Monday, October 19, 2015

The Enzmann Starship: History and Engineering Appraisal

JBIS, Vol. 65,, 2012

Icarus Interstellar, 20 Downlands Place, Boondall, QLD 4034, Australia.
Email: acrowl@icarusinterstellar.org1, 2. kelvin.long@tesco.net2 and robousy@icarusinterstellar.org3

This paper was presented at the British Interplanetary Society
symposium “World Ships - The Long Journey to the Stars”, 17
August 2011.

During his student days Robert Duncan-Enzmann imagined a space vehicle design which he depicted in a watercolour painting and apparently dated 1949. In the 1960s he was heavily involved in space-mission design and introduced the concept of a fusion powered interstellar spacecraft design which utilised a 305 m diameter sphere of frozen Deuterium and a long cylindrical habitat/propulsion section joined onto it by a connecting structural column. The spacecraft was to be manned by a small community of people setting out to colonise nearby stars and the entire vessel would have a launch mass of between 3-12 million tons, most of which would be the propellant. Long time space advocate G. Harry Stine, presented the concept to
a wider audience via “Analog Science Fact & Science Fiction” magazine in 1973. Stine envisioned the Starship to be part of a wider programme of interstellar exploration, beginning in the 1990s. Although the Enzmann Starship is relatively well known in science fiction circles, it is not well known within the interstellar research community and indeed just as little is known about its creator, Robert Enzmann. Very little has been written about the concept in the academic literature and no modern assessment of its engineering credibility exists. This paper sets out to reliably describe what is known about the Enzmann Starship design and also how the idea originated, based upon what is known to date. In this paper the engineering configuration is described, and a performance assessment is given in the context of modern scientific knowledge. Further information on the history and design of the Enzmann Starship is invited so that this concept can take its rightful place in the history of interstellar spacecraft design proposals.

A review of modern textbooks on interstellar travel will find little mention of the Enzmann Starship design, a surprise to the authors of this paper given its ingenuity. However, a review of
science fiction internet sources will reveal more about this wonderful concept, which was first proposed by the American Dr Robert Duncan-Enzmann. Little is known about Enzmann except that he was an MIT Professor and an employee of Raytheon Corporation. He is the fourth pioneering Robert in the field of interstellar research, the other three being Robert Bussard, Robert Forward and Robert Frisbee and he deserves as much credit for his idea. In realising the dearth of information on this concept it was decided to perform a literature research and to then write up a summary of the results, describing the engineering design and the history behind its development. This paper is the result of this effort which took over a year. It is the intention of this paper to provide greater awareness of the idea, within the technical science community, and if other authors have information of relevance this is invited.

If the 1960s were the golden age of human space exploration, then the 1970s and 1980s was the golden age of interstellar Starship design. During this period many colourful and original concepts were generated including a number of fusion based propulsion designs such as Project Daedalus [1] and the Bussard interstellar ramjet [2]. It is in this context that the Enzmann Starship was also turned into a credible engineering concept, a period in history where scientists began to apply rigorous engineering methods to speculative proposals as a way of answering fundamental questions about our universe and the possibility of intelligent life.

In writing this paper the authors have attempted to assemble data on the Enzmann Starship wherever possible, including contacting individuals (Robert Enzmann, Don Davis, Rick Sternbach) involved with its early development. We first discuss what is known about the history of the idea. We then give an overview of the concept, its configuration layout and claimed
performance. We then discuss some follow up proposals to use the Enzmann Starship for a wide scale program of interstellar colonisation. Finally, we provide an engineering assessment of the proposal in the context of four decades of subsequent research. It is the hope that this paper will reveal more about this unique idea and perhaps advance it to a more credible level.

In personal communications [3] to the authors of this paper Robert Enzmann says that he developed an interest in space flight during his very early school days, and he imagined the distinctive configuration for the space vehicle on the 6th August 1945 during the WW2 bombing of Japan. He constructed paintings of the idea back then and one of which is shown in Fig. 1 dated 1949. These authors are unsure if this is meant to be “1969”.

Fig. 1 Enzmann Starship Painting (1949) by Robert Enzmann.

