Monday, March 12, 2018

When the Statue of Liberty Gets Sea Walls

Last night I started watching The Expanse on Amazon Prime. It's been really good scifi so far, and has that nitty-gritty view of future space travel, more Firefly than Star Trek, but even grittier. It's set 200 years in the future, and in an early episode there was this short cut of the Statue of Liberty, with sea walls due to (presumably) global warming:

Another good idea (for the story, at least) was "gravity torture," where those who grew up off-Earth in a lower gravitational environment are tortured by being hung in Earth's gravity for hours:

In Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy, kids born on Mars (where g = 38% of that of Earth) eventually become significantly taller than Earthlings.

I appreciate when writers think about the little things and subtly put them in their stories. It's fun to notice them. The Expanse does this very well, so far.


Unknown said...

There are also references to an "Anchorage Island" in the "Yukon Archipelago" :-)

JoeT said...
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JoeT said...

Good show David. I only learned about it from your blog.

I just watched the episode "Paradigm Shift" that describes Solomon Epstein's discovery of a modification to the fusion core of his rocket that allows continuous acceleration.

There has been much discussion about using a fusion rocket core as the only sensible way to get to Mars in less than 3 months to minimize exposure to radioactivity.
Indeed, one group of scientists has encouraged the use of fusion rockets as a means of planetary defense against comets. You can find their paper here
Note, these people aren't a bunch of crackpots. They are scientists at national laboratories.

Another interesting concept regarding fusion rockets that I haven't seen so far incorporated into The Expanse, is the notion of mining Helium-3 on the moon. Helium-3 is rare on the Earth but conceptually can be used in the reaction:
D + He3 --> He4 + p + 18.3 MeV
Helium-3 was found on the Moon in the very first Apollo mission. You can read the published paper here that shows the data.

JoeT said...

Scratch what I said above. Just saw season 3, episode 2 --- Holden and company are on their way to the Helium-3 refinery on Io. As far as I can tell, there hasn't been an explanation why one would want to mine Helium-3.