Drake-Sagan 2011

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Drake-Sagan 2011
Year 2010-11
Mission Destination Gleise 581 g
Mission Dates Feb. 28 - Mar. 5, 2011
Habitat Commander Ian Martin
Subcommander Olivia Frank
Mission Control Commander Euan Wheaton
Simulator Commander Jane MacLeod

The 2011 Mission to Gliese 581f, Mission Drake-Sagan or Mission Dragan, was the first mission to exit the solar system, and the third mission in the Hawking III. The first ever Earth-like exoplanet, Gliese 581 g, was discovered in 2010, and Spacesim selected the Gliese 581 planetary system as the mission destination. For more information, see Samuel's Post Hoc Proposal For A Mission To Gliese 581 g.


Mission Purpose

During Mission Daedalus, then-Mission Commander Maclean Rouble discovered a strange unexplained signal in the oceans of Europa. It was surprising because of both its strength and its regularity. Vice-Admiral Rouble did not follow the signal or tell Mission Control about it because it was only detected late at night on their last night on Europa, and she knew that if she told anyone else she would be ordered to investigate. She decided that keeping it secret was best for the safety of her crew, but she wrote a paragraph on it and saved it to the network. This paragraph was kept top secret until late 2010. It's worth noting that what precedes is the Beta reality version of events; in-Alpha, the paragraph was written by Jim Magwood shortly before Mission Dragan. Mission Dragan's purpose was to land on Europa, drop the LAURA submersible into the oceans of Europa, and trace the signal to its origins. The astronauts were tasked with following up on and gathering as much data from the signal as possible. Their goal was to explain its presence. To achieve this goal, the habitat was understood to have been outfitted to survive short trips underwater (the rough pseudoscience explanation was that the habitat has an outside shell that, when filled with enough water, will equalize the pressure between the hab and the surrounding ocean).

In-Beta Mission Results

The habitat reached Europa within a day or so and with very minor difficulties. The astronauts received perhaps a bit too much radiation in both Earth's and Jupiter's van Allen belts, but other than that there were no major problems. The habitat flight path involved a gravitational assist from the sun to get to Jupiter (the mission used the 2004 orientation of planets to which Orbit defaults, in which Jupiter is on the other side of the sun from the Earth), and, notably, the astronauts were able to load over 400,000 kg of fuel for the reactor at approximately 4.5 million kilometers from the sun. The members of Spacesim would be well-served to remember this trick (Jupiter has enough hydrogen isotopes in its upper atmosphere that it too should be able to provide fuel at a reasonably far distance, although future crews should experiment to see if this is possible). Unfortunately, when the astronauts reached Jupiter, a split-second software malfunction caused the habitat to not stop at Jupiter's upper atmosphere. Astronauts report seeing AYSE move slowly towards Jupiter, freeze, and then suddenly be bounced out of Jupiter at tremendous velocity. Every single AYSE engine broke simultaneously and the astronauts were forced to undock from the AYSE drive. When AYSE suddenly reversed course, Mission Control's software read it as sudden wind of particles coming away from Jupiter, but scientists who subsequently worked on the problem proved that, if the AYSE drive reached a sufficient speed, it's possible that it reached a pocket of high-pressure gas and just bounced off; Admiral Magwood invoked the analogy of throwing a beach ball into a swimming pool. V. Adm. Lyra Evans is credited with the proof. After undocking the habitat from the AYSE drive, the astronauts could have loaded fuel from AYSE and headed home with minimal risk to their safety. Instead, then-Mission Commander Ian Martin and the crew decided to forge ahead and investigate the anomaly. Upon landing on Europa, they deployed the submarine, which bore a radio censor, a communicator that was able to speak to the habitat though Europa's massive ice layer, and a camera in the visual light spectrum --- although no light, so it could only take pictures of light-emitting objects. Submarine Pilot Samuel Baltz piloted the submarine to the anomaly. When it reached the anomaly, a massive time delay suddenly accompanied its communications. When it was finally able to send a complete picture in the visual spectrum, the picture depicted a very strange field of stars. Through triangulation, Olivia Frank and Arrian LeClaire determined that the submersible was now suddenly located 23.5 lightyears away, in the vicinity of the gliese 581 planetary system. The next Earth Day, the habitat followed suit. Arrian LeClaire and Matt Dunbar piloted the habitat to the closest planet in the star system, gliese 581 f. Once on this planet, each astronaut went on EVA in pairs. The EVAs reported some interesting rock formations. For a full video of one of the EVAs, see the Oce Spacesim facebook page. With the EVAs completed, the astronauts went back through the anomaly (and were quite pleased that it was possible to go back through the anomaly), and attempted to get back to Earth from Jupiter. Without AYSE, there was barely enough fuel to return to Earth. Unfortunately, an astronaut carelessly left a light on, just before the pilot heavily turned up time acceleration, which burned up too much fuel and caused the habitat not to be able to reenter the atmosphere. The habitat bounced off of earth atmosphere, and the crew was rescued in a 2011-12 training mission (although their appearances had been altered significantly by their time in space). The LAURA submersible is currently somewhere near the gliese 581 f star system, beaming pictures back to Earth at light speed. Approximately 23.5 years from 2010-11, OCESS will begin to recieve LAURA's first pictures of the great unknown.

