The passage of time in low berths

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Darkmoon
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The passage of time in low berths

Postby Darkmoon » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:18 am

Hi All

Apologies if this has been answered (or in the rulebooks and I am just blind), but whilst in low berth is the passenger affected by time at a reduced rate, and if so by how much, or not affected at all?

Just with the adventure Flatlined and the Great Rift, my current party of players all get jobs crewing ships whilst they are saving up for their own ship (I don't have it it me to give them a spare 20 billion to buy a ship :wink: ), so am thinking that this adventure combined with the long distance from Spinward Marches would be a great way to get them into the Great Rift for a change of scenary.

New baddies, new scrapes for them to get into - (also I just love the Great Rift books and adventures)
mancerbear
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby mancerbear » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:17 am

I run it that essentially no time passes for those inlow berths. They go to sleep, they wake up feeling a bit sad a sorry for themselves. You could assign a time difference if you wanted, like 1 minute subjective time for every hour, or 24 hours, or week... but I don’t think it makes any real difference in the game.
MonkeyX
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby MonkeyX » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:56 am

I assumed it was similar to fast drugs which slows time to 1/60th. Maybe double it for low births to warrant the expense.
Reynard
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Reynard » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:12 am

Unlike the drug route, your metabolic rate is slowed to the point time essentially stops for you. When you wake, you have no sense time passed. There was an article a long time back about people who travelled regularly in low berth and were called Time Travellers.
steve98052
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby steve98052 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:00 am

There's a Vargr fleet that has been in existence for centuries with a lot of original crew. They spend most of the time as frozen watch, with their ships in storage except for periodic maintenance. When there's a war, the current political leaders awaken them, they win the war, and go back to sleep.

I forget where in canon they're described.
Condottiere
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:57 am

Image

Let sleeping dogs lie.

The truth will eventually catch up with them.
steve98052
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby steve98052 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 6:31 pm

One complication of really long periods of time spent in suspended animation, particularly if we assume that people have their metabolism halted completely (such as a cryogenic sleep) as opposed to extremely slowed (such as a deep artificial hibernation state). Natural background radiation continues. Even if technological magic blocks all outside sources of radiation (cosmic rays, trace radioisotopes in the walls of the suspended animation chamber, etc.), the body itself contains trace radioisotopes.

Radioactivity (and any ionizing radiation) causes damage to living tissue, but in normal conditions living tissue repairs itself. But in suspended animation those repairs stop, while the damage doesn't. After a really long time in suspended animation, living things would awaken with radiation poisoning.

If a salvage operation finds a ship where people have been in low berths for many years, part of the rescue would include treatment for radiation poisoning. And in situations where long periods of suspended animation are intentional (such as a sub-light colony ship), people would best be revived periodically given treatment for mild radiation poisoning during a period of awake time, and returned to suspended animation.

One exception to the radiation hazard could be a complete stasis, like the "stasis box" in the Star Trek cartoons. If such a thing exists in Traveller at all, it is well beyond extant technology. But maybe the Ancients had stasis boxes instead of low berths. They'd certainly be an improvement over the risks of low berths.

One possible upgrade to the Traveller low berth that doesn't go past the usual technology levels would be a berth that periodically revives passengers part of the way, so that their metabolism can repair radiation damage without restoring passengers to full consciousness. But that would require supplying metabolic needs: food, water, oxygen, waste removal, and radiation treatment medicine. A low berth that does that kind of extra work would be more complicated than the cold sleep that seems to be the usual description.
Reynard
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Reynard » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:13 pm

Low berth normal usage isn't for Van Winkle events. I'm sure interplanetary or interstellar vessels have enough shielding to prevent such low level exposure of long time periods and even so the usage is often measured in weeks not months or years. Liberty Station would LOVE a Traveller ship hull. If it were an issue for Frozen Watches and Generational ships, the engineers would recognize it and more than likely have radiation shielding as standard.
BigDogsRunning
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby BigDogsRunning » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:52 pm

Couldn't they make use of Nuclear Damper technologies to pre-decay any trace isotopes in the body as part of the prep for long-term storage? Throw a little pre-swept lead shielding, or magnetic shielding to protect against external radiation sources, and it seems like you'd be good. Seems like it might become fairly inexpensive too, since it's a short-range, low-energy application of the technology.
Reynard
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Reynard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:45 am

Depends on whether starport facilities normally keep MCr10 nuclear dampers on hand for passengers who will intentionally expose themselves to radiation sources that can regularly defeat the integral shielding which will block 500 rads.

"The Multilateral Medical Operations Panel (MMOP) monitors and sets the standards for crew exposure.
They track to separate limits that are referred to as deterministic and stochastic. Deterministic refers
to acute effects such as rashes and burns and stochastic to long-term effects, such as cancer. It can
get a little confusing because they use different units for each concern. But, for example, they set a
30 day exposure limit of 0.25 Sv and an annual limit of 0.5 Sv and a career limit of 1 Sv. A sievert (Sv)
is equivalent to 100 rads."


