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Why can't spaceships be rectangles? : Take it Outside! • Page 4 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Why can't spaceships be rectangles?

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Jeanne Cole
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Re: Why can't spaceships be rectangles?

Postby Jeanne Cole » Sun May 24, 2015 10:42 pm

Exactly the same question I have in mind but I didnt dare to look for the answers.

Steve Ball
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Re: Why can't spaceships be rectangles?

Postby Steve Ball » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:14 pm

Several reasons for why not rectangles:

1) phallic symbolism (seriously). Long pointy things, particularly if military, adhere to Jungian archtypes.

2) coolness factor - related to above (the REASON it is cool)

3) aerodynamics - EVEN in space. Space is actually not a complete vacuum, and at relativistic velocities there WILL be friction.

4) for military purposes, pointy might offer cross-section advantages (harder to hit).

But in general, one problem with rectangles and cubes (AND phallic shapes) is structural strength and volume vs mass constraints. A SPHERE is probably the most efficient.

rob40
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Re: Why can't spaceships be rectangles?

Postby rob40 » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:37 pm

The real reason:

Space. Let's start in the beginnings of shapes making impact of design.

The first jet airliner, the DeHavilland Comet, started crashing to earth in pieces and nobody knew why. Only after raising a piece of fuselage from the waters did they discover the corners of their square windows were bursting out. The internal air pressure of the plane, which today is operated at around 8.000 feet atmospheric pressure when at 37,000 feet, has to press against something. That's a differential of nearing 8:1 compared to high altitude outside air. Imagine the stress against the side of the plane if flying through a vacuum. The corners of squares have to hold that pressure in when it's trying to press the sides of the square out and apart. They discovered this was the fault after testing a built and un-flown body of that plane in a water tank and the window blew out at the corner. Solution? Round windows at first and then the rounded corner sort of 'squircle' shape we have today. Simply put, if you want your spacecraft to withstand the enormous pressure difference of space vs. atmospheric inside, a circle is the most structurally capable shape to do that.

Take a look at the deep sea scientific submersibles or ask why submarines are knockwurst shaped. Pressure.

Now, fiction: No reason why they cant be square, cube, rhomboid, fluidly blobular...
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