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Post Earth Saga
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Datafile - FTL
Last Updated: 2008-10-13

The FTL system is a mechanism which allows ships to travel faster than the speed of light, once thought to be a universal speed limit.

Contents
1.  Wormhole Drive
2.  FTL
3.  FTL2
4.  Safety Concerns


Wormhole Drive


Wormhole drives were the first systems investigated for travelling faster than light. The theory was that with the creation of a somewhat stable wormhole for a few seconds a ship could jump instantly from one point in the galaxy to another.

The technology was tested and refined on a large test ship. The drive itself was huge and required enormous amounts of power, the only ships it could be realistically be fitted to were coloniser ships. The first ship with the drive fitted successfully founded its colony (though it was only when later FTL systems became available that anyone was able to confirm this). With the believed successful founding a second ship was built, only to have the drive fail spectacularly, destroying the ship and killing all its inhabitants.

It was then assumed that the first colony could have met with the same fate and the wormhole technology was deemed too dangerous for use anywhere. It had previously been declared too dangerous for use in atmosphere when a test of a jump from atmosphere to space sucked a large quantity of Venus' atmosphere into the vacuum of space. It was deemed fortunate that the test had not been carried out on a terraformed world.

FTL


Modern faster than light travel is achieved by submerging the ship into subspace by means of a distortion field (so called because of the effect it has on the view from the ship) that envelops the ship. The early FTL drives only partially submerged the ships, which allowed for flight times little faster than the speed of light, although this was still significantly faster than conventional means of transport would allow.

The first commercial FTL systems were produced in 1223PE by the developers Sol Shipyards.

The technology actually relies on the ship's conventional thrusters for propulsion, the ship actually travels through subspace with the distortion field as its link to reality. Because of this the design of the ship and its propulsion system still have a bearing on how fast it can actually travel with the FTL system engaged. Tests failed to find any top speed limit for travel in subspace, although interaction between the two realities through the distortion field did limit how fast an object could travel while maintaining a link to reality. It was deemed unsafe to travel in subspace without this link as a fault with the drive system could potentially leave people stranded in subspace with no way back out.

FTL2


The more modern FTL2 system was developed between 3271PE and 3276PE, with the first drive tests taking place in 3274PE. Research had shown that the earlier FTL system only partially submerged an object in subspace, and so a team of developers at Sol Shipyards set about trying to correct the mistakes in the existing drive system to fully submerge the ships in subspace.

Their experiments proved successful and lead to the development of the FTL2 system which reduced travel time across the galaxy to potentially a matter of months.

Safety Concerns


It was discovered that when coming into contact with an object in real space the distortion field around a ship would collapse causing the destruction of the ship inside. This lead to a mapping project conducted to attempt to record all of the stars and planetary bodies in the galaxy. The project began by compiling information on all the inhabited systems, and then designing the FTL drive system to communicate with the ship's scanners to ascertain information on the planetary systems of any system it came into contact with. This data would then be reported home when it detected a base that would supply an updated galactic map and receive the information that the drive reported in. A project that was thought could take until the end of the universe was shrunk dramatically as more ships containing the FTL system were manufactured and travelled through space.

For safety purposes the drives were designed to not allow travel into the heart of a system, and would place the ship at the outside of the system where it would perform a scan of other ships and objects before allowing a further use to travel to a destination within system. With these safeties engaged ships mostly travel in straight lines from system to system, never travelling through another system en route but sometimes having to stop and reorient to avoid objects in the direct flight path.

Some of the busier systems have banned all FTL use within the confines of their outer planets due to the number of accidents taking place when performing in-system FTL travel.
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