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stillakid
03-04-2002, 01:51 PM
This must have been brought up before, so forgive me for repeating it, but while playing around with a design for a globe-like Death Star playset, I got to wondering where the Death Star's engines are.

We never really see the "darkside" of the station, only the dangerous end. Does it have a bunch of Star Destroyer-like exhausts on the unseen side or does the operator "fold space" like they do in DUNE?

Jargo
03-04-2002, 07:46 PM
As I've always understood it, there's thrusters spaced equidistantly around the equator. But I don't have any books to hand with blueprints that people have done. I know that Dorling Kindersley's incredible cross sectins book has a great gatefold diagram of the inside and the workings of the death star from ANH. But i can't recall whether or not they answered the thruster question.

given that there's no up or down in space, the best plan would be to have them spaced equidistantly all over the surface of the death star for omnidirectional flexibility of movement. They wouldn't need to be large, just plentiful.

hope that sounds plausible. Death star design isn't my forte..... :rolleyes:

JediTricks
03-04-2002, 09:06 PM
Yes, that's where they are, both the sublight and hyperdrive engines are the equator of the death star. I've always kinda thought that the Special Edition "Star Trek explosion ring" was from the engines, since technically, the explosion should have been an omni-directional sphere, not just 2-dimensional.

LTBasker
03-04-2002, 09:09 PM
Seems a good theory, but I always just thought that Leia just got out and pushed when she was there. :D

stillakid
03-04-2002, 10:31 PM
Originally posted by JediTricks
Yes, that's where they are, both the sublight and hyperdrive engines are the equator of the death star. I've always kinda thought that the Special Edition "Star Trek explosion ring" was from the engines, since technically, the explosion should have been an omni-directional sphere, not just 2-dimensional.


I always wondered about that silly ring as well.

But, although the Death Star is an sphere without a "true" front or back or sides, they could still arbitrarily choose which end would "lead" as it hurtles through space. With equidistant thrusters, some drunk Stormtroopers could start spinning the thing all willy-nilly. I kinda figured that since we never see the back end, that's maybe where they were.

A related question that I've always had is in regards to the battle above Endor. Why didn't the doomed Rebel fleet retreat to the rear of the Death Star, where the giant gun of dread wasn't instead of heading to the nearby mobile weapons called Star Destroyers?

LTBasker
03-05-2002, 02:01 AM
It might've taken too long, they had to protect the fleet and stay away from the shield, had they moved away from the Imperial fleet they would've been a little more vulnerable...

Jargo
03-05-2002, 06:46 AM
Because that would have placed them between the death star and the forest moon. better to head for deep space than to get caught in the gravitational pull as the thing exploded and the fragments are dragged toward Endor.

My, I'm turning into a real know it all bar bore... :rolleyes: No i really have no idea. i just assume that that's the way you'd think in such a situation. If the Ds was only partially blown apart there's going to be huge chunks of debris you wouldn't want raining about your ears in a fragile little fighter. The shockwave would have been bad enough in open space but that close to the planet it would have knocked the ships all over the place and if the ships got caught in the gravitational pull and drawn down through the atmosphere at the wrong trajectory. it's goodnight vienna for the pilots and crews. :D

I never understood why the Imperial ships didn't retreat from the DS if the possibility of destruction was nigh. Some of those admirals must have sensed what was going to happen and thought "hang on a minute....." I'd have been off with the star destroyer to a nice quiet nebula somewhere to sit out the storm.

JEDIpartner
03-05-2002, 07:48 AM
I recall seeing a large port on the bottom of the Death Star in several illustrations. I'm pretty sure that was never show in the films. Maybe it was a Marvel Comics-type "we took the liberty to put that there" kind of thing", but I remember seeing that a few times.

El Chuxter
03-05-2002, 02:09 PM
I think they didn't try for the "dark side of the Death Star" because of the way the shield was energized (assuming the Rebel diagram was correct. Remember that there's a pretty long shaft of shield energy between the generator on Endor and the Death Star.

E-Jargo's explanation is also plausible, and I'd like to expand on it a tad if I may. The Death Star is certainly big enough to generate its own gravity, and is very close to Endor. Flying between two such gravity sources would tax the skills of even a Han Solo or Anakin Skywalker.

