Science Fiction Concepts – Building Spaceships and what Drives them?

Spaceships are brilliant, fins a bit of science fiction that requires on and there is a real piece of imagination that’s gone into creating a spacecraft. The design, the concept, crew and how it works is pert of the designers imagination with a little bit of science thrown in. I thought it would be fun to have a look at spaceships, what makes them go and why?

Get ready to jump into hyperspace!


Spaceships today

Spacecraft of today are being worked to their limits and it has to be asked how much damage is being done to the Earth shooting all these things into space. Working against Earth gravity and atmosphere makes the job of launching anything from Earth with a big payload very difficult. One example of this is how the Space X Starship to Mars will be refuelled to go to the red planet – an even bigger tanker Starship will need to blast off 8 TIMES!! That just a bit insane.

Photo by SpaceX on Pexels.com


Science reality is a long way off science fact, we’re a long way off properly efficient space travel, but we’re a long way off efficient energy generation as well, the two go and in hand. When we talk about efficient energy generation – what do we mean?


Sci-Fi Spacecraft

Spaceships – the very word brings up thoughts of fantastical machines that take people the strange worlds at massive speeds that travel through space and time. At least that’s what science fiction writers and film makers portray as it fits in with their stories. The details on how these machines are driven is always sketchy, built usually upon the fringes of theoretical science that might be achievable one day.

The reality in this day and age is very different, huge and inefficient rockets rely on chemical reactions to catapult a small module, manned or unmanned into orbit or beyond. It requires a huge amount of resource to achieve this small cosmic feat – it’s said that if our Earth was a bit more massive we would not be able to launch objects into space as the energy required would be too great for chemical rockets.

It’s been estimated that in order to make travel between the stars even remotely possible within a human lifetime a spaceship would need to travel about about 10% of the speed of light. Using chemical reactions this would require a stupidly insane amount of fuel.

The secret to these fantastic propulsion systems is the atom. Harnessing the energy stored in a atom is the only way we currently know of to obtain huge amounts of energy. It also happens to be how we’re going to try and obtain enough clean energy to power the human race. To give an idea of the kind of energy stored in an atom – if mankind had a fusion reactor to power New York, the mass required to power New York for a day would be about the size of a raisin. Remember E=MCsq? That’s what it refers to, the energy in mass is times the speed of light squared.

Discovery 1 from 2001: A Space Odyssey



After this there’s antimatter, even further off into the future and we’re not sure we can even make it work, we have to create and collect the antimatter and store it without it EVER coming into contact with any matter at all – or it all goes BOOM! In rather a huge way. The starship Enterprise is still a long way off being remotely possible. Even the concept of the nuclear powered Discover 1 from 2001 which took many months to travel to the outer planets is not in our sights.

There won’t be much measurable time dilation from that either. However advances we think we are – we’re just starting out, taking our first steps.

No credit claimed on any images – copyright remains with creators.




6 Replies to “Science Fiction Concepts – Building Spaceships and what Drives them?”

  1. A very intelligent and thoughtful post Simon. Sets the mind moving on the possibilities or the impossibilities?
    The practical logistics of space travel based on our current knowledge make the whole concept of journeys even beyond, say Mars so heavy with problems as to be not worth our efforts…..
    And yet….
    For centuries Humanity sailed the oceans in craft made of wood (because it floats, right?) and required either oars (muscle power always worked, of course) or the winds (Providing the gods were on our side). It was obvious, then, there were no other alternatives.
    Craft made of metal? Impossible, everyone knows metal is too heavy and anyway sinks. Engines powered by fire?….Fire in a ship?..What?????.
    And yet…
    So who knows what as yet unknown knowledge does await us.
    Maybe somewhere in the worlds of Quantum and those pesky extra 6, 7 or even more dimensions?

    Liked by 1 person

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