Excaliba Program Overview 

In the year 2005 A.D., the Scientific Research Foundation  began formal operations and signaled a whole new era in  technological progress. The first two years yielded many  innovative products and processes. Cancer was "cured"  using krysotyping - a method of developing a bio-image of  any cell structure. The bio-image is then inversed to  create an absolute negative representation of the original  structure, which when introduced to the original, causes  the two structure pairs to neutralize each others effects.  Thus, cancer cells become benign tissue. But that's all  beside the point of this overview.  

Another development was ion-based power generation  technology (IPG). This breakthrough spawned dozens of  other subsequent programs: the Multi-Environment  Transport, closed-loop power supplies, nucleostatic field  applications, the M-1000 supercomputer, and the ultimate  Foundation offspring - Excaliba.  

Excaliba is a name for a whole group of internal project  divisions concerned with universal space exploration. The  grandest of the projects is the transport starship  Excaliba - a vehicle designed for extended closed  environment transportation and exploration of space. This  vehicle houses the results of the most complex of the  Foundation projects including the M-2000 multi-processor,  neodynum laser technology, closed-system environmental  simulations, focused ion beam deflectors, and  inertial/gravity compensation systems.  

Manned by a crew of twenty men and women (the exact ratio  of which I have yet to figure out), the Excaliba can  travel at extended hyper-light speeds indefinitely after  initial power-up. The theoretical warping of time caused  by such high speed travel mandates that the Foundation be  reorganized before departure to establish a new  administration (half of the old one would be on-board the  Excaliba). The Foundation personnel can then spend their  time developing the next step in medical technology - the  extension of the human life span while the Excaliba is  away. When the Excaliba returns to Earth one thousand or  so years later, the Foundation personnel would still be  around to greet the returning Excaliba crew.  

The Excaliba will be facing many different environments  through which it must carry its human crew unscathed. By  preparing it for the many varied environments found on the  Earth, we can hope to meet the demands of most others  encountered during the voyage. Preparations will be made  for deep sea, high altitude, space, and high-speed ground  travel. The Excaliba must be made impervious to all forms  of radiation and matter, either by material design or  radiated defense. The primary goal of Excaliba is to  simply search for and index mass information, wherever it  may lie, throughout the universe. Some have spoken of  space exploration in the light of some kind of  colonization attempt; this is far from the initial  purposes of Excaliba. Just as the Foundation serves as an  information source to the Earth, likewise Excaliba can  serve as a source to the universe (or some part thereof  that hasn't gotten around to seeing the rest of the  place). Excaliba will be one of the potential developers  of the "Encyclopedia Galactica."  

In the vast reaches of the humanly unexplored universe  there have been postulates concerning the probability of  discovering other intelligent life among the stars. This  would be nice to prove true. As in many sci-fi epics,  Excaliba is a representative from Earth and in turn  becomes a representative of each new world observed to  each new encounter. Hopefully, there aren't many other  beings which have the same hangups about "invaders from  outer space." In that situation, comes the explanation of  why the Excaliba is armed with collimator neodynum lasers.  But we aren't coming to "take over" by any means. We're  just observers 

Omnipsychologists if you will.  

I often wonder about landing gear systems on the  Excaliba. It would seem sensible to allow for land, sea,  and whatever else we might find ourselves sitting on, or  in for that matter. But anti-gravity suspension could be  equally plausible, and obviate the need for heavy-duty  landing struts and the like. Then there's the method of  getting people from inside the ship to whatever is outside  of the ship, without breaching the closed- system  environment. Since I haven't spent a lot of time looking  into entry systems, I'll probably leave that design  section to another expert.  

Interfacing with the M-2000 on board is in a similar  qualitative analysis stage. I'm fond of novel ideas like  direct-thought I/O transfer, but am also keen on  voice-command processing and other more conventional forms  of I/O (including keyboards!). The output part of the  scheme is slowly coming together; my thoughts center on  some kind of feminine voice command acknowledgement with  real-time screen graphic monitoring. Graphic printers and  other hard copy devices are still necessary. Some things  are best kept simple I suppose.  

The applications of the M-2000 are better defined. It  will: 1) control environmental systems (breathing mixtures,  waste management, lighting, sound, inertial/gravitational  compensation, food systems, temperature, etc.), 2) provide  all navigation/propulsion system control and monitoring  (including engine, power, defense, and deflection  systems), 3) be the main concept storage manager with  some auxiliary systems for I/O support, 4) allow informed  analysis of whatever we think of doing before we do it, 5)  act as intelligence interface with whatever we contact.  In the graphic layouts, I show the various configurations  of I/O terminals I would like on the M-2000, which are  well suited for specific tasks (e.g. cosmology terminal:  3 big screens (25"+), trak-ball scan controls, special  keyboard layout (more keys), emphasis on graphical  output). Some pet projects I will develop are the  M-2000s "entertainment" functions such as: 3-D sound  synthesis, holographic projections, environmental  simulations, graphics "art" (?), et. al.  

Certain Foundation technologies are easily adapted to the  rigors of Excaliba application. Neodynum laser technology  is useful, as I see it, for flying the ship through  asteroid fields and disintegrating anything that might get  in the way of the ship. I visualize a patterned vector  array of five or six laser turrets directed selectively  towards a focal point at which the beams will converge and  form a single unified beam of excited particles. The  target of the beam could be manipulated by varying power  input to any of the colloidal turrets. Something like the  "DeathStar" from the sci-fi films of Star Wars.  

