Communication ja travelling speed in Aliens movies

Started by BeeHooKoo, Jun 10, 2024, 07:20:39 AM

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Communication ja travelling speed in Aliens movies (Read 815 times)

BeeHooKoo

I've been concerned about a couple of things in the Alien movies (and space movies in general): space travel and communication.
There was already an old thread about this before (https://www.avpgalaxy.net/forum/index.php?topic=5283.15), but I'm opening the discussion again.

So, first of all, a question related to communication: how fast does a message travel in space? for example, there is a distance of 59 light years between Thedus, the starting point of the Nostromo, and Earth, how long did the message take to travel between these points.
Another question concerns the speed of the Nostromo:
The length of the Nostromo's entire journey was 59 light years, and the journey from Acheron (LV-426) to Earth was 39 light years. In the film, Lambert says the journey from LV-426 to Earth will take another 11 and a half months (6 weeks plus 10 months).
This means that the Nostromo's traveling speed is 46,586,930,357 km/h, or about 432 times the speed of light, if I calculated correctly.
In the final screenplay, Dallas orders the travel speed to be the speed of light plus four, i.e. 5 times the speed of light. At this speed, it takes Nostromo 7.8 years to travel from LV-426 to Earth, this is a different size class than Lambert's travel duration estimate.

This now raises a lot of questions, for example about traveling at the speed of light many times, time warping, etc. this is also related to the first question about the speed of communication, does communication travel slower
like people on spaceships?
On top of that, in the movie Aliens, Sulaco traveled that 39 light years in a couple of weeks, and Hicks said the rescue team would arrive in 17 days.. although the starting point is unclear. The entire travel time of Sulaco is as unclear as a xeno egg on Sulaco.
In the Alien 3 book it is mentioned that the journey from LV-426 to earth takes years, this is probably the most accurate travel estimate of all.

SiL

SiL

#1
In Aliens the travel time is 3 weeks. 17 days is when they're declared overdue, not when rescue will get there.

@SM will have more info about speeds.


Actually, to the point about communications: they travel faster in Alien movies. In Aliens they say it'll take 2 weeks to get a response from Earth, which implies at most a week travel time either way. This would put communication speed at three times travel speed for people.

Like most sci fi, super speeds are par for the course - but at least the Alien movies put some delay in.

You might also be interested to hear that in Obannon's original script it was going to take several hundred years to get home.

Kradan

Cameron probably read that early script and went "Yeah, I like the sound of that".

Also, as much as I love Aliens I'm kinda sad how much they've reduced traveling time from LV-426 to Earth in comparision to Alien. I mean, I get it, technology oughta improve in 57 years but part of me still likes "several months of hypersleep" more

SM

SM

#3
Lambert says ten months to Earth. The Sulaco covers that distance in 3 weeks as SiL said. Improvements in tech no doubt. It took Prometheus about 874 days.

All starship speeds can be found here https://alientimeline.wordpress.com/vehicles/

Light plus four doesn't necessarily mean 5 times faster than light. Particularly since Nostromo goes 46 x FTL. And the line was cut.

There's negligible time dilation in Alien. Otherwise Newt would be much older when the marines arrive.

Communication speeds vary depending on the film without any real explanation. The rescue team would arrive in Aliens 17 days after they were declared overdue. We don't know when they would have been declared overdue though.

ADF made a mistake in Alien 3 with the travel times also noting Jones would have been long dead (he wouldn't).

SiL

I always misremember the line as "how long until we're declared overdue "

Acid_Reign161

Quote from: SiL on Jun 10, 2024, 11:37:23 AMI always misremember the line as "how long until we're declared overdue "

I believe it's "how long after we're declared overdue can we expect a rescue?" ... which begs the question what overdue is; we know it takes two weeks to get an answer from Earth (so presumably a week each way to send a message?) so presumably a rescue would have been;

Expected arrival date + 1 week (to receive communication of arrival/situation) + additional time/leeway (in case it was a downed transmitter, so time to get communications up and running) + 17 days journey to LV-426...

from when the Sulaco first arrived it could have been closer to a month before help arrived.

