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Author Topic: Did the crew really almost die?  (Read 6789 times)
Brainswarm
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« on: September 03, 2008, 11:55:59 PM »

After the EMP hit the ship, there were two major events that were threats to the ship and crew.  The first was the ballistic trajectory into the planet, and the second was the environmental crisis.  In both cases, the emergencies were large events that took hours to unfold, leaving the crew plenty of time to board the lifeboats if the situation were not resolved.  Yet the characters say they almost died.  Granted, abandoning ship is a very last resort, and the owners would not appreciate having their expensive ship destroyed by the Betrus Orbital Defense Force, but using the lifeboats was never mentioned, not even as a place to shelter while the algae caught up with the CO2 backlog.  Presumably that lifeboats were an option if things got worse, but then almost dying doesn't make sense as they always had a backup plan to get off the ship alive.

Also, what would have happened to the Captain if she had lost the Lois?  Would she have been able to command another ship if the loss hadn't been her fault?

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nlowell
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 06:07:33 AM »

That's a good point.

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deash
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 11:45:34 AM »

true you raise a good point however remeber that the emp knocked out allout of ship functions and even though it is never mentioned it could well have afected the grav locks that hold the escape pods to the ship. next if the air is going out remember that they are a ways away from the planet and it could have been too far to reach the planet or in range of the tugs before air runs out...

Mr. Lowell had a few options to make that situation even more dicey.

listening to alll your stories for the the 30th time I have a long slow job that is tedious and can listen to you while i work make work go by much faster.
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dilwyn
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 04:54:32 PM »

The captain could also have called everybody to suit up. this would have bought an hour or two - depending on the availability of suits and how many times they could be recharged with Oxygen.

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Laith
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 06:10:16 PM »

I hadn't thought about the life boats.

One point on the ballistic trajectory part... note that the life boats will be moving at the same speed as the Lois towards the planet. It is possible that under these circumstances the small rockets that are probably mostly intended to just push them away from a critically crippled vessel might not be enough to help them escape the planet's gravity well or get into an orbit.

Haven't had a chance to think up an excuse on the CO2 issue.

regarding suits I would expect that if they had the O2 to recharge the suits with then there wouldn't be as much of a problem to begin with, just dump that O2 into the system will at least help with the overall CO2 levels... so I don't think they have spare O2

(I'm back...)
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dilwyn
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2008, 11:51:01 AM »

I don't think dumping oxygen into the ships atmosphere is a solution. Carbon dioxide is not an inert gas and its toxicity is well established it needs to get to a high level (approx 20%) but causes narcosis, convulsions and eventually unconciousness and death. the crew were concentrating on removing the CO2 from the atmosphere which suggests that their main problem was not the lack of oxygen. the lifeboats would also have been useful as alternate habitats with separate air supplies (they probably did not even need to launch them to provide a livable atmosphere.
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M Sharpe
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2008, 06:05:58 PM »

I don't think dumping oxygen into the ships atmosphere is a solution. Carbon dioxide is not an inert gas and its toxicity is well established it needs to get to a high level (approx 20%) but causes narcosis, convulsions and eventually unconciousness and death. the crew were concentrating on removing the CO2 from the atmosphere which suggests that their main problem was not the lack of oxygen.

I thought that they mentioned O2 was easy in the planning..
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Laith
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2008, 06:50:20 PM »

I don't think dumping oxygen into the ships atmosphere is a solution. Carbon dioxide is not an inert gas and its toxicity is well established it needs to get to a high level (approx 20%) but causes narcosis, convulsions and eventually unconciousness and death. the crew were concentrating on removing the CO2 from the atmosphere which suggests that their main problem was not the lack of oxygen.

I thought that they mentioned O2 was easy in the planning..

I think you may be right...
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dilwyn
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2008, 01:11:58 PM »

I think this comes back to a comment I heard of Nathans where he said something like:- "the story is told from Ish's point of view - it does not reflect the totality of what is happening  on the ship, just his understanding and perception of what was happening".
At the beginning of the crisis the captain would  probbly have had the option of abandoning ship if the colision was unavoidable - probably with volunteers left on board to try and regain enough control to steer the ship from populated areas. Later on with the Co2 levels rising the captain probably had contingency plans in place if the CO2 levels were not brought under control.
( realising again how immersed I can get in Nates Universe  - damn he's good! Smiley)
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planish
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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 12:22:38 AM »

...the crew were concentrating on removing the CO2 from the atmosphere which suggests that their main problem was not the lack of oxygen.

Wasn't that one of the big problems in Apollo 13? According to the movie version they had to figure out how to modify and install some spare CO2 scrubbers with duct tape and whatnot.

true you raise a good point however remeber that the emp knocked out allout of ship functions and even though it is never mentioned it could well have afected the grav locks that hold the escape pods to the ship.
Conventionally, any infrastructure or equipment related to emergency situations are design to "fail safe".
- Emergency exits are never locked from the inside; "EXIT" lights have self-contained battery power;
- electrical circuit breakers may be padlocked open (ie. off) but never closed; panic buttons to shut down machinery operate by interrupting a circuit and not by completing one;
- POTS ("plain old telephone service") has a voltage on it provided by the telco to operate a standard phone set, so that calls may be placed during a general power blackout;
- if the power steering suddenly fails on a car you can still steer it, even if it's harder to turn the wheel;
- some lifeboats on marine vessels are precariously perched at the top of a ramp so that gravity takes over when it's released. You don't even have to crank it down.

I would fully expect that an escape pod would be designed to be launched and operable by low-tech mechanical manual controls, at least to get away from the ship. At the very worst, the crew would have to fire up their iPods ...er... backlit tablet screens to serve as a flashlight to find their way. Nah, not even that. There should be luminescent paint markers to show the way to the critical locations like suit lockers and escape pods.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2009, 12:27:52 AM by planish » Logged
Laith
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2009, 06:28:49 AM »

...the crew were concentrating on removing the CO2 from the atmosphere which suggests that their main problem was not the lack of oxygen.

Wasn't that one of the big problems in Apollo 13? According to the movie version they had to figure out how to modify and install some spare CO2 scrubbers with duct tape and whatnot.

Yup and the poor engineers on the ground had to re-invent the procedure to do that... they had come up with the directions when all the emergency options were developed but that the time basically no-one could find the binder with that particular answer in it.

true you raise a good point however remeber that the emp knocked out allout of ship functions and even though it is never mentioned it could well have afected the grav locks that hold the escape pods to the ship.
Conventionally, any infrastructure or equipment related to emergency situations are design to "fail safe".

True. However notice that due to an unfortunate alignment of circumstances several things didn't "Fail safe", the scrubbers, the fire extinguisher brackets, the ship's main breakers  Smiley
Many times when things go wrong in the real world it can be tied back to something that shouldn't have failed failing.

At the very worst, the crew would have to fire up their iPods ...er... backlit tablet screens to serve as a flashlight to find their way. Nah, not even that.

And that is exactly what at least Ish did. While in the spine he turned on his essentially useless tablet and used its screen for light... I do the same thing with my iPod to stumble down to the kitchen to get my pregnant wife something in the middle of the night.

anyway you made a lot of good points, but sometimes even the best designed "fail safes" are more "fail" than "safe" often when you most need them
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Richard
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 04:58:02 PM »

If you are faced with an event that will kill you if you don't do something, then yes, you almost died.
Most of the time, you won't notice, or won't think the event counts, because the corrective action is done well before it becomes critical.
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