FIREFLY EPISODE DISCUSSIONS

firefly techno-geek questions

POSTED BY: NEWOLDBROWNCOAT
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 19:55
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Sunday, November 18, 2012 8:53 AM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Been doing a little thinking about some creative sci-fi writing/design of my own. So I got some questions about the nuts 'n bolts of Serenity.

We know Joss ain't Gene Roddenberry. He wasn't interested in dilithium crystals or anti-matter warp drives or phaser weapons or photon torpedoes, but some HOW questions:

1. We do know that Serenity's main drive is behind that flat wall at the back of the engine room. It gives off light as a parasitic product when it's operated at high level. But what is it? Some kind of nuclear/ atomic/ antimatter reaction drive? How big is it? Wash mentions refueling at one landing, in the Pilot, I think. What kinda fuel? Where is is stored onboard? How much, how big?

2. What is Serenity's speed and range? I think she's interplanetary, rather than interstellar, tho' maps of the 'Verse have multiple suns. Are they close together? Or does she have some regular interplanetary drive AND some kind of FTL interstellar drive? How long do her trips take? I think they're all on the order of several DAYS, neither hours nor months.

3. What is the hardware that we see? There's Kaylee's engine, the big rotating thing in the compartment, with catalyzer and compression coils. It turns. The only other thing that turns is the ring on the outside. What does that do, actually, besides look cool? There's jet controls in boxes in the engine room, wings, and jets. They seem to be mostly for atmospheric action, VTOL landings and shredding bad guys. There's flaps, louvers, panels over the light producing tail. What are they for?

4. And BTW, the BDM version looks more steam-punk,( literally; with Kaylee surrounded by arcing lights and clouds of vapor and gas. ) Almost like the technology has retrogressed. Maybe it has: is the 'Verse itself in decline, or is it just Mal's little boat suffering from poor maintenance and chronic financial stress? Or is it just designer/writer artsy-craftiness?

Dunno if any of this has been discussed. If it has, I either missed it or don't remember it. Any facts, opinions, or discussion would be appreciated.

E-T-A: Gravity. Bester mentions the " grav-boot". Something provides gravity- they aren't in zero-G free fall while on Serenity, and they don't get squished by high acceleration. What/how/where?

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 10:09 AM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I think Joss once said he didn't like to think about the science part of it too much since it made his head hurt.

About the only things we know is that a Firefly class ship has a "standard radion accelerator core" and that the Reaver ship in the pilot was flying without "core containment." It is safe to assume that means some type of fissionable material as the fuel source.

There is some type of gravitational drive involved too, as seen in the pilot when they brought the salvage back onto the ship. They were in free-fall, then just as the airlock doors closed gravity was restored to the ship and the crates slam to the floor. That was approximately at the same time that Wash engaged the drive and they detached from the derelict ship.

As far as range and speed, I would guess it is some percentage of speed of light, probably less than 1%, which is still very significant in the small area of the 'Verse, even if it does include multiple suns. Even 1/10th of 1% would be about 670,000 miles an hour, and that is about three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. No FTL necessary.







wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 1:17 PM

FARFLY

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Sunday, November 18, 2012 9:28 PM

RIONAEIRE

Beir bua agus beannacht


One of my problems with the movie, the ship isn't the same at all, it has a totally different energy to it and I feel like I'm the only one who knows that this fake ship is an impostor and the rest of the viewers don't know, kind of like Capgras Delusion (a delusion in which the person believes that someone or something has been replaced with a double but they believe that they are the only people who know this, who know the truth.)

"A completely coherant River means writers don't deliver" KatTaya

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Monday, November 19, 2012 1:46 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


The Serenity sets were rebuilt for the movie since the originals were destroyed years before. They had to change a few things for certain camera shots Joss wanted, plus the cargo bay is taller to make room for the hover-mule. The change that I noticed immediately is that in the series the steps into the galley go down from the walkways at either end, in the movie the steps are outside the galley and go up.







wo men ren ran zai fei xing.

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Monday, November 19, 2012 3:11 PM

BRIGLAD


Quantum Mechanics has a set of (BDM) Firefly blueprints. Shows all the little nuts and bolts. Well worth the cost if you're a hardware geek like me.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012 9:40 AM

EBFIDDLER


Quote:

Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
1. We do know that Serenity's main drive is behind that flat wall at the back of the engine room. It gives off light as a parasitic product when it's operated at high level. But what is it? Some kind of nuclear/ atomic/ antimatter reaction drive? How big is it? Wash mentions refueling at one landing, in the Pilot, I think. What kinda fuel? Where is is stored onboard? How much, how big?