SiL

That's the line.

Real question is why Hudson sounds so surprised. Like of course it would take a while.

Unless he was expecting someone to be nearer.

BeeHooKoo

Ok, so ships are traveling fast (Sulaco 683274978575,28 km/h), it would be pretty hard to bypass anything on that speed.

In the whole reflection, time is not the only dilemma. From what I have understood, the closer to the speed of light the speed increases, the mass of an exponentially moving object increases. The mass of an object moving at the speed of light is infinite, which is why moving at the speed of light is impossible, because the energy required for movement also approaches infinity. The effect of mass growth affects everything moving in the ship, including humans. So this applies to one speed of light, let alone Sulaco's 677 times the speed of light.

This leads to the question of data transfer technology that travels faster than ships that move at 46...677 times the speed of light.

Well, movie magic explains a lot of things, sci-fi movies aren't documentaries.

SM

SM

#8
O'Bannon said the Nostromo travelled in hyperspace, noting red and blue shifted stars in the script which Hill and Giler retained.

Or it's tachyons. It's usually tachyons.

There's no dilemma. Things like FTL travel that defy relativity, artificial gravity, terraforming extremely small planets with too much gravity, monsters going from 0 to 100 in a matter of hours, are simply a given.

Local Trouble

Local Trouble

#9
Quote from: SiL on Jun 10, 2024, 12:47:47 PMThat's the line.

Real question is why Hudson sounds so surprised. Like of course it would take a while.

Unless he was expecting someone to be nearer.

I always wondered about that myself, but maybe Hudson doesn't even pay attention to where their missions take place.  He just goes to hypersleep, wakes up and does his job.  Let the officers and noncoms worry about the rest.  It's above his pay grade.

And that was quite possibly the first time the subject of even needing a rescue ever came up on one of his missions since he seemed downright bored of all the bug hunts they'd been on.

SiL

Yeah that tracks.

Citixeno

I know the movies attempt to make things feel grounded, but for the story to work, FTL has to be possible.

At the same time, I do wonder if some explanation could be offered in a way to make it feel even more grounded, or be consistent with what is visibly shown. Because the ships we do see moving don't appear to be going all that fast. If the Nostromo was moving FTL, would it still have been able to pick up the signal on LV-426 and slowed down in order to investigate?

Could there be certain jump zones on transit routes, where a ship disappears from one location and comes out another but still has to travel for some distance between one jump area and the next? If so, could some locations require multiple jumps? Requiring some slow travel in certain portions of space but then skipping over large portions of others?

That could explain the time between jump locations, and that the Nostromo was moving slowly between jump points located near LV-426 when it picked up the signal.

As to why only certain places are safe to jump to and from, the only idea I can think of is that it has to be somewhere that doesn't risk accidentally reappearing inside a star or something. And, as to why ships need to travel slowly from one jump place to the next, is that jump locations only lead to specific location options, and jump points are specifically not made too close to one another as they would somehow interfere with one another.

I always figured it was something like this, but the movies don't really dwell on it. My guess is that would take too much exposition to hide in dialogue, and it'd make the dialogue feel unnatural, and then open up another can of worms where fans would want every aspect of such a theory further elaborated on, while the real science guys are just waiting with their knives to carve up and lampoon such an idea as more magical silliness, and so the FTL speed issue is simply avoided.

SiL

They don't seem to be moving fast because space is big and empty, or they're slowed for approach to a planet.

There are no jump points. The novels mention hyperspace, warping space time around the ship so that the ships travel distances faster.

Citixeno

Quote from: SiL on Jun 17, 2024, 08:40:39 PMThey don't seem to be moving fast because space is big and empty, or they're slowed for approach to a planet.

There are no jump points. The novels mention hyperspace, warping space time around the ship so that the ships travel distances faster.

I haven't read the novelizations. Do they say anything about how they pick up signals when moving at such speed?

SiL

It's kind of the plot of the movie that the ship was intentionally rerouted to intercept so it doesn't bother explaining how it might normally happen.

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