And speaking of gravity, is it possible the Death Star used gravity well projectors for propulsion?

Jargo
03-05-2002, 03:02 PM
Is that the science of using its own mass and the artificial gravity it creates to act as a means of propulsion? not quite sure I understand what you mean there Chux. Is this a real world theory or a star trek one? I've heard the term but not the methodology. Could you extrapolate please? :)

stillakid
03-05-2002, 03:04 PM
Originally posted by El Chuxter
I think they didn't try for the "dark side of the Death Star" because of the way the shield was energized (assuming the Rebel diagram was correct. Remember that there's a pretty long shaft of shield energy between the generator on Endor and the Death Star.




But take a look at page 97 of The Art of Return of the Jedi (I'm sure you all have it!) It's a picture of the matte painting they used when Vader's shuttle lands on Endor. The primary gun of the Death Star is clearly facing the planet (moon, whatever). I'd have to cue up the shot in ROTJ when the Rebel fleet comes out of hyperspace to see which way the DS was facing at that point, but I believe that it is still rotated toward the moon (meaning, the primary weapon faces the moon). Essentially, however, I think that anytime we see the DS, it is situated in such a way to avoid showing the "back side."

(as an aside, it was always silly for the heroes on Tyderium to have to get permission to deactivate the shield for them to land on Endor. The shield was protecting the Death Star, not the moon.)

stillakid
03-05-2002, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by EMPEROR JARGO
Is that the science of using its own mass and the artificial gravity it creates to act as a means of propulsion? not quite sure I understand what you mean there Chux. Is this a real world theory or a star trek one? I've heard the term but not the methodology. Could you extrapolate please? :)


The larger the mass of an object, the more "gravity" it exerts on the fabric of space. Imagine that time worn example of placing a ball on a stretched sheet. First take a stretched sheet which represents unfettered "space." Now drop a baseball on it. It creates a "curved" space in which other objects can become trapped in orbit around it. Keep dropping larger balls on it, like a bowling ball, and the "gravity well" keeps getting larger as it stretches the fabric of space more and more. Eventually, if the object is massive enough, it will be able to trap even light within it's influence (otherwise known as a black hole).

The idea of moving through space/time using a gravity well system, as far as I understand it (someone will correct my mistakes I'm sure :) ) involves having the object gain "mass" thus increasing it's "pressure" on the fabric of space. If the Universe has properties which resemble a "curved" structure, then the massive object could drop it into another "area" of space and thus cut the travel time to moments instead of eons.

For a visual, imagine some bread dough that is rolled out like it is getting ready to become French bread. Put yourself in this imaginary spacecraft in one end of that loaf. With ordinary propulsion, it would take eons to go in a straight line to get to the other side of the loaf. Now take that floppy elongated dough and fold it over onto itself. Now you've got two sides that used to be really far from each other actually touching, putting your start point and the destination really close to each other. The trouble is, you'll have to "tear" through the established fabric of space/time to get to point B.

This gets into some very high end physics that you can blame Einstein for, but the theory is there. How to make it happen is another story altogether. It's actually more plausible than propelling a spaceship at a speed faster than light. But maybe they made it happen a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. (cheesy end, I know, but what the heck.) :)

Jargo
03-05-2002, 03:29 PM
But in order to land near the generator on the moon they had to get through the tight shield matrix. otherwise they would have had to land kilometers away and that would have taken too long to complete the mission. the closer they landed the less conspicuous they would look. by following as close to imperial protocols as possible they stood a better chance of bluffing their way past the 'blockade'. I've attached a movie still as the B-wings fly toward the ds. I'm pretty sure this is just after they come out of hyperspace as it's about the only time we get to see b-wings in the battle at all.

odb
03-05-2002, 03:40 PM
I seem to recall from a book (I can't remember which one), all the engines on the Death Star are on the equator in the trench.

If someone has the films handy just to check my memory is right, in ANH when the Death Star approaches Alderaan we see it moving away from the camera but we can clearly see the big dish on it. This would mean that the engines are all round the DS.

I think the reason for a lack of B-wings in the ROTJ battle sequence is that they cut the sequence at the last minute because of budget reasons, but it makes you wonder why they didn't put in the Special Edition.