Nucleostatic field science could be applied towards  "deflector beams" of sorts. By concentrating and focusing  the output of the emitters, the destabilized ion path  could be swept in any direction needed and repel objects  and radiation away from the flight path of the Excaliba.  There's also a valid need for a epidermal version of the  field for hull protection. Inertial compensation is a  matter of accelerating and decelerating an internal  objects mass along with the outer mass. Thus the ICS  will when needed, invoke attraction/repulsion fields in  the proper direction within the ship to stabilize the  objects inside. In the same manner, artificial gravity  may be achieved. The fields operate in the same method  used in nucleostatic field generation 

the  destabilization of ions which creates a tendency for the  ions to move outwards, repelling other molecules.  

IPG could be used on a small scale for equipment  transportation dollies which would be equipped with small  IPG jet emitters to "float" the platform and lift things  off the ground. Attach a strong handle with lift controls  and you have one very useful hand truck.  

Communications on-board is always important. Thus in  addition to fairly conventional voice intercoms, I propose  an electronic version of the manuscript memorandum.  Electronic mail systems are fine for formal communiques,  but for the times when you might want to simply send a  quick hand-drawn picture (No. Mouse-driven graphics don't  work.) or a note to someone at another terminal, I foresee  a digitizing pad transmission system dedicated to the  purpose. A small self-powered digitizing pad and stylus  with a small memory for multiple pages that could be  plugged into a local transmission port and send the  digitized image to any number of other pads plugged into  other ports. Maybe the entire setup could be even  wireless. The units are small enough to carry around and  use as paperless clipboards for checklists and such.  

Field analysis equipment will include a "laptop M-100"  information gathering device (a "Tricorder" if you will)  which will have non-volatile resident software for  molecular analysis, storage of data, and remote terminal  operation of the ship's M-2000. It could also have  little storage compartments for field samples.  

Some of the "funkier" things that I want on the ship are:  1) the music composition lab (10 keyboard digital sampling  synthesizer, 150 band parametric equalization, digital  special effects boxes, auxiliary instrument amplifiers  (for strings, guitar/bass, brass, reeds), 25 pad  percussion synthesis system, 36-track digital recorder,  prerecorded-music integration system), 2) personal  holographic projection booths (1 or more), 3) an  artificial ecosystem "life lab" (synthetic seaquarium,  micro rain forest, big sand box for desert creatures,  arctic system simulation), 4) a lab dedicated to synthetic  intelligence interaction (a room to talk with AIME  one-on-one).  

In the more sensible range of sections on board are: 1) an  agricultural hydrosystems lab (produces most plant protein  material for consumption and some aesthetic plants), 2) an  engineering technical lab (makes the neat black boxes and  devices which do everything), 3) a medical (human, that  is) research center (broken bones, colds, sniffles,  anorexia, bimedial carcinoma, etc.), 4) the "bridge"  (every ship just has to have one somewhere...), 5) the  direct access floor to the M-2000 plasma banks and fluidic  systems (I don't foresee a 2001 Odyssey happening, but  just in case...), 6) an a lab for everything else I  haven't mentioned (or thought of) yet.  

Some simple strategic goals during Excaliba development:  1) Must pass a benchmark of Sol-III to Beta Centauri in  real-time minutes, of three or less (figuring a 67  light-year trip to M-31 taking about four days or so), 2)  must withstand travel through the bottom of the Marianas  Trench with a 24 hour burn-in at the 27,600 foot level  (best on-Earth pressure test, I think), 3) capable of  boring a clear flight path through a mountain at sub-  light speed (any mountain, I'm not picky), 4) reach  orbital altitude in four seconds or less (sub-light)  without blasting a big hole in the ground beneath, 5)  change speed from 1 light to 0 motion in 10 seconds or  less without throwing everything inside against the front  viewports (tests of inertial compensators and gravity  simulators), 6) navigational scanning to exceed 10 AUs at  light, 1 AU at sub-light, 200 AUs at max speed, 7)  deflection ability to move the Earth's natural satellite  at 1/2 apogee, 8) closed-system environment must operate  without breach for a minimum of 10 years real-time.  

Among the problems associated with the Excaliba having  long-term (real-time) credibility, are the associated  conflicts of living with the same nineteen other people  for the rest of their lives. Excaliba is designed as a  unilateral venture; it's not supposed to return to Sol-III  unless every question has been answered. I also wonder  about the ability of the extended requisite to not produce  offspring ever again (unless you're okay with leaving the  kids in the care of some intelligent life we find  somewhere). I have this intuitive feeling that the ship's  complement will change over time with the introduction of  people from other worlds and the deposition of some of  ours upon theirs. But then again, who knows?  

I find fault with the traditional solution to such  dilemmas 

military-style operation, although I happen to  have a fondness for the rank titles (Commander Lui at your  service, maam). But since experience has shown the  individuals don't get along all of the time, especially in  close quarters, I wonder if the time spent alone in the  environmental simulators, holographic projection booths,  and individual living quarters will be enough to ease the  stress of life in a closed-system. Maybe if I come up  with a way to relieve the mind of stress by exposure to  artificial encephalographic energy segments, a  thought/emotion simulator so to speak. Not mind control,  but emotional exercise. Hmmmm.  

So, how much knowledge is there to be learned in the  entire universe? That compadre' is why the Excaliba is my  greatest goal; we will answer that question and many more  to come with the completion of her mission. And provide  the end to the mindless "theorists" of contemporary  science and pave the way for inductive developmental  observationists of the future.