent to three or four days of the sun's total output, so I do hope Shan Wei was smart enough to not try and do this all in one go.

Personally, I'd say the major problem would be not so much the heat - we know the Federation can hide a certain amount of heat emissions, because they have to do that for their ships. It's the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and general strain on Safehold itself that would result from the new moon's gravitational pull. I think that might be just a tiny inconvenience for the people doing the terraforming. :twisted:

Anyway - what I am really interested in is not the exact energy required to shift moon sized objects, or how you'd cope with the thing taking a lot longer than the eight years of terraforming to cool down. All of that can be sorted with sufficient handwavium ('stealth technology' is such a useful phrase) and/or infodumps.

What I'm interested in is, firstly, WHY Safehold only has one moon. And, it seems, a moon large enough to give noticeable tides. Of the three planets in our solar system that approximate Earth, only Earth has a moon that big. Is it simple coincidence? Were they looking for a world with a big moon, because humans evolved on such a world - and they wanted to avoid any potential medical problems that might result from the lack of a moon? Is it simply because RFC needed tides?

Secondly, and mainly, if I were someone convinced that Langhorne and Bedard were wrong; that technology would return - I'd be thinking if there were some way to hide stuff on that Moon. Because if Langhorne's plan succeeded to the extent that Safehold did lose all knowledge of the Gbaba, and then failed to the extent that technology returned - early Safeholdian space farers would head for that moon.

Would the bombardment system be programmed to attack? Is the moon part of the bombardment system? Is there a tech cache hidden in it?

Etcetera.

As I say, every time I read about that Safeholdian moon, it reminds me of Dahak. Something about it is just niggling me...
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by n7axw   » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:37 pm

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Humm...just went out and looked at the moon...wonder what's really up there...could be a part of a deep state plot! How nefarious :mrgreen:

Don

-
When any group seeks political power in God's name, both religion and politics are instantly corrupted.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Joat42   » Sat Aug 04, 2018 8:58 pm

Joat42
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:01 am
Location: Sweden

n7axw wrote:Humm...just went out and looked at the moon...wonder what's really up there...could be a part of a deep state plot! How nefarious :mrgreen:

Don

-

You forgot to wave at Dahak! ;)

---
Jack of all trades and destructive tinkerer.


Anyone who have simple solutions for complex problems is a fool.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by jlrice54   » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:01 am

jlrice54
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:30 am

Dilandu wrote:
jlrice54 wrote:
1. If you are really deeply hiding from the Gbaba you don't even want a powered down hulk of a ship orbiting a plant you are hiding on. Too easily spotted on even a cursory survey of the planet.


Exactly how? Powered-down ship on comet trajectory could be distinguished from asteroid only by visual observation. And if Gbaba spend their time inspecting all asteroids in all star systems, then they hardly would be a threat for Safeholdian (too busy counting asteroids, you know)

Moreover, the text mentioned that the initial plan of the expedition assumed that several powered-down ships would be put on comet trajectories in Safehold system to serve as examples for future generations - when Safeholdians would re-invent space travels, they would found those ships and use them as markers of "what tech level we should go past to overcame Gbaba".

2. All orbits eventually decay unless there is a way to boost back to the proper orbital velocity and you wouldn't want something that sized making an uncontrolled reentry. The OBS doesn't apply because it is actively solar powered and I assume has propulsive ability to maintain it's orbit.


There are Lagrange points, which are pretty stable. Or just comet orbits in outer system.


All good points. But if leaving those ships in solar orbit wasn't acceptable to Langhorne according to what Commodore Pei's recorded message to Nimue implied, I suspect leaving them floating around in-system wasn't high on Chihiro's things to do list either. Since he strikes me as more fanatical than even Langhorne himself, I don't think he would be leaving that kind of evidence to be discovered.

Plus exactly what kind of sensors the Gbaba used was never stated specifically by RFC, just that their tech level had been stagnant for millenniums and that the Federation had almost caught up to them by the end. I'm not going to rule out the Gbaba possessing instrumentation that could discriminate between a nickle-iron asteroid and a unpowered starship composed of advanced alloys and composite materials from a considerable distance.

Playing Shan-Wei's advocated as usual.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Annachie   » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:48 am

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Why does Safehold have exactly one earth type moon?

It simplifies the tides for the author. Not to mention allows for moonlit night adventures.

As far as Langhorne is concerned, no moon at all would be much better. So much of scientific history starts with the moon.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You are so going to die. :p ~~~~ runsforcelery
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
still not dead. :)
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by runsforcelery   » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:31 am

runsforcelery
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Annachie wrote:Why does Safehold have exactly one earth type moon?

It simplifies the tides for the author. Not to mention allows for moonlit night adventures.

As far as Langhorne is concerned, no moon at all would be much better. So much of scientific history starts with the moon.


I should, perhaps, point out that while Luna is, indeed, a large moon, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, and (I think) Io are all larger and Europa's diameter is within maybe 200-300 kilometers of Luna's. Luna is, indeed, much larger than Deimos or Phobos (which are probably captured asteroids), and that makes it the Titan (you should pardon the word choice) of the inner-system moons, but it's hardly the biggest one around.

And I ain't saying if anything got built on, around, or into Safehold's moon. So there. :P :P


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Daryl   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:13 am

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Another Dahak? Just kidding.
runsforcelery wrote:
Annachie wrote:Why does Safehold have exactly one earth type moon?

It simplifies the tides for the author. Not to mention allows for moonlit night adventures.

As far as Langhorne is concerned, no moon at all would be much better. So much of scientific history starts with the moon.


I should, perhaps, point out that while Luna is, indeed, a large moon, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, and (I think) Io are all larger and Europa's diameter is within maybe 200-300 kilometers of Luna's. Luna is, indeed, much larger than Deimos or Phobos (which are probably captured asteroids), and that makes it the Titan (you should pardon the word choice) of the inner-system moons, but it's hardly the biggest one around.

And I ain't saying if anything got built on, around, or into Safehold's moon. So there. :P :P
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Kael Posavatz   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:42 am

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Posts: 97
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:51 am

That or everyone's favorite (or not favorite) not-really-a-fallen-archangel-even-if-some-think-otherwise built a secret base where not even the Inquisition could find it.

I mean, if the original plan was to leave an inert cruiser tumbling around in the asteroid belt as a tech-booster, burying something in a moon is a pretty good backup. It's worked before. :D

Daryl wrote:Another Dahak? Just kidding.
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Re: The Dawn Star and Chihiro
Post by Kael Posavatz   » Mon Aug 06, 2018 11:05 am

Kael Posavatz
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:51 am

jlrice54 wrote:Plus exactly what kind of sensors the Gbaba used was never stated specifically by RFC, just that their tech level had been stagnant for millenniums and that the Federation had almost caught up to them by the end. I'm not going to rule out the Gbaba possessing instrumentation that could discriminate between a nickle-iron asteroid and a unpowered starship composed of advanced alloys and composite materials from a considerable distance.


I don't recall it ever being stated how close the Federation was to tech-equivalency with the Gbaba. I don't have OAR in front of me, but as I recall the conversation it was to the effect of the Federation being only a few decades away from the point of being able to flatten the Gbaba's red-army-technique/quantity-is-quality navy.
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