Jargo
03-05-2002, 04:04 PM
Oh, i was only showing the B-wings in order to show stillakid which way the dish was facing when the rebels came out of hyperspace and attacked.

They never used the B-wings because the wings looked invisible in the battle tests they did. They just didn't work. I'm sure that in one of george's revised versions we'll see them used more. I always wondered about how a B-wing could have stress placed on it's wings in space as the EU technical stuff states. Something about how the B-wing is a weakened craft because of this. In space there isn't any stress as there's no gravity. In an atmosphere it wouldn't have any more stress put on it than an X-wing fighters wings. Silly stuff again.....

Back to the death star...............

odb
03-05-2002, 04:18 PM
I'm sorry Jargo if you thought I was critising you but I wasn't. I didn't know that the problem with them was that their wings didn't show up. I just thought they ran out of time and money doing the attacks on the Star Destroyers.

Back to the DS. I found that book and it seems the DS moves by Ion drives round the equatorial trench for sublight maneovers while it is also fitted with a hyperdrive system. I think this is standard on both Death Stars.

Anyway it all from the EU so it up to you if you take it seriously or not, as Jargo points out with thestresses on the B-wings.

stillakid
03-05-2002, 04:57 PM
Do we see them when in ANH when Luke is hurtling down the trench?

Jargo
03-05-2002, 05:22 PM
Well it whizzes by so fast....:crazed:

probably. but it's just sort of cruising isn't it, not all fired up for long haul flight. *shrugs* it's such a curious shape to build a space station anyway. logic tells us that it should be like a star trek borg cube. if the floors are layed out in layers. They'd have to have such huge gravity controls to keep everything going on the one plane. All stacked on top of each other in wafers of floors and decks. but stil coming out perpendicular to the death star from docking bays at the top of the station... hmmmm. Or are all the docking bays also on the equator? That's a mighty safe place to put your docking bays, right among the thrusters and weapons. like I say, a really weird design. Floats like a hamster ball stings like a.....

If the gravity is generated from the reactor, then surely it would be some sort of magnetic gravity. this would mean that for a vessel of that size the umph factor would be collosal and the crew would get sick from magnetic radiation. not to mention the pitfalls of having chasms and chambers without safety rails and all that stuff. Doors that close in the blink of an eye and immense crushing power.

Strange, very strange...

El Chuxter
03-05-2002, 05:42 PM
Thanks for explaining that, stillakid, because I don't know if I could.

I think I read somewhere that the Death Star turns once the shield goes down, because there was a contingency plan to blow up Endor and either A) die but take out a lot of Rebels, or B) hope the Death Star holds up through or can escape the blast. Which would explain its orientation in the last shots from Endor.

BTW, Jargo, have you read "A Death Star Is Born" from the Star Wars Tales series? Very amusing stuff about Tarkin's proposal to Palpatine and Vader. At one point, the Emperor points out all the chasms and asks if railing can be installed, but changes his mind when he hears the cost.

Jargo
03-05-2002, 06:32 PM
Yeah Chux, I read that when it came out. very funny but unfortunately I didn't buy it and now have a gap in my 'tales' collection :(

is it just coincidence that the DS is facing the planet? We know that it turns while Palpy and luke are having their chat, the starfield moves across screen through the portal behind them. Could this gentle rotation be the gravity mechanism?
Just a thought.
Maybe it's a nice coincidence for the Imperials but surely they can't have planned it if they thought that they were going to win? It's not like the Imperials could be accused of a lack of confidence is it? :D

thanks for the explanation stillakid, for some reason i completely bypassed that response earlier. Yeah, I watched a lecture on TV a couple of years ago that explained all that really well. i now know where you're going with it but I think that's a bit too star trek 'warp factor eight!' for star wars. great theory though stretching the world like a rubber band to cross the Atlantic would be great. I suppose that's the time travel theory too. you'd just stretch things the other way to arrive before you left....... :confused: getting a bit too involved in this now. back off Jargo - back off.... :crazed:

chewie
03-05-2002, 06:34 PM
If space makes everything weightless, including a several hundred or thousand kilometer in diameter space station, how much of thrust power does a weightless, yet huge, space station require? A space station would never need planetary escape velocity capable engines, only engines powerful enough to keep it from being affected by the gravity of other large objects in space.