It is claimed by several sources, in particular internet based, that a report was submitted to the New York Academy of Sciences as early as 1964 detailing the idea although an extensive literature research by these authors has revealed no such reports in existence. Subsequent authors have claimed that the Enzmann Starship was referenced in the book ‘Journey to Alpha Centauri’ by John McVey [4], however, searching this book and the later 1969 republished version has found no specific reference to Enzmann, although the book does discuss century long missions to Alpha Centauri. Enzmann also submitted several papers relating to ‘Mission Planning’ to the New York Academy of sciences in 1966 although these were not pertaining to Starships [5]. Although the article contains little technical information on the proposal, it is worth noting that in the 1960s America was in the full swing of Project Apollo and
indeed landed on the Moon in 1969. Enzmann says that he took inspiration from these events and was committed to humanity making its first steps towards the stars. It is the view of these
authors that it was during the mid-1960s that the idea for the Enzmann Starship probably began to crystallise in the mind of Robert Enzmann, although he had the idea much earlier.

During 1972 the original concept for the Starship was modified in collaboration with the space artists Don Davis and Rick Sternbach [6, 7]. In particular the original eight engine design was changed to a 24 engine design and the modular sections were made such that they could be split off from the main vehicle. The new design also depicted smaller spheres and the nested toroids at intervals along the hull, was to allow the ship to split up into as many as three separate ships once a primary destination had been reached. The torus became something of an all-around connecting shape, able to latch onto most any other module, along with the engines. This would require significant undocking and redockings of the component parts. The ability to rearrange modules would also afford the expedition an added degree of safety in the event of a problem that prevented a complete ship from completing the journey. Sternbach, Dixon and Enzmann initiated, in those 1972 discussions, the idea that parts from a disabled vehicle could be added
to a healthy one, and the trip could continue, albeit at some cost in time and velocity. These creators also discussed the possibility of a dedicated tanker ship, but it never went anywhere; due to the issue of having to push not only the fuel for itself, but for the other ships. At the same time Sternbach, Dixon and Enzmann worked to further develop the design and produce illustrations of the concept, which included spraying metallic plasma onto a balloon which mimicked the appearance of the Deuterium sphere. Sternbach experimented with a number of different shapes, volumes and masses to finally evolve the 24 engine configuration. Sternbach reports in personal correspondence [7] that the idea for the metal plasma fuel sphere fabrication
may have come from Richard Hoagland, who had been discussing the technique not only for big metal spheres, but also for enormous telescope mirrors.

Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann, designer of the Enzmann Starship

physicist, scientist,  astronomer, geologist, archaeologist, historian, linguist, medical doctor

British Embassy School, Peking, China; Univ. London; WW II USN, AC; RN, AB Harvard; ScB Hon., London; Standard, MSc, Witwatersrand; Nat Sci Scholar; MIT course work; Royal Inst. Uppsala Swed.; PhD/MD Cuidad Juarez, Mex.; Pacific Radar: Greenland Gap-filler, Canada DEW-line; SAGE; Pacific PRESS; California ATLAS, BMEWS;  ICBM; Kwajalein Atoll ICBM intercept; TRADEX; Mars Voyager; Cryptography.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Food for “Starlings”: nutritious and delicious

Some of Dr. Duncan-Enzmann's considerations of what long-passage travelers would eat 
while in space, especially on colonizing missions. 
From the Duncan-Enzmann Archives 
Not for the birds

  • Not worms, but standard foods comparable to those eaten by Earthlings
  • Starship as a soaring ark (need to take various edible living creatures to populate a new world)
  • Comparison with food available to current astronauts
  • Diets designed to satisfy nutritional requirements
  • Far more healthful and satisfying than the meals served to voyagers aboard the Mayflower, and better than those consumed by many people today

Crucial Importance of Nutrition
Especially important for voyagers on difficult missions aimed at colonizing distant worlds
  • To promote well-being
  • To maximize work efficiency
  • To diminish sickness
  • To increase longevity

Fuel for Human Propulsion

  • Input, thru-put, output - stages of metabolism: anabolism and catabolism
  • Counting calories -caloric requirements
  • Weighed in the balances -rations of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in balanced diets
  • Gambling in the amino casino - with either incomplete proteins that are deficient in at least one of the eight essential amino acids, or supplementation with ‘free-form’ or peptide-borded amino acids
  • Marathoners ‘carbo-loading’ - importance of complex carbohydrates in healthful diets
  • Not all fats are created equal - good fats and bad fats: needs and dangers
  • Overfed and under nourished: typical American diet
  • To each according to his/her needs
  • Individual differences in vitamin and mineral requirements
  • A plurality of golden means
  • One man’s meat…
  • Fluids and fiber
  • Dangers of dietary excesses and deficiencies
  • Water: Liquid fuel

