Help settle an arguement plz - Energy in Space??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kris Coffin, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. Kris Coffin

    Kris Coffin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi all,

    This has been going on for about a month now after seeing a recent episode of Andromeda.

    There was a huge explosion in space, (believe a worm hole being blown up) The force from the explosion rocked the Andromeda as they tried to escape the impending blast wave so to speak.

    My wife insists this is impossible, as there is only a vacuum in space, and you need oxygen to create a force from the blast. I disagree, as energy from a blast, or say a supernova, could send out energy waves for lack of a better word, that would impact, and in turn push said space vessel.

    Any takers on an explanation? I know, total geek stuff, but hey, who isn't nowadays.
     
  2. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,807
    Likes Received:
    689
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Well, I would agree with your wife. To get a shockwave that would rock the ship would require air. If the sun went supernova (which isn't really possible) the Earth would not be rocked by the blast. The atmosphere would be blown away, which in turn would create a planetwide shockwave that would pulverize everything just prior to incineration. If you were in a spacecraft when the sun supernovaed, there would be no shockwave because there is no medium for a shockwave to travel through. The ship and everything in it would be baked by high energy discharges. Basically, you would just be snuffed out.

    Any physicists can correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  3. DwightK

    DwightK Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2000
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Space may be in a vacuum but it definately isn't void of elements. Take a look at any nebula like those in Orion for example. They are filled with gasses such as hydrogen and helium. The Eagle nebula is a star forming region where massive clouds of hydrogen are subject to gravity. A simple fusion explosion would not require oxygen at all.
    One thing Andromeda has going for it is neat little astronomy geek technicalities that other (all?) science fiction shows totally ignore. They correctly place/locate areas/galaxies in and around our near galactic cluster. Some shows have mentioned M-31, M-32, and the triangulum as near galaxies and quite a few other nebula, etc. very slick to geeks like me[​IMG]
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    5,610
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    A wave, in this instance, is by definition something that is propagated through a medium. Soundwaves propagate through air- they are literally a matter of the air being physically pushed around. Same thing if I throw a rock into a pond. The impact of the rock pushes the water immediately under it aside, that water in turn pushes the adjacent water and so on as ripples spread out from the point of impact. If I throw a rock into a hole in the ground I don't get ripples 'cause there ain't no water. [​IMG]
    (Purely energy wave, like visible light and x-rays, don't propagate in a medium per se. But they also don't push spaceships around. Even in the form of a laser visible light does not produce a physical effect in and of itself. It is only by heating a material object that a laser can do damage.)
    So if you set off a conventional bomb near a spaceship the spaceship shouldn't "rock". At worst it will take damage from any fragements that happen to be on a trajectory aimed straight at the ship. Because there is no blastwave in the near-total vacuum of space. (Yes, there are stray gasses everywhere, and more in nebulae, but not enough in normal space to carry a shockwave.) You don't need oxygen to have an explosion in space. (Although you do need it to have fire) But you do need some kind of atmosphere or other medium to have the kind of blast effects you see with a bomb detonated on Earth. Nothing short of a direct hit should really "rock" a spacecraft.
    In the case of a star going nova, the star itself "provides" the atmosphere. It isn't just a matter of energy being released. Billons of tons of hot gas are also ejected from the star, and they radiate out in what amounts to a shockwave. Bombs, even nuclear ones, don't generate enough moving mass to do this. Much of their destructive power on this planet come precisely from the heat and blast they produce in the surrounding air. So, again, even a near-miss from a nuke might kill the crew with radiation, damage the hull with heat and send fragments flying through your spaceship, but it wouldn't "rock" it with a shockwave. Set the nuke off a bit further away and it won't have any direct physical affect on the ship at all.
    A wormhole? Hard to say, since nobody's ever seen one. How much mass is in one of those? How much of it would get turned into energy? If a wormhole is more like a bomb, your wife is right. (Except for the oxygen thing) If it is more like a nova you are right. Since at this point a wormhole is an entirely fictional concept, and nobody's worked out or described its exact nature, there is no way to answer the question.
    But on the general notion of explosions in space, your wife is closer to the truth than you are. Explosions in near-vacuum do not generate "energy waves" that will physically impact a spaceship.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 1999
    Messages:
    4,467
    Likes Received:
    441
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    Clint
    Ok, how about solar winds? How are these created?
     