First of all, some folks have done some pretty serious thinking about all this, and come up with all kinds of technical manuals and such. See the references provided by others. For my fic-writing purposes, here's what I think:
Main drive runs on some kind of fissionable and/or nuclear fusion reactor. The fuel is compact and lightweight, not something bulky and inefficient like petroleum. Hence they do not have huge fuel tanks or bulky fuel storage units. They do need to refuel at times, so some part of their fuel is expendable. But Fuel Cells are also mentioned, so I envision part of their power as being derived from a re-chargeable source, something battery-like.
There are also thrusters and jets for maneuvers. Modern spacecraft these days have (in addition to the rocket that gets them off the ground) attitude jets in three dimensions for maneuvers in space.
Likewise, there are the main thrusters that we see in use for VTOL in atmosphere.

Quote:

2. What is Serenity's speed and range? I think she's interplanetary, rather than interstellar, tho' maps of the 'Verse have multiple suns. Are they close together? Or does she have some regular interplanetary drive AND some kind of FTL interstellar drive? How long do her trips take? I think they're all on the order of several DAYS, neither hours nor months.


I envision Serenity's journeys as taking days to weeks. The only journeys that are measured in hours rather than days are quickie trips between a planet and its nearby moon, and that's not what they're usually doing. Trips between planets/moons in the same system take days to weeks; trips between planets in different systems take weeks. That's just my headcanon, not gospel. I don't think Serenity is fitted out for interstellar travel (other than the cluster of stars or whatever one wants to call it, that forms the "Verse as we know it".

Quote:

3. What is the hardware that we see? There's Kaylee's engine, the big rotating thing in the compartment, with catalyzer and compression coils. It turns. The only other thing that turns is the ring on the outside. What does that do, actually, besides look cool? There's jet controls in boxes in the engine room, wings, and jets. They seem to be mostly for atmospheric action, VTOL landings and shredding bad guys. There's flaps, louvers, panels over the light producing tail. What are they for?


My husband, who designs spacecraft instrumentation for a living, always laughs at the scene in Serenity pilot where Kaylee tells Jayne to "cut the hydraulics." Jayne opens the box, which is filled with wires and circuit boards and says, WTH? He says the contents of the box look "just like flight hardware." To me, all that junk is mainly for controlling the attitude jets, flaps and ailerons, etc. necessary for maneuvers both in space and in atmo. The spinny parts of the main engine, are main power, for propulsion and all other systems aboard (eg. helm and life support).

Quote:

4. And BTW, the BDM version looks more steam-punk,( literally; with Kaylee surrounded by arcing lights and clouds of vapor and gas. ) Almost like the technology has retrogressed. Maybe it has: is the 'Verse itself in decline, or is it just Mal's little boat suffering from poor maintenance and chronic financial stress? Or is it just designer/writer artsy-craftiness?


Artistic license, to go along with the darker tone of the movie. To me, the ship as depicted in the TV series is the real ship.

Quote:

E-T-A: Gravity. Bester mentions the " grav-boot". Something provides gravity- they aren't in zero-G free fall while on Serenity, and they don't get squished by high acceleration. What/how/where?


The ship has an artificial grav system. The "grav boot" is a key part of this system. It can be turned off, but ordinarily it's engaged, because they don't want to be squished by high acceleration. And they don't want their cargo floating around, only to fall where it shouldn't be, when the artificial grav is re-engaged. The airlock area is probably most flexible as to whether grav is on or not on, while artificial grav remains engaged for the rest of the ship. (again, my thoughts, not canon.)

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012 5:59 PM

NEWOLDBROWNCOAT


Glad to see that most everybody agrees with the things I believed or assumed-- I expressed most of them as questions because I wasn't sure or didn't want to bias the replies.

Briglad, I know about QMX's blueprints, but I'm too cheap to buy a set, and I am honorable: I don't steal other people's stuff, I don't pirate copies. I might check 'em out of a free library and study 'em, but I don't keep a copy. Weird, hair-splitting argument, I suppose, but that's how I am.

