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  • Hyperspace travel??

    Hey all - Sorry for the random (and slightly poor) question... But i have got myself confused, and am trying to piece the information below together for a research project.

    I have watched alot of babylon 5 (although a while ago so forgive my memory) and read articles on jumpgates and hyperspace and understand them.

    What I do not understand however, is when a larger ship (NOT the shadows) creates its OWN jumppoint/wormhole/field in a random section of space, how does it know where itÆs travelling to? Because surely it doesn't have the jumpgate beacons to lock onto if it isn't near any (and is in a random sector?)

    Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks!

  • #2
    I think I understand the problem, but it's a real head-scratcher trying to think of a solution. I'm not really familiar with anything that's said on this except in the show, so apologies if this contradicts anything canon. But suppose (and this is just speculation) the lock-on signal of a jumpgate is broadcast simultaneously in both hyperspace and normal space. Then all a ship would have to do is always remain close enough to an existing jumpgate to maintain a constant lock-on to it at all times, including in the transition through it's own jump point. This would obviously limit interstellar travel to the distance it's possible to maintain a lock-on signal like this, but actually even given the existense of ships like the Cortez, that doesn't seem entirely inconsistent with what's seen in Babylon 5.

    The jump-gate network seems pretty extensive, so exploration would generally consist of pushing it out further by travelling out as far as possible from an existing gate and then building a new gate. Losing a signal in normal space wouldn't necessarily be fatal since you could be rescued, re-synchronise with another passing ship in the same sector, or navigate back to civilisation by the stars. Losing it in hyperspace would be more dangerous because of the drift, the absence of recognisable features, and the narrow shipping lanes.

    Back in the 'real' world, given my limited understanding of physics, and barring the possibility of 'hyperspace' - ie. a habitable parallel space that happens to be more compact than ours (which would be really handy), creating a stable 'wormhole' for more than a nanosecond would as I understand it be almost impossible because of their tendency to collapse - but even if you could do it, you'd have to create it at both ends simultaneously - so a ship would probably never be able to open a 'wormhole' between two distant points - the tunnel would have to exist already..

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    • #3
      I'm pretty sure that there are beacons in yyperspace that don't necessarily correspond to jumpgates. Those would just be there as navigational aids. In that way a ship could navigate to a beacon and exit hyperspace if it's able to form its own jumpoint. If a ship can't form a jumpoint, it would signal to the gate and fees would be incurred.

      I think...

      Jan
      "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

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      • #4
        The way I understood it as watching the show was that you were able to plot a course through hyperspace either (a) through the gate network, following their beacons, or (b) charting a point-to-point before you got inside. Any ship with a suitable jump drive could punch a hole, but without correlating reference information from the "real world" there was no way to navigate at all. Such a ship could always punch out if it got lost, but would need a whole lot of astro-chart crunching to figure out where it was to be able to jump anywhere else.

        And meanwhile any other ship that strayed off the beacon paths would simply be... lost.
        Radhil Trebors
        Persona Under Construction

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        • #5
          I always understood that ships with the power to create their own jumppoint still navigated using the beacons ... after all, the Cortez is capable of forming its own jump point and was still in danger of being lost in hyperspace as it drifted away from the beacon, same with Delenn's White Star after being practically destroyed by the Centauri in S5.

          The "scientific" theory underlying it is that the geography of hyperspace "corresponds" to the geography of normal space, only much smaller allowing vast distances to be travelled in a short time period. The purpose of the beacons is to provide a reference point to the geography of normal space, as there are no reference points within hyperspace itself, and therefore nothing to navigate by.

          It could be that jump engines are programmed to only allow a jump out of hyperspace where a beacon is detected. It is never addressed in the show, but it makes some sense that this might be the case.

          Alternatively, the problem with being lost in hyperspace could simply be that the beacon network marks the area of the 'normal space' galaxy that has been mapped and can be navigated, so jumping out of hyperspace when out of contact with the beacons dumps you in an uncharted and unmapped sector of space.