Liberty Station's shielding stinks. We probably won't be sending crews to anywhere in the solar system because enough current shielding would be impractical. Lead and aluminum are just too heavy and they still cascade more particle on impact. Traveller has some material alloy or structure that is efficient and practical for long term insidious radiation shielding. 500 rads ain't bad. If ships spend so much time away from a planetary magnetic field, they must have that protection. Low berth passengers are as safe as everyone else aboard.
BigDogsRunning
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby BigDogsRunning » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:45 am

Reynard wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:45 am
Depends on whether starport facilities normally keep MCr10 nuclear dampers on hand for passengers who will intentionally expose themselves to radiation sources that can regularly defeat the integral shielding which will block 500 rads.

"The Multilateral Medical Operations Panel (MMOP) monitors and sets the standards for crew exposure.
They track to separate limits that are referred to as deterministic and stochastic. Deterministic refers
to acute effects such as rashes and burns and stochastic to long-term effects, such as cancer. It can
get a little confusing because they use different units for each concern. But, for example, they set a
30 day exposure limit of 0.25 Sv and an annual limit of 0.5 Sv and a career limit of 1 Sv. A sievert (Sv)
is equivalent to 100 rads."


Liberty Station's shielding stinks. We probably won't be sending crews to anywhere in the solar system because enough current shielding would be impractical. Lead and aluminum are just too heavy and they still cascade more particle on impact. Traveller has some material alloy or structure that is efficient and practical for long term insidious radiation shielding. 500 rads ain't bad. If ships spend so much time away from a planetary magnetic field, they must have that protection. Low berth passengers are as safe as everyone else aboard.
MCr10 for ship-mounted weaponized nuclear dampers with combat ranges and effectiveness. Not 2m range, low power dampers that don't have to be able to focus on targets moving at km/s at range. There may be medical grade anti-rad treatments using little bitty dampers built into autodocs, perhaps very simplified ones for this very purpose built into low berths. If you don't have to be able to target, track, and focus power at range, it seems like it would be a small fraction of the cost.
steve98052
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby steve98052 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:27 am

Doing a bit of research, I find that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that the average background radiation in the US absorbs about 620 millirem per year. A transcontinental airline flight adds 2 to 5 mrem, so flying every day would be 730 to 1825 mrem.

Doses greater than 100 rem over a short period of time are enough to cause acute radiation syndrome, which can be fatal within weeks if untreated.

There's only so much that can be done about radiation in space. Cosmic rays can be incredibly energetic; there's only so much that can be done about them. But suppose the future technology that makes routine life in space safe enough can limit radiation inside a ship to slightly worse than present day airlines, 2000 mrem (2 rem) per year.

In that case, it takes 50 years in suspended animation to reach the 100 rem dose that is regarded as the threshold for acute radiation syndrome. That's a long time for an emergency low berth to be operating, waiting for a rescue. They're going to have some psychological issues to address in addition to radiation. With a long sublight starship trip, periodic revivals are probably part of the routine.

The idea of cooking away radioactive materials before a long low berth sleep is a good one too, but probably not workable for most sublight starship missions. If I remember correctly, a damper box is TL12, so if you have that you probably have mature jump drive and don't need sublight starships.
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:58 am

You ever hear of the model and Taylor Muhl?
Image
She has a rare condition known as human chimerism.

American model and singer Taylor Muhl recently learned the birthmark on her stomach was her twin sister fused to her body.
The 33-year-old had absorbed her twin while in the womb, The Daily Mail reported. The model only learned of her condition after watching a TV documentary on Chimerism. She was officially diagnosed with the condition in 2009 after visiting a throat doctor a week after watching the documentary. Taylor Muhl is two fraternal twins fused together in the womb, that means one side of her body has different DNA from the other side, that is why she has two different skin tones. The point I'm trying to make is our DNA isn't us. Taylor Muhl is one person even though she is made of two DNA strains that would have made two persons under ordinary circumstances. There are also people who have transplanted organs and with antirejection drugs that can life with these transplants quite a while.

What really makes a person unique is his or her cellular patterns. The information in one's DNA is a lot less than the information in one's brain on the cellular level. Now lets say a person was frozen solid for several hundred years or even a thousand years. The DNA information can be stored digitally in a redundant format less susceptible to mutation than DNA in one's cells, or alternatively that DNA can be replaced all together, perhaps substituting someone else's DNA in those same frozen cells, it wouldn't have to be the DNA of the original. Now the freezing process, if done right would preserve the cellular patterns, even if the DNA is mutated. replacing the damaged DNA with healthy DNA would eliminate the risk of cancer when the patient is revived. If his or her DNA was replaced, but the cells were left in the same pattern, that person would have the memories and personality of the original. Some mechanism would be required to replace the DNA in every cell, a virus perhaps. or perhaps a computer simulation of a human would work just as well.