  6. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 1999
    Messages:
    11,267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Stray ions flying off from the sun's nuclear reaction
     
  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 1999
    Messages:
    2,563
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Brian
    What Joseph said. It should also be noted that although nebulae appear to light-gathering telescopes to be a dense, brightly glowing fog, we must remember that their structures often span many thousands, if not tens of thousands, of cubic light years. Hardly “atmosphereic” and able to conduct a shock wave, the common nebula averages fewer particles per unit volume than the atmosphere on our Moon. (And, yes, compared to interstellar space, our Moon does have an atmosphere, though for most considerations, it can be ignored and presumed not to exist - like when determining if a shock wave would accompany an explosion on the Moon's surface.)
     
  8. Tony_P

    Tony_P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 15, 2000
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There is such a thing as Radiation pressure or force. Do a Google search or go here for more info.
     
  9. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2000
    Messages:
    871
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There was a huge explosion in space, (believe a worm hole being blown up) The force from the explosion rocked the Andromeda as they tried to escape the impending blast wave so to speak.

    Since a wormhole might be defined as a singularity of space, its also possible that the destruction of such might cause gravitational waves to be created, which are ripples in space-time itself. This would cause all things nearby to change length as it passed, which might "rock" the ship as joints might be torn from the stress.
     
  10. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 1999
    Messages:
    2,563
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Brian
    Danny, that's a pretty cool concept.
     
  11. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Kris,
    Sci-fi these days can be pretty heavy on the fi and light on the sci [​IMG]
    Your wife is right, there would not be a physical force due to the explosion, physical explosions need a medium to propigate through and space is a vaccuum. Even in a nebula or an exploding star, the mass is too spread out to really cause a shockwave. Explosions are like sound and operate on the same principles, this is why depth-charges work so well underwater (ever yelled underwater?)
    Now, light, heat, or radiation is a different matter. They can pass through mediums but do not require a medium to exist. A photon of light is actually a magnetic field that collapses into an electric field that collapses back into a magnetic field ad nauseum. It can move through a vaccuum just as easily as our atmosphere. This is the real power of an H bomb: it isn't the physical explosion that is a world killer, it's the E-M waves that heat up, irradiate, and burn up everything within 50 miles with a massive E-M (light) blast.
    This all being said, light or E-M waves can have a small physical impact. This is where lots of sci-fi writers get the idea of solar sails, using that miniscule physical force to drive a huge spaceship like an old sea vessel.
    So there could have been enough E-M to actually cause a physical force on the ship in Andromeda, after all how much energy is released when a wormhole explodes? Who the heck knows? But ... if there was enough E-M to physically shake the ship, the absolutely insane amounts of radiation all across the spectrum would have instantly fired everyone inside of it and melted all their electronics. Like I said at the start, heavy on the fi, light on the sci...
     
  12. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    5,610
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
     
  13. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,813
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just be happy your wife watches Sci-Fi and leave it at that. I'm still trying to convince my wife The Matrix is a cool movie.
     
  14. Kris Coffin

    Kris Coffin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dave,

    Some days I think my wife is more manly than me, She loves comics, knows more about cars than I do, used to build farm equipment for a living, would pass on a good drama/chick flick for a mediocre scf-fi/fantasy flick any day. And she loves the home theater, absolutely no WAF here (Hard to find a gal that likes the look of a HUGE!!! amp.) A rare gem indeed. ; ) That's why I just had to marry her.


    BTW - Thanx everyone for adding there sci knowledge to this thread.

    Kris
     

Share This Page