Recycled but ‘ideal’

  • Purified processed urine: as good as new
  • Reverse osmosis produces ideal drinking water as judged in terms of three parameters and as measured by the Vincent Machine
  • Wide range of drinks made from powdered formulas

Interstellar Dining

  • For gourmets, not gourmands - neither fasting nor feasting, but enjoyment of a variety or carefully prepared natural foods
  • Almost a smorgasbord - (opportunities for choice to satisfy individual preferences and to provide variety
  • Catering to preferences - tastiness, not just palatability
  • Fresh from the garden, no raw deal - a wide range of plentiful vegetables, fiber
  • No grain drain - plenty of grain, though nothing corny; criteria: height, yield, maturity
  • Something to crow about - chickens and their eggs
  • Of rabbits and rats - but no turkeys
  • Even pigs and dwarf cattle
  • Soy milk: replacement of the udder drink - the only rationale for putting cows in space might to be fire the first herd shot around the world.  (No corn in space??)
  • Pollen: from stingless bees in mini-hives
  • Fruits are for Earthlings - except for an occasional tree spree: fruits from dwarf citrus trees
  • No lakes for fishing (though could take along some powdered Omega 3
  • Supplementation with nutritious flavored powders
  • Spice is the variety of life - spectrum of different flavorings, textures, etc. 

Later Starships: A Variety of Menus

  • Expansion of modest variety offered by the first starship
  • Three representative menus
  • Vegetarians’ delight
  • Chicken and eggs
  • Longevity option
  • For health nuts who refuse to emulate fast food freaks
  • The ‘Grim Reaper’ – harvests beyond the fields of the earth
  • Not suspended animation but extended animation - eating properly and traveling faster; two ways to slow the aging process 
  • Especially important on a starship
  • Slim and trim; under-nutrition without malnutrition - emphasis on complex carbohydrates; measured mega-doses of specific nutrients 
  • Exotic products: production of ‘food vitamins’ and antioxidant enzymes
  • Supplements - chemical substances that are neither vitamins nor minerals, but have recognized benefits 

Catastrophe insurance: Freeze-dried powder

  • Manna from heaven - each morning, daily portion of nutritious food, provisions for many years 
  • A pound a day - designed to meet all know n nutritional needs: calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll, fiber, etc. 
  • Keeping the powder dry - no proclivity to rancidity (like an Egyptian mummy – pressed for time)
  • Taking a powder
  • Mixture with equal amount of water
  • Diverse flavorings - need a gourmet cook for all seasonings
  • Five formulas

Food for thought: Manifest Destiny

  • Colonists: if pushed by their food, pulled by their expectations of exploration and colonization
  • Crew members: likewise, pulled by expectations of exploration, also, of life extension by traveling at relativistic speeds (as  well as by longevity diets)
  • Motivation for deferred gratification, if starship food at times seems to be only adequate rather than optimal

Other related topics covered in Duncan-Enzmann’s Archive:

  • Farming in Space - raising crops and animals 
  • Eating at relativistic speeds - effects on metabolism, etc. 
  • Importance of considering degree of hardiness and distinctive eating habits - e.g. enjoying foods of the kinds most readily raised on starships - when selecting crew members
  • Dining halls and restaurants aboard starships
  • Timing of meals - with no sun available for a 24 hour day;  circadium of rhythms in space
  • Establishing agriculture on a landfall and on different types of landfalls
  • Any danger of food allergies? Even people who lack food allergies can sometimes develop them from eating large amounts of the same food repeatedly (e.g. chicken)
  • Organisms to take in the interstellar ark - though focus on certain organisms for food production, take representatives of various species for populating new worlds,  and have occasional meals when they reproduce excessively 

This information has been compiled and published here by Michelle Snyder of White Knight Studio with permission from and in honor of Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann.

Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann, designer of the Enzmann Starship
physicist, scientist,  astronomer, geologist, archaeologist, historian, linguist, medical doctor

British Embassy School, Peking, China; Univ. London; WW II USN, AC; RN, AB Harvard; ScB Hon., London; Standard, MSc, Witwatersrand; Nat Sci Scholar; MIT course work; Royal Inst. Uppsala Swed.; PhD/MD Cuidad Juarez, Mex.; Pacific Radar: Greenland Gap-filler, Canada DEW-line; SAGE; Pacific PRESS; California ATLAS, BMEWS;  ICBM; Kwajalein Atoll ICBM intercept; TRADEX; Mars Voyager; Cryptography.