          Here is what the Wikipedia entry on hyperspace says under the Babylon 5 section:

          In the television show Babylon 5 (1993-1998), hyperspace is treated as an alternate dimension where the distances between spatial bodies are significantly shorter. The primary energy expenditure in hyperspace travel is the act of "jumping" into hyperspace. While in hyperspace itself, ships use their normal propulsion systems and interstellar travel is enabled by the shortened distances. Ships must either use a jumpgate, which are artificial constructs that create a rift into hyperspace, or they can have their own jump-engine. The latter is restricted to large vessels, as opening a rift requires a staggering amount of power. Jump gates are used by larger vessels whenever possible, to save energy.

          Hyperspace in Babylon 5 is utterly featureless, with no points of reference. Therefore, ships have to use the hyperspace beacon system - a network of transmitters located in known points in realspace (usually jumpgates) - in order to navigate. If a ship travels off the beacon network, it will become lost in hyperspace. Babylon 5 is slightly unusual in that ships in hyperspace require no energy fields to protect themselves, so a ship that becomes lost in hyperspace can theoretically drift forever, and be rediscovered millennia later (this has been used as a plot point). Hyperspace also has currents, which will pull a disabled ship off the beacon network in a relatively short period of time.
          The Optimist: The glass is half full
          The Pessimist: The glass is half empty
          The Engineer: The glass is twice as big as it needs to be

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          • #6
            The question that leaps instantly to my mind is, if there are beacons in hyperspace that are independent of jump gates, what are they anchored to? Do they have engines to maintain their position, or are there spots in hyperspace with no appreciable drift?

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            • #7
              Either as you say, points of no appreciable or at least cancelled out drift points, or the gates themselves can project a signal into hyperspace without the physical rift being open.
              Radhil Trebors
              Persona Under Construction

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              • #8
                Isn't it amazing the quality of answers you get around here?

                I don't think I can add much, except to agree with GH that the hyperspace network is probably limited and may only correspond to a small part of the galaxy. Even the Explorer ship Cortez was only backtracking the routes used by ancient races for millennia. Granted, just recharting the entire network could probably take decades or centuries but there will undoubtably be places where you just can't go, and those are places accessible to and from hyperspace from points off the beacon. Until someone gets ambitious and starts laying asphalt in that direction, it's off limits.

                Of course, the exception would seem to be the Shadows. In Keffer's first encounter, he said the ship wasn't following any beacon, so they may have found a better way through hyperspace but they ain't telling.

                And thanks for that last question: How do you anchor a beacon in hyperspace? Feel free to make something up. That's all we're doing.
                Only a fool fights in a burning house.

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                • #9
                  Thanks!

                  Thanks for all your help and effort everyone! You've helped alot! And re-reading your answers had made me feel babylon 5 mad all over again...
                  Why oh why did they cancel it BEFORE they solved questions like the route the shadows were following etc etc etc... Siiiggggghhh...
                  Anyway, off I go back to the real world!
                  Thanks again!
                  Huge help!
                  C
                  x

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                  • #10
                    Just a small point Xatonia
                    B5 wasn't canceleld. There was a threatened cancellation by WB so S4 had some of the threads that should have been in S5 but B5 wasn't canceleld.
                    Crusade was but the B5 tile was always meant ot be five years. B5 was [b]not[/b canceleld, it simply ended.
                    Besides there's no point in having everything solved - some mysteries must remain otherwise what would we discuss.
                    Phaze
                    on the "trying to gently explain the point of the show" ID
                    Last edited by phazedout; 01-24-2007, 02:12 AM. Reason: typo
                    "There are no good wars. War is always the worst possible way to resolve differences. It degenerates and corrupts both sides to ever more sordid levels of existence, in their need to gain an advantage over the enemy. Those actively involved in combat are almost always damaged goods for the rest of their lives. If their bodies don't bear scars, their minds do, ofttimes both. Many have said it before, but it can't be said to enough, war is hell. "

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                    • #11
                      Interesting discussion

                      ...which made me wondering: If jumpgates were 'anchored' in hyperspace (by whatever means) why wouldn't important locations have defensive measures deployed in hyperspace aroung that point? I did a search on weapons and hyperspace and came up with no reason why that would/could not be done*.

