What would real alien spaceships look like?


Creative Writer
An article on The Register talks to someone who claims to have an interest in the subject looking at popular media representations of alien spacecraft throughout the decades and looks into the details that are so variable that in the event of contact, we may see the familiar, or may not. It opens up a debate that at least gets people thinking and somewhat educates on points.

What should a sci-fi spaceship REALLY look like?
I can't remember the author/name of series of novels right now where a generation ship was out there with a giant asteroid stuck to the front of it, to provide protection against impacts/radiation. It seems to me that we could put factories in orbit/solar system, sweep "useful" asteroids out of the asteroid belt for that purpose and set off. Ugly, but useful!
Well, we can follow Earth's own standard and extrapolate. The 'Spacecraft' would either be very fast or a generational ship. In either case it must have life support, food, and fuel for the round trip. These spaceships may end up being massive. When looking at aircraft carriers, we can see that these floating cities have increased in size allowing them to stay 'independent' for longer periods of time. Submarines also increased in size to facilitate longer missions. Even though computer systems shrink, auxiliary systems do not. Food needs a certain area to be grown or stored. Perhaps future craft will use 'electronic' thrusters and Ion drives, these still will draw on some internal power source. Just my thoughts anyway.
Massive indeed! If you have an asteroid stuck to the front of a ship,the ship itself doesn't have to be as complicated as you'd think. It can be modular and joined together by tunnels, dug into the asteroid. This would help maintaining individual climate controls and reduce the risk of accident/fire damage becoming a life ender.

The real threat of particle impact and radiation mean that without adequate shield or warp technology, those generation ships need something foolproof. Where we see scifi showing these technological features, how many people think, "well, there's power source driving it all, and if the power source fails for a few seconds/minutes, what are the chances everyone is going to be vaporised?" I don't think many people do.

A large frontal mass could provide a base for scooping what little matter there is out there to provide fuel for the engine chosen. Smaller factory/robot ships could launch from the base and scoop fuel and elements needed from planets/asteroids in the path of the generation ship.

Governing a generation ship is a problem, little problems become huge issues. These isolated communities provide good story telling. I guess we're due some more novels on this subject since the world we live in is changing so much right now. I like to think of a lot of scifi as tranplanting current social issues into an alternate place/time, much like Shakespeare did with some of his plays. Although his reasons for doing so may have had something to do with avoiding having being executed for lambasting royalty and the upper class :smiley:
In star trek the borg have cube ships because in space you don't need to think about aerodynamics or wind resistance but with this design the ship would handle terrible so it would be good for mass transit but no for war,
'Mso I think they would use a ship like the deviant in ds9,
What ever the shape they will need some kind of deflector space is full of rocks as dust & at any type of speed they would rip through you like bullets