Riona, I agree. I'm still PO'ed at Joss himself-- he killed off my 2 best fave characters. I'm still hoping for some kind of sequels with all 9 of the original BDH's, movies or TV series; even tho' I don't see HOW. Failing that, I'm ready for Firefly: the Next Generation, with older BDH's guesting and a new cast.

And, Farfly, the links to Wiki did have a lot of useful answers. Thanx.

Anybody else?

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Monday, July 11, 2016 7:45 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I just noticed this thread. It apparently came around during the time I thought this site was gone - I had been unable to access if for a few months around Mar 2012 - the Tenth Anniversary.
Quote:

Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
Been doing a little thinking about some creative sci-fi writing/design of my own. So I got some questions about the nuts 'n bolts of Serenity.

We know Joss ain't Gene Roddenberry. He wasn't interested in dilithium crystals or anti-matter warp drives or phaser weapons or photon torpedoes, but some HOW questions:

1. We do know that Serenity's main drive is behind that flat wall at the back of the engine room. It gives off light as a parasitic product when it's operated at high level. But what is it? Some kind of nuclear/ atomic/ antimatter reaction drive? How big is it? Wash mentions refueling at one landing, in the Pilot, I think. What kinda fuel? Where is is stored onboard? How much, how big?


2 drives, IIRC. One for space, which gives the glow, and the one for atmo - which is the one they needed fuel for.
Quote:


2. What is Serenity's speed and range? I think she's interplanetary, rather than interstellar, tho' maps of the 'Verse have multiple suns. Are they close together? Or does she have some regular interplanetary drive AND some kind of FTL interstellar drive? How long do her trips take? I think they're all on the order of several DAYS, neither hours nor months.


I have posted some threads of this discussion. If you are still here, check them out and see if you have more questions.

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=36389

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=36140

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=32184

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=31980

http://www.fireflyfans.net/mthread.aspx?tid=38693


Quote:


3. What is the hardware that we see? There's Kaylee's engine, the big rotating thing in the compartment, with catalyzer and compression coils. It turns. The only other thing that turns is the ring on the outside. What does that do, actually, besides look cool? There's jet controls in boxes in the engine room, wings, and jets. They seem to be mostly for atmospheric action, VTOL landings and shredding bad guys. There's flaps, louvers, panels over the light producing tail. What are they for?

4. And BTW, the BDM version looks more steam-punk,( literally; with Kaylee surrounded by arcing lights and clouds of vapor and gas. ) Almost like the technology has retrogressed. Maybe it has: is the 'Verse itself in decline, or is it just Mal's little boat suffering from poor maintenance and chronic financial stress? Or is it just designer/writer artsy-craftiness?


The backstory: The BDM version of Serenity was upgraded from the series, following the profits from the sale of The Lassiter, last mentioned in the final episode The Message.
IRL: The series stage had already been disassembled, and the movie stage was built anew, so it was different.
Quote:


Dunno if any of this has been discussed. If it has, I either missed it or don't remember it. Any facts, opinions, or discussion would be appreciated.

E-T-A: Gravity. Bester mentions the " grav-boot". Something provides gravity- they aren't in zero-G free fall while on Serenity, and they don't get squished by high acceleration. What/how/where?


I am not sure they have "high acceleration" with Serenity. Space shuttles launch with 3 Gs max. I will look to convert Gs to Au/Hour Squared.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016 7:55 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:

Quote:

Originally posted by NewOldBrownCoat:
2. What is Serenity's speed and range? I think she's interplanetary, rather than interstellar, tho' maps of the 'Verse have multiple suns. Are they close together? Or does she have some regular interplanetary drive AND some kind of FTL interstellar drive? How long do her trips take? I think they're all on the order of several DAYS, neither hours nor months.




also, there is no FTL in The Verse.
Quote:


Quote:


Dunno if any of this has been discussed. If it has, I either missed it or don't remember it. Any facts, opinions, or discussion would be appreciated.

E-T-A: Gravity. Bester mentions the " grav-boot". Something provides gravity- they aren't in zero-G free fall while on Serenity, and they don't get squished by high acceleration. What/how/where?


I am not sure they have "high acceleration" with Serenity. Space shuttles launch with 3 Gs max. I will look to convert Gs to Au/Hour Squared.


If my math isn't wonky, looks like 3 Gs is about 2,640 Miles per Hour Squared. And Serenity's max acceleration is at least 11,730,000 Miles per Hour Squared. So, yeah, "high acceleration" is something to address.

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