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Re: [SG][DS][Campaigns] Mass transport and low G planets

From: "Robert W. Hofrichter" <RobHofrich@p...>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 21:18:34 -0400
Subject: Re: [SG][DS][Campaigns] Mass transport and low G planets

----- Original Message -----
From: Terrance L. Smith <>
To: <gzg-l@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2000 10:29 PM
Subject: [SG][DS][Campaigns] Mass transport and low G planets

> I have been wondering about what type of bulk and mass passenger
> transportation might be the norm on low G planets in the future. The
> for my pondering is for scenario design; a planetary invasion will
> make control or destruction of the transportation network a fairly
> priority.
> Assumptions: 1) We are talking about a planet with gravity about the
> as Mars (38% of earth's gravity) 2) Bulk freight and large masses of
> will still be most cost effectively moved using ground transportation.
> is not economical to move iron ore using C141s.) Note: I am not
> with water transport at this point.
> Rail travel could be a problem. Inertia remains the same, but the
wheel to
> rail contact force will only be 40% (I assume this is proportional to
> gravity?) what it is on earth. Presumably that will reduce the load
> can be started and greatly increase the braking distance.
> There must be ways this problem could be reduced:
> -All wheels powered
> -Cog railway
> -Maglev (Something like Maglev feels right for a Sci-Fi setting. Much
> futuristic than steel rails. But how does the construction cost
> -What else?

Cog railways are used in some mountainous environs here on Earth.  Of
course, speeds are low and probably would be even in a sci-fi setting
easy to ruin your teeth if something shifts).

There is an experimental (urban) maglev design that the designer claims
have construction costs pretty close to modern urban rail systems (one
been suggested for trial in the Hampton Roads area, but nothing's come
of it
yet).  IIRC, this one is a monorail-type set up.

The all-wheel power option is pretty good.

Of course, all of this is based on the need for rails, which may not
exist--after all, the rails are there to help distribute the very heavy
that the car wheels would be transmitting to the ground--but if your
is 1/3 g, this weight is pretty low and you may be able to make do with
something less (like ashpalt or portland cement or even plastic).  I
see something like the Australian "road trains" being used- a tractor
pulling three to six (or more) trailers.  They could be guided
by following a strip of magnetic tape on the roadway (whatever it's made
of).  Just an alternate thought.

And I wouldn't leave out water-borne transport since it really is the
efficient for bulk cargo.

> What are the list's thoughts?
> Terrance Smith, Ph.D., ELS

There you have my 2 pfennings worth.


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