Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Echo-Lance Starships

Excerpt from Starships Now!!! 
 by Robert Duncan-Enzmann

Prologue: Let the Wagons Roll
Jewel Box Star Cluster

Wagon Train: Out of the Night, Into the Light

The Infinite Ocean of interstellar space, an infinite sea,  
is without knowable boundaries.  

Stupidity, President Grey, along with other national leader’s “Great Boondoggle.” More Government make-work projects. Oh sure, Yes, and Yes, it was done by private industry - but who financed the Hungry Horse aerospace venture? The taxpayers - of course. A big fanfare send off; interesting to begin with,  tapering through less-and-less communication, into a nothingness - silence from one, two, then all of the ships.

What happened?
Who, knows.
All too soon.
Not much of anyone cares.
Over thirty years most everyone forgets.

Lagoons of Light
That was then. This is now. Thirty years passed in silence, and then? News! From one, two, then the three ships that sailed together:
Success, a song of success in aces,
We landed, here's where!
Just look at these places.
Sweet success, we refueled - here's how!
Watch the videos.
We're coming home!
Yes, we were cut off,
Here's what happened.
Return takes another twenty years. That’s a generation on Earth. It’s another two decades ago, added to thirty years already passed by; a bit over a half a century has passed on Earth. For the explorers, only a few years have passed. Starship voyagers are, in ways, blessed; in other ways, cursed when cruising at full speed between the stars, where, for them, time dilation slows - almost stops - the passage of time. Their communication continues:

This is what happened to cut us off, 
It will happen again. 
But once through that region 
You will hear us loud and clear! 
And, yes, before you ask, 
We talk with each other, 
Except there.

Twenty years out. Several years of communication before the mid course black-out. What Earth hears fires imaginations, an effort that slowed-down but never really stopped accelerates into a planetary boom.

Here we must digress for moments to repeat what every generation seems to relearn:


How easily the utterly obvious is overlooked. One politician after another bemoans the fact that 90% support 10%; with industrialization, 40% support 60%;  then automation begins, develops, and expands, until 5% can easily support 95%.  Why bemoan and worry the World?

Not politicians, but visionaries electrify, fire imaginations, galvanize the potential work force, which “mobilizes itself” and Earth’s industries roar-as never before.
Four words by an astute politician mark a watershed:


Only five, mankind’s first explorers, casted off a long half century ago. Two ships that sailed, each to a different destination stellar landfall alone, now at last are back home.

Three Echolances that sailed together at these very moments exit the timeless seas of no-when, where time for them slows so much it almost stops.  In no-when, decades, even centuries may pass for us on Earth, but aboard the starships? At most only days for the voyagers.

Three Echolances that sailed alone, each to explore a potential New Earth, have returned.  All three modestly successful; they return with gold. All three are docked, being repaired, refurbished, and their relatively small crews trade, and their officers negotiate with colonists.

The fleet:  Rainbow, Glory, and Aurora. Their explorations about the Jewel Box Star Cluster are a  resounding success.  Even as they approach Earth, their officers negotiate with a huge Wagon Train  they will guide to and about the Jewel Box of many-colored stars and a number of habitable planets.  One is especially so - in fact it seems nicer than Earth itself.

This is the beginning. Mankind, at the very edge of the interstellar sea, knows only a little about what lies out there.  So far mankind has succeeded only in finding some promising landfall.

To date we know only of us. Lone explorers Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and the Rainbow, Glory, Aurora fleet have found occasion vegetation; but no intelligences, no signals, nor any animals - only some algae, lichen,  moss, and fungus-like vegetations.

And fortunately have found no dreadful virii, bacteria, or other pathogens.  It’s sort of sterile out there.

And so I ask:  What  do we really know about much of anything out there? A great adventure of discovery is waiting.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

This is a Call to Action

From the papers of Doc E:

Let us set out for the stars at once. Let us do it during this generation. There is no need to wait. It is not just pointless to have humanity wait for centuries before setting out new worlds with immeasurable resources which wait unused, it is a wantonly cruel waste. How cruel we are toward one another, confined to this planet, contending with one another.

How gentle are rabbits and doves in the wild. When doves or rabbits are uncomfortably crowded together they are crueler to each other than the naturally more vicious carnivores such as lynxes, European wild cats, or wolves. They were not meant to be closely caged. They must be housed comfortably or allowed to live free.