If this is the case, I can understand not ever seeing the engines on the death star. It just didn't need very big ones.

As for the rotation of the death star at the end of RotJ, I would imagine that would have something to do with the model makers not creating a backside or full underside of the station. :)

stillakid
03-05-2002, 09:46 PM
Originally posted by chewie
If space makes everything weightless, including a several hundred or thousand kilometer in diameter space station, how much of thrust power does a weightless, yet huge, space station require? A space station would never need planetary escape velocity capable engines, only engines powerful enough to keep it from being affected by the gravity of other large objects in space.



Take the Space Shuttle for a quick example. It's thrusters work, not because they are pushing against anything external to the ship, rather the force of the escaping energy itself is pushing back against the ship. The larger the object, the more energy it will take to move it. That's why the Earth itself doesn't go rocketing out in a variety of directions everytime we send a missle into the sky. So, while an X-Wing has relatively small thrust requirements, a Star Destroyer requires much larger engines as does something the size of the Death Star. One large engine (exhaust, actually) would do the same as, say, several thousand little ones on the space station, but they'd all have to be facing the same direction.

EJ, you summed up the "oddness" of the DS design nicely. I'd casually thought of the internal gravity problem before, but not to that extent. But, hey, in a universe where Midichlorians are possible, who can tell anymore?:)

LTBasker
03-06-2002, 02:29 AM
Originally posted by El Chuxter
I think they didn't try for the "dark side of the Death Star" because of the way the shield was energized (assuming the Rebel diagram was correct. Remember that there's a pretty long shaft of shield energy between the generator on Endor and the Death Star.


Remember, there are 2 sides to it, no one said they had to go between the DS and the planet, they could've gone on the otherside but like I said had they moved away from the Imperial Fleet they would've probably been more vulnerable and the DS could've been turned to blast them down 1 by 1 or it could've blasted them while they were making the trip.

good shot jansen
03-07-2002, 07:41 AM
and indeed the sub-light ion engine drives, as well as the hyper drive engines are contained within the equatorial trench. i'm 'summin' it's interspersed between all the docking bays, and other elements contained as well within the trench.

the nice thing about this design, is that it allows the death star to move in any given direction with out having to steer the thing to go in the path you wish.

due to it's immense size (particularly at the circumference), it must rely on the enormous amount of engines which would be present in order to move this massive iron ball!

JediTricks
03-07-2002, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by good shot jansen
the nice thing about this design, is that it allows the death star to move in any given direction with out having to steer the thing to go in the path you wish.What about up and down? It is a spacecraft after all, so it'll need to move in 3 dimensions. (Though to be quite fair, it's plain the darn thing isn't exactly pulling tight maneuvers at high speeds chasing down an X-wing. ;))

stillakid
03-07-2002, 07:30 PM
You're right about the 3 dimensions, but the issue of tight "banking" in space is kinda silly. The only reason an airplane "banks" the way it does is because of air currents and the way the wings work with the rudder system. In space, it would take a variety of thrusters placed all over the ship to create that effect that the X-Wings exhibit.

Jargo
03-07-2002, 09:36 PM
And they certainly wouldn't be zipping all ovr the place like dragonflies would they. But it is after all only science fiction......

See to turn in space you'd need lots of teeny thrusters spaced equidistantly all over the surface like I said oh - about seven posts ago... :D

Not to mention the very silly death star laser. several seperate beams converging at a point to become just one beam? I'd like to see someone do that. That makes for some interesting new physics don't it? :eek: :confused: :)

LTBasker
03-07-2002, 11:07 PM
Actually right now for small jet air craft a new thruster design in development in which actually steers the thruster into a new direction allowing the aircraft to turn in ways that are impossible currently on other aircraft. If this was also used in space, it would lessen the number of manuevering jets needed because all they'd have to do is steer the thruster into the new position.

stillakid
03-08-2002, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by EMPEROR JARGO
That makes for some interesting new physics don't it? :eek: :confused: :)

Has anyone else ever noticed that the gravity on every planet is precisely the same!

Thanks everybody, and Jargo, for helping clear this up for me. What other questions can I conjure up to bide the time until we can start in on Ep II? :D