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Spaceship refueling package

Quickly while our resources last.
  [vote for,

For the inevitable time when we go beyond our solar system and into to space NASA or some other space program should start sending "packets" of some of the things that space explorers need to survive ahead to some of the places that look like they might be interesting to visit.

On these small unmanned spacecraft should be stocked up with things that will last a few thousand years such as extremely long life food some of the things found in Egyptian tombs or twinkies may be appropriate, a few different kinds of fuel that they think that future spaceships may be powered by and other essentials like condoms, gaffer tape (incase the roof racks have come loose on their galaxy cruiser) and the whole series of the simpsons, (you think a 24 hour flight from sydney to london is boring trying a 24 thousand year flight from earth to the outer reaches of the galaxy!)

If we start sending these space survival kits out into the universe we might save billions of dollars in interstellar trade (the value of the earth dollar is nothing against other interstellar currencies and the systems that we can afford to trade with cant offer us anything anyway.)

As long as we keep sending out these things it won't matter how long it takes us to develop ships that can travel to the outer reaches because the longer it takes us the further the packages have travelled and the further we can travel out while having a bit of back up help from the people of the past.

Gulherme, Apr 07 2003


       Wanted: Volunteers to explore space.
Drawbacks: 24,000 year one-way ticket.
Benefits: Twinkies, Condoms, and the Tao of D'oh.
Don Quixote, Apr 07 2003

       //the longer it takes us the further the packages have travelled and the further we can travel out//
We would need to travel more quickly than the packages, otherwise we'd never catch them, so there would come a point when the whole idea falls over. (Incidentally, you're assuming that we'd be able to find the stuff in the first place.)
angel, Apr 07 2003

       Well there is no reason that this stuff needs to travel quickly because there is no hurry for it to get anywhere, and as long as its going in a straight line then it should be easy to calculate about where it is as long as there is a rechord of the speed and direction of every one sent out.
Gulherme, Apr 07 2003

       "...as long as its going in a straight line..."
Straight line to *where*?

       Aside from that, thanks for the chuckle.
phoenix, Apr 07 2003

       You've got to be in the right place at the right time at the right velocity and heading. There are two ways to achieve that:   

       (1) Accelerate the package very very rapidly to coincide with the passing ship. An error, however small, could be equivalent to a Stinger missile up the tail of a Tornado.   

       (2) Launch the package attached to or as part of the ship. Like they do already.   

       Option two uses less energy and avoids the need for a "Sorry!" Gesture.
FloridaManatee, Apr 07 2003

       OR, send the packages out to orbit a planet. Orbits are very simple to do, and very high orbits can last a very mong time. I think these should be like small space stations, with larger stations every so often. Whilst exploration is a good idea, its a better idea to be able to get back again, and survive the journey.
miasere, Apr 07 2003

       Yes orbits are a good idea, but if they just keep crusing out into space at a nice even pace, not really reaching huge speeds it should be easy for ships of the future to retrieve them when needed. Imagine if you will its the year 3003 and humans are begining to explore the galaxy. On a ship that has been traveling for years somthing unexpectedly goes wrong and they are saved when they find that there is help close by in the form of a spaceship refueling package.   

       Ofcorse these packages are inevitebly populated by parasitic alien spores that grow inside you and burst out of your chest at the worst possible time, take control of your ship and make a b-line for earth so they can destroy the whole human race. But their dreams of universal domination uausally come to nil as there is always some hardarse half alien half human hybrid with big guns and an imunity to the aliens acidic saliva there to save the day.
Gulherme, Apr 07 2003

       I wouldnt joke about that - The main problem with long-term space travel is ventilation - bacteria can be picked up in minute quantities and lives in sweat on astonaughts. Because the space stations are very poorly ventilated, most spilt liquids, sweat etc tend to collect in the same places. These then can grow, and over time could pose a serious problem.
miasere, Apr 07 2003

       While I think your idea may not be good for interstellar flight , they would be usefull for short range flight such as to the moon or mars. Personally i think the way Bush and NASA are planning to goto Mars is far too shortsighted. If it were me the first thing id do is explorer the Moon for resourses there (unmanned drones). If there are resourses there they could be used to creat a real International Space Station (not the toy they have floating in orbit now). A spacestation that would be large enough to be able to grow their own food and with a large enough Biosphere to be semi self sustaining. After that is done then we would build another one simular to the first and launch that to a Mars orbit (Orbitting Mars is a whole hell of alot easyer than trying to land on it and then get off it) This station could be used as a storage place for any resourses needed to go down to mars and then get back up. Also this would allow for a more modular design to space flight (take a short hop into orbit..then catch the A Train to Mars Orbit..or whatever planet..then another short hop down to the surface) Also you could use simular spacestations as waypoints between to destinations very far apart. The farther apart the more way staions needed...say 1 at each planetary orbit and 1 or several at the ast. belt for resorce collections.....after that its Interstellar flight time and by then who knows what tech some brightboy will have thought up!
Johnross1968, Apr 10 2004

       What we need here is some fear for the interstellar thieves and pirates who would eat these freebies
alc, Apr 11 2004


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