Alpha Systems Developments

  • This was the second mission to work with the permanent planetary surface, adding a massive wall and some pillars to the existing cave. Jane MacLeod, Zola Magwood, Nick Eglin, Lyra Evans, and Alex Mendes among others are to be credited with this truly magnificent permanent structure. This was also the second mission wherein the planetary surface was referred to as the "monetary surplus" in the weeks leading up to the mission (thanks to Euan Wheaton). None of the astronauts saw the planetary surface before the mission.
  • A massive overhaul of the camera network occurred for this mission. Instigated by the 2010-11 Occupational Health And Safety Incident, and OHS's demand that room W027 have all their wires in conduits, the camera systems were completely restructured. Conduits were dropped through for every single camera, television, and computer, and a juncture box was placed in Command and Control. This box was completely switchable; an old playstation feed switching device was implemented so that with the press of a button, any feed would show up on pumpkin. The wires were threaded through the Simulator Loft so that with minimal effort the simulators could cut the insulation and tap into the signals, although they did not make use of this during the mission. This fully functional camera system lasted until 2012-13 when it was partially dismantled for unknown reasons.
  • White noise was first used on this mission, which required the spacing of speakers across the top of the habitat. Various old speakers (just the speakers themselves, no boxes) were lying around in Keplernicus, and so they were placed flush against the habitat, at least 1 per room, and then wired together in series with an iPod playing white noise on loop for the whole week
  • Admiral Magwood programmed the gliese 581 star system into Orbit and the anomaly into the sub program (and likely also took out the strange Russian submarines ever-present in that software), which was a truly monumental amount of work.


  • The mission started one day late (an improvement over the previous year).
  • A news article published in the Ottawa Citizen regarding the mission.
  • Canadian Astronaut and now VP of outreach for the CIHR Robert Thirsk came to witness the mission briefly.
  • Poor decorum in MC and truly abominable decorum among some simulators lead to Samuel's and Arrian's ES1 Reprimands


Sim Lore that originated with or saw heavy use during this mission include:


I seek to establish that the habitat can enter a black hole of sufficient mass without ripping apart. Such a proof, if applicable to the anomaly, shows that what the astronauts experienced is perfectly plausible. Take the habitat to be, say, 100m in diameter (for argument's sake). Take a black hole the mass of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy with m_bh = (3*10^6)*M_0, where M_0 is the mass of the sun. Then the difference in acceleration between the part of the hab closest to the black hole and the part of the hab farthest from the black hole, call it d(a), at the event horizon (which is what we need to reach in order to enter the wormhole), is given by:

d(a) = F_g as a function of the radius of the black hole's event horizon plus the diameter of the hab - F_g as a function of just the radius of the black hole's event horizon

So we must find the radius of the black hole's event horizon, call it R, so:

R = 2*G*M/c^2

R = 2*(6.67*10^-11 units)*(3*10^36 kg) / (3*10^8 ms^-1)^2

R = 9*10^9 m


d(a) = G*M_bh/(R^2 + diameter of hab) - G*M_bh/(R^2)

d(a) = (6.67*10^-11)*(3*10^36 kg) / (9*10^9 m + 100 m)^2 - (6.67*10^-11)*(3*10^36 kg) / (9*10^9 m)^2

d(a) = 5*10^-2 ms^-2

I submit that the habitat is sufficiently strong to survive this small a difference in acceleration (and the submersible certainly is, since it`s much, much smaller in diameter). Regarding the size of the event horizon, I think it's perfectly plausible that the wormhole functionally had an event horizon this size while in the oceans of Europa simply because wormholes bend space. If the mass of the wormhole was sufficient, then, what the astronauts experienced is perfectly explainable.

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Daedalus 2010 Drake-Sagan 2011 Red Sun 2012