Freefall 3191 - 3200 (D)
Freefall 3191

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

What would you like to know?
An overview of what we will be doing on this trip.
A lot of this will be new to me. Explain it like you were talking to your grandmother.
My adoptive human grandmother or my non-modified red wolf grandmother?
Somewhere in between, though lean a bit towards the wolf side.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3192

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

We get into orbit with an assist from the magnetic launch rail. Then we're off to the orbital spider to fill up on reaction mass and get a boost towards the Pournelle/Niven transfer station. Along the way, we'll use the contents of several in flight tanks to refill our reaction mass.
[!1.2]TANKS: Launched earlier
That's more outside help than I was expecting.
It's like owning a truck. You can go from coast to coast on your own. It's a lot easier if you use the roads and filling stations.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3193

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

How long will it take us to get to this Pournelle/Niven transfer station?
About three weeks.
We'll need to stock up on food and see if there are any trade items we can bring. Everything will be more expensive out there. Even the air won't be free.
I can steal just by breathing? Why has no one told me about this place before?

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3194

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

Life support is heavy. The only time you want it on your ship is when you're transporting life. We can see if there's any plants or cultures they need at the station.
Plants? Earth plants? Loose on my ship?
Sam, not everything from Earth is going to try to eat you.
Helix says it was the tilt of the table. All I know is the moment they had the chance, those cucumbers charged right at me.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3195

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

That's a drift spider. They use a magnetic scoop to draw in dust for resale both as reaction mass and construction material.
Isn't space really empty? How much dust is out there?
A lot.
Can you be more specific?
I'll need to use math.
Can you be more specific in a way I'll understand?

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3196

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

To give some perspective, we'll look at the Sol system. The sun contains 99.8 percent of the system's mass. Jupiter is .1 percent and everything else added together is the final .1 percent.
How much of that is the planet Earth?
.0003 percent.
.0003 percent? That's tiny! How did you guys ever get hit with an asteroid?
Earth is known for many things. The ability to duck isn't one of them.

Color by George Peterson

По всей видимости, Сэм говорит про Чиксулубский метеорит, который ~65 миллионов лет назад изрядно поменял берега центральной Америки и, предположительно, дал старт вымиранию динозавров. В истории Земли, впрочем, бывали и более впечатляющие ямы, и более впечатляющие вымирания (Robot Spike)

Freefall 3197

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

Got it. The sun is big. How much dust is in a cubic light year?
That's a lot of space. Let's see, if we use the local average dust density of 1×10-16 kilograms per cubic meter…
It comes out to 8.468×1031 kilograms, the mass equivalent of 42.574 suns.
When you said there was a lot of dust out there, that was quite the understatement.
Would it have helped if I said a whole lot?

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3198

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

What would you do with that much material?
Dyson swarm your star. Make a billion O'Neill cylinders. Or thumb your nose at faster than light travel and build a new solar system every light year in the direction you want to go.
When these guys agreed to terraform a planet for my people, I thought my criminal career had reached its peak. I am happy to find my sights were set far too low.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3199

Polywell fusion and trip rundown

Hello? Anyone home?
Be right there!
Sam, did you.. there's.. uhm, never mind.
The golden rule of scavenging. Confusion always works in your favor.

Color by George Peterson

Freefall 3200

Winston arrives at the ship

As far as making guests feel comfortable, the radiation trefoil is no match for a welcome mat.

Color by George Peterson

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