Friday, May 23, 2014

Space Dragons of a Particular Sort

Imagine a particular set of dragons who dwell in the vacuum of outer space. They'd have natural carbon in their body structures, like a natural version of carbon nanotubes. This would make them strong for large size, with wings--but most of their wings would be very thin, thinner than paper.

For flight they could use light pressure but the wings required are so massive to beyond the scale of a living thing most likely, However, they could get some assistance out of light pressure. I'd make their primary means of getting energy generating natural electricity by means of aborbing solar energy in a photoelectric effect--which could be enhanced by electricity generated by temperature differences between hot and cold areas (a thermoelectric effect). The dragons would use this electricity to heat reactive material in their gut into a natural version of a plasma drive (as well as power their muscles and brains and such). So the dragons would not need to breathe. In fact, they couldn't breathe. They would not need to eat or drink either, other than get some carbonaceous material from certain comets or asteroids (well, they'd need water, too, but they wouldn't use water to process their metabolism, but for cooling and lubrication and chemical suspensions, so their need for water would be more like an automobile's--something that internally cycles and only needs replacement or addition every once in a while, unless something has gone wrong with the water system).

These vacuum dragons would live on small asteroids and comets. They'd eat parts of icy comets to get reactive material to turn into plasma. Their plasma drive would take time to accelerate (heat would have to build up first) so it would be a bit like a steam engine in terms of time to flight. IF they were still hot from a recent flight, they could fly right away. If not, they'd have to wait to warm up.

They'd need powerful legs to help launch themselves off low-gravity worlds. Most of the time these legs would be tucked in, but they might have the secondary purpose of digging up rock or other materials if need be. They probably should be able to use almost any matter as reactive material, but water ice might be a particular favorite.

They might be able to accelerate well over several thousand miles an hour over time, but then would have the issue of not being able to slow down enough if they did not save energy for deceleration. Perhaps they'd be natural masters of using gravitational effects to change their speed and capable of surviving high-gravity crash landings. They would not have enough power to escape the gravity of a large world like Earth (or Mars--or the moon even) but would be all over places around other stars similar to Saturn's rings and small moons, icy comets, and even rocky moons like Phobos and Deimos.

They would have to have extraordinary vision to find the next astronomical body--perhaps their eyes would be as large as six feet across, but their eyelids and/or pupils would have to be able to constrict very small for when light is extremely bright. They would need extraordinary memory and an ability to perform complex orbital calculations instinctively. If we imagine their lives very long AND give them an ability to go into hibernation on a long flight, they could cross distances between stars (taking tens of thousands of years to do so).

Their young they'd lay as eggs on planetoids. The little ones would instinctively launch themselves into space when strong enough to do so--trapped in the "nest" of low gravity while they are too small to fly.

The fact they travel from moonlet to moonlet on a regular basis would give a logical reason for a moon to in fact be a single organism that disguises itself as a planetoid or other astronomical body. Because it would be a dragon-eater.

As a weapon for dragon defense, perhaps the plasma that comes out their rear (not as flatulence) could be shifted to come out the mouth in a time of crisis...or to decelerate...or perhaps they could face their rear to an enemy and fire that way instead...(I imagine though that their first response to an entire planetoid trying to eat them would be to fly away).

Since these dragons would be electrical, with electrical lines in their bodies producing radio waves as a natural by-product of current flow, it would be very natural for them to communicate with one another by sending and receiving radio wave messages. Or with a human being or member of another species who wished to learn their language and befriend them...


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