Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Takin' out the Trash

 Even in these technologically advanced times, when man has reached the outer limits of the Solar System and has examined many of the mysteries of the Universe, made a permanent base on the Moon and outposts on some of the outer worlds, the basic needs of humanity still remain the same. Food, light, warmth and communication all need to be provided for man to flourish in these extremes but beyond the obvious and necessary provisions which need to be in place lies another much more fundamental requirement. Wherever man goes and whatever he does, there will always be a certain amount of material products left behind, from damaged or redundant technology, to chemical or physical byproducts or bulk waste from mining operations. 95% of all materials are recycled in some fashion, but there still remains some things which cannot be re-used or disposed of simply.

Such a product are the radioactive cores from depleted fusion reactors used in the drives of the fleet and to provide the sustaining power for the machineries of the bases on far flung worlds. Although the cores do last for a considerable time, damage from cosmic radiation and micrometeorite strikes affect the shielding and the external structure of the cores, sometimes rendering them irrepairable. Then the problem of disposal of the highly dangerous material arises and the radioactive waste must be removed before contamination can occur. At such times, the cores are encased in special portable shielding by remote drones and shipped out by linear accelerated tracks into orbit. Once the containers are in free space the problem of disposal still persists, so specially adapted  freighters collect the containers and marshal them into position for transport. The freighter crew will gather as many high risk containers as possible - sometimes other materials will be included such as biological or hazardous waste - from other bases or capital ships and tow them to a point away from the main space lanes and out of major traffic. A special drive package is attached to the collected containers and under remote guidance from the freighter, the drive is engaged and a course set directly for the centre of the Sun. The short trip to the edge of the suns major gravitational field takes a few weeks and then once the containers have been seized by the stars jealous hold, the freighter relinquishes control and allows the package to fall into the fiery furnace. The extreme heat of the star vaporises all trace of the material long before the containers get close to the surface, but destruction is total and far enough away to ensure than none of the hazardous contaminants can ever become a problem again.

 The Freighter 'Charlie' was built using components of Milton Bradley/Learning Curve 'Robotix' sets. Its about 3 ' long and was lashed together on the conservatory floor last night with a little help from my son Will.


3 comments:

  1. Oh my! I like that photo, Wote.

    But tell me .... this man who's reached the outer limits of the Solar System and who is goin' and doin' whatever it is he goes and does ... he doin' that alone then? Or are there any Wymyn out there, goin' and doin' too?

    Just ... you know ..... askin'.

    (LOL - just kidding, honest)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well you know a mans utter inability to multitask hasn't changed since the dawn of times, so us blokes are generally found takin' out the bins while the much more versatile 'wymyn' tend to be found flying the ships

    :-D

    if you look closely you might see Commander Kim at the helm of the 'Charlie' while her co-pilot checks out the cannisters..

    ReplyDelete
  3. (laughs) ... and you know, I'm wondering when this cockpit was last decorated.

    ReplyDelete

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