Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis

Take a look at this wonderful article on trying to visualize how to travel between the stars. What would a travel network look like?


(2D visualization of a 12 light-year network)

With this spirit of exploration in mind I wondered to myself how, exactly, would one go about navigating the stars. Perhaps due to my being older and wiser (and/or losing my childhood imagination), my fantasies regarding exploring the universe now come attached to limitations and practicalities. Stellar travel is beyond our technical abilities; what with our inability to wield space-time, finite life-spans, and technical inabilities and all. But if we could manage even a relatively modest amount of stellar travel, what would that modest amount have to be to open the network of our stellar neighborhood to us? And what would that 3-dimensional network look like?

So, I imagined our Sun surrounded by its immediate neighborhood and saw a network of pathways one could take given a limit on how far you could travel before having to "refuel" at the next star system--say, perhaps, via mining asteroids or by deploying your solar charger.

Of the many novels I've read, I was reminded of the network of travel stations in Clifford Simak's 1963 classic Way Station:

Ulysses said, "We are a traveling people. We need a travel station here. We want to turn this house into a station and you to keep the station...

"But traveling..."

"From star to star," said Ulysses. "Quicker than the thought of it... It will be no more than a switching and a resting point..."


(Eight Light-year Internal Visualization)

One challenge in accurately visualizing this data is that it has 3 spatial dimensions. Every graph/network visualization I've done before either didn't have spatial dimensions or merely had 2D geo-spatial dimensions. This is a challenge because most graph tools are oriented towards a 2-dimensional layout and visualization. Gephi, a tool I commonly use, does 2-dimensional visualizations. It is aware of 3D coordinates of nodes and can do an okay job of representing it in 2-dimensions. But with no ability to pan, it's hard to get a real feel for what the 3D structure of the network looks like.

After some hunting, I found NAViGaTOR which was created and is actively maintained by the Jurisica Lab of the Ontario Cancer Institute. Although it has the ability to do 3D layouts, none of its layouts support coordinate-based layouts from node data. However, after some experimentation, I discovered that if you disable the option which automatically applies a layout on network load, that the default behavior is actually to lay the network out based on node 3D coordinate data. I contacted a maintainer of NAViGaTOR and they confirmed that that is indeed the expected behavior.

I maintained the node coloring based on star temperature above. However, I made every node have equal size.

Fans of 'Doc' Smith's 1934 novel Triplanetary may be reminded of the 3D Tank Display:

Every space-ship within range of her powerful detectors was represented by two brilliant, slowly moving points of light; one upon a great micrometer screen, the other in the "tank"--the immense, three-dimensional, minutely cubed model of the entire Solar System.

Be sure to read the entire article Stellar Navigation Using Network Analysis.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/8/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..' - Robert Forward, 1992.

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...' - Greg Bear, 2015.

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...' - Doc Smith, 1934.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?

Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'

Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.