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Old 02-09-2017, 08:14 AM   #1
marvin
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cydonia
Default Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

I was think of doing a GURPS Dying Mars/Space 1889 crossover with something like Red Storm Rising.

So the gist is that...

Ancient Artifact somehow transfers every other inner planet, Vulcan, Venus, Mars from a steam punk setting to a more modern year during the late Cold War. For simplicity's sake lets say 1973 (last year of Vietnam and a year after the last Apollo mission).

So my questions are...

How long would it take Earth to notice the difference? I'd imagine that would occur rather quickly.

How quickly could we send a manned mission to each of these planets?

Assuming a slightly modified Space 1889 setting for the Steampunk worlds; how would the Europeans on these planets fare until the Earth nations re-establish contact?

(NOTES: No Ether in space though I would be open to a sudden advancement in nuclear plasma propulsion.)

Thank you very much.
Benjamin
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:37 AM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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Originally Posted by marvin View Post
I was think of doing a GURPS Dying Mars/Space 1889 crossover with something like Red Storm Rising.

So the gist is that...

Ancient Artifact somehow transfers every other inner planet, Vulcan, Venus, Mars from a steam punk setting to a more modern year during the late Cold War. For simplicity's sake lets say 1973 (last year of Vietnam and a year after the last Apollo mission).

So my questions are...

How long would it take Earth to notice the difference? I'd imagine that would occur rather quickly.

How quickly could we send a manned mission to each of these planets?
An amateur with even a small telescope could probably detect the difference the first time he looked. Even just the atmosphere would change how things looked. Real canals would be noticed as well as cities and so on. One day would be quite possible for Mars. If your Steampunk Venus is still cloud covered it'd be the last one to have its' change confirmed.

Spend as much money as you like but it'd be at least a decade before manned missions could go anywhere and they'd be small at first. Possibly for a significant period of time as well. Realistic space flight is just hard.

I'd give it 2 years for an unmanned flyby also. The Viking landings could probably happen as scheduled in 1976, maybe with altered instrument packages..
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:19 AM   #3
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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If your Steampunk Venus is still cloud covered it'd be the last one to have its' change confirmed.
Steampunk planetary romance Venus is presumably much cooler than the current one. That change in temperature would be easily noticeable. (Astronomers were debating how far down in the atmosphere of Venus they were measuring temperatures even back in the 1920s.)

The real variable there is whether anyone was bothering to look. But there are amateur astronomer groups that routinely observe Venus (and other planets) in the UV and IR as well as visible light. For the professionals, ESA's Venus Express is still in orbit and operational (I think; it was last summer), Japan has Atasuki in orbit (after some travails), and it would notice a change in the atmosphere, as that's its main object of study.

I'd also put a from-scratch flyby mission at a couple of years. It could be done faster if there were some obvious urgency. If it's just "hey, the inner planets seem different, lets' build a probe", it's just another space mission, even if it is the one on top of the list. Not just the probe but the rocket is essentially built to order. If, on the other hand, Earth is getting radio transmissions in English from Venus, things will move quicker. (Radio seems post-steampunk to me, but everyone has their own definition. And maybe you can think of another way they'd get attention.)
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:53 AM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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But there are amateur astronomer groups that routinely observe Venus (and other planets) in the UV and IR as well as visible light. For the professionals, ESA's Venus Express is still in orbit and operational (I think; it was last summer), Japan has Atasuki in orbit (after some travails), and it would notice a change in the atmosphere, as that's its main object of study.
You seem to be thinking about _current_ activities in re Venus. I was working from the suggested change date of 1973. There was nothing orbiting Venus in 1973.

Well, nothing of ours anyway. A Steampunk Venus could have (and use) a moon. Something dark and small (but probably dense) to help stabilize things and reduce the solar tidal drag problem.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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The real variable there is whether anyone was bothering to look.
If nothing else, Mariner 10 would be planned to flyby Venus in Feb, 1974. Possible if the change in Mars was noted and Venus was not the hardware could have been repurposed, I guess.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:01 AM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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If nothing else, Mariner 10 would be planned to flyby Venus in Feb, 1974. Possible if the change in Mars was noted and Venus was not the hardware could have been repurposed, I guess.
There's no real question about Mars. That's a nightly object for thousands of professionals, students and amateurs. I was looking at Mars through an 8 inch Celestron in my Astronomy lab class in 1977.

By contrast they never had us look at Venus. Not much to see with simple optical telescopes in our world.
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:41 AM   #7
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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Originally Posted by marvin View Post
Assuming a slightly modified Space 1889 setting for the Steampunk worlds; how would the Europeans on these planets fare until the Earth nations re-establish contact?

(NOTES: No Ether in space though I would be open to a sudden advancement in nuclear plasma propulsion.)
With the colonials stranded and much of their technology no longer usable, I would predict a native uprising and the concatenate massacres.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
marvin
 
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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Spend as much money as you like but it'd be at least a decade before manned missions could go anywhere and they'd be small at first. Possibly for a significant period of time as well. Realistic space flight is just hard.

I'd give it 2 years for an unmanned flyby also. The Viking landings could probably happen as scheduled in 1976, maybe with altered instrument packages..
I think with the Atlas V still in production and a revived NERVA we might be able to get to Mars in less than 5 years.
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Old 02-09-2017, 02:49 PM   #9
marvin
 
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

What if NASA did a mission like envisioned in Baxter's "Voyage" but powered by NERVA? That would give us a pretty good look at Venus on the way towards Mars.

Given how long it would take to get a 'modern' presence on Mars; yes the natives may be able to wipe out the humans there. I don't want that so I might have the 'modern' Earth be an alternate as well.

Perhaps I'll use Red Rocket's Glare by J. Edward Tremlett (Pyramid 3/20, June '10.). That setting would go well with an alternate "Red Storm Rising" as well.
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Old 02-09-2017, 03:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steampunk Mars/ Cold War crossover

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How quickly could we send a manned mission to each of these planets?

Assuming a slightly modified Space 1889 setting for the Steampunk worlds; how would the Europeans on these planets fare until the Earth nations re-establish contact?
In 1973, it would probably be possible to get Saturn V production going again. With a bunch of those and an Earth Orbit Rendezvous setup with a NERVA stage, a manned Mars mission is doable, but quite risky. It would probably take something like ten years.

However, communication would be established in a few weeks by heliograph. The colonists on Mars will immediately notice their normal heliograph traffic has stopped, and if the have a view of Earth's nightside will see that there's a lot more city lighting than they're used to seeing. They'll probably start flashing their biggest heliograph to see if they can make any contact, and someone will see it very quickly.

So Earth will have a fair idea what's happened long before any space missions can be sent. Since communications secrecy is impractical, the Soviet bloc will know what's going on as well as the West and the Space Race will restart. The N1 project will have to shape up pretty fast, though.
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