The cruelest things that happen to humans are almost always perpetrated upon them by other people. As people are overcrowded, their needs, wants, and anxieties increase - this seems to turn them against one another. 

The World is vast, but already for a few it is grossly overcrowded. The proportion of humanity for which the World feels - and indeed is - overcrowded increases as population pressure increases. The writer has worked to conserve wild lands and has worked extensively to protect endangered species of animals and plants.

The world I was born into was different. Herds of hundreds of thousands, even millions of creatures roamed about Africa, parts of Asia, and even South America  Now they are all gone. Wild lands are conserved; but how empty I feel, for in these conserved lands it is illegal to gather fallen logs with which to build fires. Not many decades ago one could build camp-fires, and sleep on an aromatic bed-of-boughs.

This should not be done anymore. There are not enough balsam trees for campers to vandalize them by cutting a bed-of-boughs. The World is more crowded, and becoming ever more so. We must think more and more of each other, and those hereafter. 

This is a call for action. This is a call to implement Robert Goddard's new frontier for mankind. We need the space, the freedom, the new lands, the possibilities of adventure, the resources.

Aesar is a torch. How I would love to carry it outward along mankind's first lap of our inevitable movement out to the stars.

Spheres along a keel
Crane Frame as a lander
Power plant
Beam Drive
Auxiliary Craft, Orbital Probes, Lander Rovers

Excerpt from an old letter written by Sean requesting that Doc E be invited as a speaker.  
Doc E's travels and experience are of interest. He has traveled from Peking to England eight times, five times by the Trans-Siberian railway. He has four years of active combat duty in WW II. He has degrees in engineering, medicine, and law. He has experience as a geologist and mining engineer in Africa,  Greenland, Asia, and Swedish Asian expeditions; taught physics and math; and done systems level work in many places and fields. He has war stories of great success, a lot of radar experience, and interesting tales of foreign lands. He has an excellent feel for history. 
From the Doc himself, printed on a dot-matrix printer, not dated:

I was born in Peking, China at a time just before the electrification of the city, and just before the introduction of the motor car, as we called it. Living there at that time was like living in the middle 1800's in the United States. The school teacher we had for kindergarten and first grade had spent most of her life in China and India.  She was in her eighties. She in turn had been educated in the colonies, by a lady in her eighties. She totally ruled the attitudes of the school. What it conveyed to us was much of the attitude that prevailed in the late 1700's and early 1800's. She taught reading, writing, composition  arithmetic strongly emphasizing mental computations, history, and geography with very strong emphasis upon navigation (of sailing ships), and astronomy. I loved the school, and today I treasure the attitudes as well as the thoroughly taught curriculum.

I can technologically see a little further into the immediate future than can the average scientist this 20th century. I thrill to the promise of the soon-coming age of interstellar flight. I find parallels in the pleasure and excitements I lived through in Europe, Asia, and even America with the coming of carriages with comfortable compartments and springs (in the USA a few people grasp what the connotation of "body by Fisher" means), who can remember running out into the street to see automobiles? Who remembers the beautiful musical drone of mail planes in the 1920's, and think trains only averaged 18 to perhaps 22 miles per hour in traversing the Trans Siberian system? Yet it was a perfectly wonderful, comfortable, clean and pleasant trip.

Very soon the nations with most advanced technologies, then moments later all nations of the Earth, will thunder outward into an endless, boundless new physical frontier.

A few among us today have met - and perhaps are of the breed with the far away "frontier look" in his eye. You can't fake it. You know it if you have seen it. It is a sort of longing for, and compulsion to go and see, what is over the horizon. Of course, the land over the horizon must be new and un-trodden by other men, at least for a long, long time. I lived on the last of the old frontiers. They were in Africa when there were still herds of tens of thousand of animals, and in Buffinland of the Canadian Arctics. I will in all likely-hood live to see mankind surge outward into the new physical frontier of interstellar space.

So many ask: "Can humans ever be expected to work together toward a common goal for generations?" What a silly question. We have always been doing just that. We plant forests, we build ever better roads, we build vast canal systems, universally we practice conservation of mining resources and proration of oils.

It has been wonderful living in the last days of the old technology when blacksmiths made horseshoes, when we saved nails so the the blacksmith could hammer them into a lump of iron and then into something like a horseshoe  a hinge, or even kitchenware, if he felt artistic and had time. The strip mills of Saugus Iron Works have given birth to the rolling mills, and those precision machines, the drop forges. One of the most interesting things I saw as a child was a forge-master lace his gold watch upon the bed of a forge, then send the hammer  thundering downward toward it. It would end up so close to the crystal face of his watch that you could not place a bit of cardboard between the watch and the drop hammer.