The concept of low berths are really underutilized in most Traveller scenarios, they are used as a low budget method of travel, but they are also a potential one-way time machine that can carry a person from the past into the future. Radioactive decay is just one obstacle, but not an insurmountable one.

I accidentally pressed a key and my computer started reading what I wrote aloud, and I couldn't find a way to shut the damn thing up! I am a touch typist, and if a finger accidentally hits the wrong key, a bunch of strange things often starts happening! I hate dorky computer voices reading what I wrote!

Cellular DNA substitution is also a possible approach for agathics, if I could create a younger line of my cells, I could thereby replace my old cells with young cells, and I could thereby live longer and watch mankind colonize the stars. It would be nice to see the results of terraforming Venus as well, that would take thousands of years.
Reynard
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Reynard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:00 am

Page 77 of the Core Rulebook has the radiation rules. Specifically, extraterrestrial vehicles and habitats are shielded normally up to 500 rads. This is how space is conquered or everyone leaving the safety of a strong magnetic field and atmosphere would be constantly on anti-rad drugs. It takes serious conditions to exceed these limits usually in the form of solar flares. That's also addressed in that rule section. Long term radiation in Traveller is not an issue as long as you don't sightsee on the surface of the a moon during a flare or bravely lock down a leaking reactor. If a ship, station or base is blocking 500 rads normally, there is no long term low level radiation seeping into everyone's cells. Frozen watches and generation ships are perfectly safe.
Condottiere
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Condottiere » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:33 pm

Would assume that externally the ship's hull is supposed to protect passengers from radiation, and bulwarks from internal sources.

Regeneration of tissue may be speeded up, which I presume medical slow supposedly does.
Reynard
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Reynard » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:11 pm

You don't regenerate radiation damage as per the radiation rules. It stays with you and accumulates over time. You take permanent END damage at 151 cumulative rads. You need anti-rad drugs negating 100 rads at a time once per day.

Being on Liberty Station exposes you to a range from 12 to 28.8 milli rads per day or 2 rads every 100 days which really shows it has very little shielding. The astronauts don't 'heal' it away. Your career is over at 50 rads. In Traveller, after 13 years constant exposure, medics would insist they get a anti-rad treatment.

"Spacecraft hull materials shield against most radiation;
coupled with the added protection offered by hydrogen
fuel tanks lining the inner hull means that the exposure
suffered by most spacers is only a few times that of
a planetside."

Airline crew are exposed to about 2millirads a year when regularly flying at 10Km+ altitude and this is probably still higher than 'a few times that of planetside'. Using Traveller hulls, you would need to be exposed for 50,000 years to need an anti-rad treatment!
steve98052
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby steve98052 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:15 pm

Even with Traveller magic radiation armor, internal radioactivity remains. If it's the same as the US estimate of Earth normal, that's only 620 mrad per year. But the source of that 620 mrad is the natural environment of a 4.5 billion year old planet. Some worlds are older than that, and so have lower background radioactivity (down to a minimum set by atmospheric interaction with cosmic rays); others are younger, and so have much higher background radioactivity.

When taking the average of an exponential distribution, the radioactivity from young worlds will dominate the average, so background radioactivity for a ship that takes on supplies, passengers, and air from a variety of worlds will likely have a higher internal background radioactivity level, even if cosmic rays are largely blocked.

So, if you're a passenger who boards after a long stay on a billion year old world, and the ship has a mishap that leaves you in the emergency low berth for years, you could be in trouble even if fellow passengers who last ate food from an old world are just fine.

Alternatively, younger, high technology worlds, with better starports might advise passengers to cook off their background radioactivity in damper boxes and eat damper boxed foods before boarding starships.
Tom Kalbfus
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Re: The passage of time in low berths

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:59 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:15 pm
Even with Traveller magic radiation armor, internal radioactivity remains. If it's the same as the US estimate of Earth normal, that's only 620 mrad per year. But the source of that 620 mrad is the natural environment of a 4.5 billion year old planet. Some worlds are older than that, and so have lower background radioactivity (down to a minimum set by atmospheric interaction with cosmic rays); others are younger, and so have much higher background radioactivity.

When taking the average of an exponential distribution, the radioactivity from young worlds will dominate the average, so background radioactivity for a ship that takes on supplies, passengers, and air from a variety of worlds will likely have a higher internal background radioactivity level, even if cosmic rays are largely blocked.

So, if you're a passenger who boards after a long stay on a billion year old world, and the ship has a mishap that leaves you in the emergency low berth for years, you could be in trouble even if fellow passengers who last ate food from an old world are just fine.

Alternatively, younger, high technology worlds, with better starports might advise passengers to cook off their background radioactivity in damper boxes and eat damper boxed foods before boarding starships.
You know the ability to unfreeze someone without ice crystalization damage assumes the ability to repair such damage on a cellular level, the same cellular repair mechanism can also fix radiation damage as well.

Here are a few images of cyronics patients:
Image
Image
Image
Image
These are real world examples, as of yet, no one has been able to unfreeze anyone and restore life.

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