Thursday, October 4, 2012

Voyage with Glory into Infinity

From the writings of  Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann, 

designer of the
and the Torch Long-Passage Ships

Hubble Photograph
There is only room for one man on the Phæton. Only one – but in he is in great comfort. The man who is outward bound on the Phæton has just retired healthy and athletic. A minor scientist, ex-pilot, excellent engineer, he is 60 years old but from a long lived family, and without close relatives. In his younger days he served three missions alone, including one in the Antarctic (18 months), and a highly commendable (4 year) mission on Pluto’s moon, served all alone and worth a footnote in history.

He will pilot the first starship; he will do it alone, with a little luck he will be the first human to come close to not just one, but a number of stars. He will never return, but he will be remembered, cherished, and enshrined in mankind’s history books.

The supplies he carries are ample to the point of luxury. 100 tons at 10 pounds a day will suffice for 20,000 days or 50 years. In addition, he has machinery with the capacity to recycle air, water, and food such that, at worst, he need consume only one pound of stores per day. His recycling equipment has a total mass of about 50 tons. The recyclers are triply redundant; furthermore he has a shop and tools for repair work.

The retired explorer-engineer’s quarters are not only large, but also structured interestingly. They are so skillfully planned that it will be years before he immediately recognizes every twist, turn, passage, room, and gangway. His air supply exists in his quarters as an atmosphere, and in solid storage. The mass of his atmosphere is about 100 tons including free and stored air.

It is most unlikely that he will ever land, yet his vehicle is equipped with a small aerospace plane. It could land on an airless moon, asteroid, or comet, or enter an atmosphere, and even take off, ascend, accelerate, and return into space. He is equipped with four space suits.

The small but artistically planned quarters have five gardens, and eight planted areas that might be called flower gardens. The ship carries 5 tons of plants and plant nutrients. The tonnage is sufficient to recycle oxygen and collect noxious dusts for 100 persons. The old explorer-engineer will forever have a great surplus of vegetables, fruits, citrus fruits, avocados, catfish, and chicken. His little farms and flower gardens are free of earthly pests; they will do, and will thrive.

Entertainments are multiple, including libraries of video, audio, participating-simulations, and events beamed from earth. And he has plenty of time.


Duncan-Enzmann was interviewed 
and featured in Analog magazine, October 1973. 

A painting by Don Davis with Duncan-Enzmann 
showing the "Rainbow Glory" of the Echo-Lance Starship.

For more about and from Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann visit his website: 

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