Let’s clarify what my rocket is:
Now here’s something I’ve neglected that also makes this game a hoot. The SCIENCE! So let’s sit back and engage our imaginations for a bit.
Tied to our rocked is a 115 meter ring of concentric circles made out of Hafnium Carbide. These bad boys can withstand up to 2400K of heat (2126C or 3860F), so pointing it at the sun in a vaccuum is no problem. The heat is transferred to water which separates to Oxygen and Hydrogen and we use the Oxygen to make our Convicts not die, and the Hydrogen as propellant at 2.6kN, which is 564 pounds of force.
Inside that, we have our living quarters and then storage area for our:
Robonaut, which is a long flat machine that houses a humungous series of lasers which are actually series of buckyball created nanotubes so that each one will shoot out an individual photon at 60MW power with a changeable wavelength so you can “dial in” what kind of metal or element you need. That’s small, powerful and useful! When these photons smash into a solid, the metals are photoelectrically separated, it’s “easy” to snatch them up and use them in your refineries. Speaking of which:
Our refinery is a fluidized bed, where after the separation above, the regolith can be shot with the liquid at such a velocity, the solid begins acting like a liquid itself, then through acid leaching, carbonyl CVD, vacuum high temperature heating you can form these metals into what you need it to be. Like more stuff for spaceships.
But how do you run all this stuff?
Firstly we have our Cascading Thermoacoustic Generator, which uses heat from a radiator (and we’re making some heat with our Robonaut, and it can even use itself to make some heat, so it only operates at 30% efficiency) and converts that heat to sound waves. Sounds hot, huh? Yet it can make 60MW of energy by doing so!
Of course we also need a bit of a kick to get that Generator going, so we have a Fast-Neutron Fission Reactor powering it. This does exactly what it sounds like, it pumps neutrons and starts a chain reaction of 235U atoms to split and release energy. The really awesome part of this particular bit, is you can use the heat generated on hydrogen (used in the processed) and vent it out as thruster fuel, which it does with 94% energy efficiency.
Finally in order to not blow up, we need to make sure this heat goes some where that is not our delicate electronics, so we again use Buckytubes (which are rings of “Buckyballs,” single flat layers of Carbon rings tied together to make a Platonic Solid and then formed into a long tube by sticking a whole bunch of those together) which touch the wickedly hot fluid cooling all of our instruments, and then swing out into space to cool off, only to return seconds later. About 12,000 of these things are constantly in motion, but they are small and braided together in places so that they can’t be destroyed by a micro-meteor hit. If this is the first thing viewed through an alien telescope, it probably would look wicked, especially if they saw in the Infra-red. Red hot tentacles whipping out into space, cooling, then whipping back in only to get hot again.
And that’s what we learn just by playing this game. It never hurts to pause and read the cards you have, and also read the Resource Guide to get into the hard and fast numbers.