                      Combining this with the idea that hyperspace is a miniature of real space, you'd basically have a great defence system in place - covering all approaching vessels, even shadow ships.

                      What do you think?

                      *The fact that at least conventional B5 weapons can be used has been established in "A Distant Star" with Keffer firing his guns to help the Cortez.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RedFox View Post
                        Interesting discussion

                        ...which made me wondering: If jumpgates were 'anchored' in hyperspace (by whatever means) why wouldn't important locations have defensive measures deployed in hyperspace aroung that point? I did a search on weapons and hyperspace and came up with no reason why that would/could not be done*.

                        Combining this with the idea that hyperspace is a miniature of real space, you'd basically have a great defence system in place - covering all approaching vessels, even shadow ships.

                        What do you think?

                        *The fact that at least conventional B5 weapons can be used has been established in "A Distant Star" with Keffer firing his guns to help the Cortez.
                        I dunno - there's a lot of talk in B5 about 'riding the hyperspace beacon' and 'lock on signals from jumpgates', but it's never really clear, at least to me, whether these correspond to physical objects in hyperspace or signals transmitted from objects in our space into hyperspace (seemingly without the need to open a jump point).

                        The fact that conventional weapons can be used in hyperspace is even better established in Movements of Fire and Shadow, where B5's fighters destroy a Centauri warship in hyperspace before it reaches the jump gate. We also see an unmanned hyperspace probe at the beginning of A View From the Gallery. Why such a probe could not be made into a defence platform I don't know - perhaps the cost and difficulty of building and especially maintaining a permanent defence network in hyperspace is prohibitive.

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                        • #13
                          Well, just thinking: What if the "beacon" is not "fixed", but a little robot (drone), shot through a miniature Gate, transmitting data ("Ping!") and going back again. I cannot remember that there was a steady stream, and maybe a little Gate would need less energy. With a probe you also need no "fix" (of the beacon) in hyperspace. Because - to be honest - the whole idea of "anchoring" something in hyperspace kinda buggs me...

                          Another idea, what happens if you push something only partial throu a gate? So that the base is still in 3D (4D?) space, but the tip in hyperspace... if a small gate would need less energy maybe that would be feasable?

                          PeAcE
                          greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Harrdy View Post
                            Another idea, what happens if you push something only partial throu a gate? So that the base is still in 3D (4D?) space, but the tip in hyperspace... if a small gate would need less energy maybe that would be feasable?
                            When things enter hyperspace in B5, they appear to get sucked into a vortex and accelerated through a singularity before being spat out of another, corresponding vortex into hyperspace. By the time you get to the redesigned jump points in A Call to Arms, however, the whole process looks a bit less violent, so I'd be more willing to believe that something could hang half-in, half-out post 2267

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                            • #15
                              As I usually get in trouble thinking, I imperil myself:

                              It makes sense that the jump-gates are the source of the beacon. When exiting hyperspace, the ship will activate the gate at the beacon location.

                              Memory being faulty at best department: When a jump-capable ship exits on its own power, usually the 'navigator' in many instances would declare "We are just off the so-and-so beacon".

                              If a beacon were not necessary, the Cortez could have exited hyperspace at any time, maybe lost a billion light years from home. But they would not be lost forever in hyperspace, which appears to be the fate of ships losing the lock-on. The hyperspace engine must 'need' a beacon lock-on nearby to work at all.
                              John Brittain
                              2blueshoes.com for free blues downloads

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