I want to see wagon trains departing from Earth, taking people to the stars. Hopefully, all people everywhere who so wish, will find this road open. Consider what has happened so very recently: carriages, railways, and then iron horses, motor cars, airplanes  fleets of ocean liners now replaced by Boeing 747 and airbus fleets, supertankers of almost one million tons displacement ply the oceans of the world regularly. Space shuttles from the United States enter close Earth orbit, and in no time at all French, Japanese, Russian, and other shuttle fleets will follow.

There is talk of beam "weapons" positioned upon satellites to protect them. Please look at them again: look, think, and delight in the fact that these beams are what will propel men, women, and children out into the new frontier. It is exceedingly doubtful that there will be anything like a great nuclear war.

From the editor:
As Doc E's friend and colleague of many decades I am still impressed, and a bit awed by his accomplishments and intelligence. I cannot help but ask myself - why didn't we listen to him then? When it was still possible for our country to take a strong position in the space industry? When people were excited and dreamed about what space was like. When volunteers were numerous. What were we waiting for? His expertise would have guided us out to new worlds. He designed ships that could go. He wanted to go.

And even if it meant never knowing him myself, I would rather we had listened. There were others like him, and with their efforts this world would have been a different place. A better place. With neighbors in higher places.

We will continue to publish his writing, his work, his dreams; be inspired. Don't wait. Make 2013 a grand new beginning, or the start of a grand finale. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pioneering Crews and Passengers

I found this article pasted up among Doc E's papers. Don't know what it was published in, or when:

Orion Passage
"On page 12 of your September issue, Philip Chien says about the Orion rocket project that  'it's hard to believe anyone would want to risk riding a spacecraft pushed by nuclear explosions.'  Given the choice between going to the Moon or Mars on an Orion vehicle or into low Earth orbit on the Shuttle, sign me up for the Orion, for safety reasons alone.

Incidentally, tell Chien that SALT I didn't kill Orion. Orion was done in by the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1967. SALT I was just another nail in the coffin."

                                                                     Robert Page Burrus, Washington D.C.

Courageous Volunteers, and Explorers by Doc. E.

Many people are compelled to explore, sometimes at great personal risk, and sometimes with the end being almost certain personal destruction. The public forever patronizes and supports with enthusiasm an endless variety of hazardous sports, including tight rope walking, sword swallowers, fakirs  demolition derbys, cliff diving, and many others.

Many more people are compelled to place themselves at risk, or even sacrifice themselves for others. This attitude has always received the highest accolades in all societies. Sometimes such hazardings or sacrifices are misdirected, more often they are not. What is wonderful about them is the devotion to others.

The space efforts of the 1960's and 1970's brought endless inquiries from highly competent men and women who wished to volunteer for one way missions. NASA, of course, never accepted them; but should the matter have been more seriously considered? One man could easily make a trip to one of the moons of Mars, establish a station, and with any kind of competence and perhaps a little luck survive for at least five years on stores brought on the first voyage. Would not such a station be an inspiration to all of us? Would it not inspire "interplanetary care packages," and perhaps even a series of small supporting missions - some manned, and some unmanned? After a few years of these it might well be possible for the volunteers to make the return trip.

The Nuclear-Pulse rockets designed and built in the 1950's could easily have been upgraded for a one-man, one way fly-by of several of the stars near the Sun. The public would probably be surprised at how many men volunteered during feasibility studies of unmanned interstellar probes to serve as the guiding robot, thus saving much weight, reducing fuel requirements, and increasing reliability of the system.

To be sure, NASA policies then and now seem diametrically against such one way missions; but are the objections valid? They do grip the imagination; there have always been such men. There always will be. Wouldn't it be a magnificent way for a talented, reasonably fit scientist-astronaut in his 60's or 70's to retire? An example that comes to the writer's mind is of the doctor who, against all advice, built the first heart catheter, then tried it quite successfully and without harm - on himself! Are we so jaded in the United States that we can no longer understand that men leaving on such expeditions might enjoy both the departure, and every bit of the trip? Daniel Boone would have understood. His foot slogging expeditions did not climax on the River Platte;  he once wintered in the Yosemite,  and very probably reached the Great Waters of the Pacific.

Drawings of the Torch by Pangman: