How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

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Havard
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How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by Havard »

In the discussion about Asylum's 2009 Princess of Mars / John Carter of Mars movie, Finarvyn wrote:
finarvyn wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 3:04 am
I kind of like the flyers better than Disney's, however. Flyers should look more like boats and not feathery things.
So how do these flying vessels work anyway? Do the novels give any detailed descriptions of them?

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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by Big Mac »

Havard wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:42 pm
So how do these flying vessels work anyway? Do the novels give any detailed descriptions of them?
Barsoom Wiki has an Airships article that might help. :)

That article says they are commonly called "flyers", but are sometimes referred to as "planes", so look out for both of those words on Barsoom websites.

The Known Flyers section gives eight names of specific flyers: Three of the flyers have their own articles. Unfortunately they don't have book and page citations on them. So they reveal that two books have flyers in, but you would have to flip through the books looking for facts to confirm.

The Dusar article does reveal there is a blocked engine on that flyer, and that John Carter unblocks the engine in a day, but I'm not sure if that section of the book (Llana of Gathol) explains what sort of fuel the engines use.

(You might be able to find mentions of those other five flyers on other articles.)
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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by Yaztromo »

So this is, in summary, the blurb used to describe flyers technology:
The fliers were developed using the 8th ray, and are sustained by the rays stored within buoyancy tanks.
If we consider that much more recently written Star Treks resorts to "Dilithium", it is not too bad, for a pulp fiction, I'd say.
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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by Cromstar »

So, the following is from memory as it's been 2 or 3 years since I last read the books, but IIRC:

Barsoom air vehicles operate based around the principle of the "8th ray". This basically deals with a means to split light into different "rays" (think the colors of the rainbow and the 8th Ray is one that human eyes cannot see). The 8th Ray has weird properties, one of which being that when split out and trapped in a container, it acts much like a lighter-than-air fluid in a tank (ie, helium or hydrogen). This provides the craft with the physics needed to maintain its position in the air (ascending and descending are performed by exchanging rays between tanks or venting rays altogether to drop fast).

Their forward propulsion, like lighter-than-air craft of Earth, sometimes used some form of propeller system, often automated, though I think they could also vent the 8th Ray directly to provide momentum. Thus, *most* Barsoomian flying craft would be classified as lighter-than-air vehicles with tanks (the green men specifically use rifles so as to be able to accurately hole 8th Ray tanks on flying craft in order to force them to land (slowly bleeding rays means a gradual, but unavoidable, decline in altitude). The preferred method of escape was to pass beyond the horizon (the sea beds being so flat meant there was rarely available cover) so that the green men could not shoot or track you anymore.

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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by finarvyn »

Cromstar's reply is a good one, unless my memory is wrong as well: Ray tanks for elevation, propellers for forward motion.

I always wanted to create a version of "Star Fleet Battles" using Martian airships. A prop hit could be annoying, but a tank hit could be disastrous. :)
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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by Havard »

Cromstar wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:49 am
So, the following is from memory as it's been 2 or 3 years since I last read the books, but IIRC:

Barsoom air vehicles operate based around the principle of the "8th ray". This basically deals with a means to split light into different "rays" (think the colors of the rainbow and the 8th Ray is one that human eyes cannot see). The 8th Ray has weird properties, one of which being that when split out and trapped in a container, it acts much like a lighter-than-air fluid in a tank (ie, helium or hydrogen). This provides the craft with the physics needed to maintain its position in the air (ascending and descending are performed by exchanging rays between tanks or venting rays altogether to drop fast).

Their forward propulsion, like lighter-than-air craft of Earth, sometimes used some form of propeller system, often automated, though I think they could also vent the 8th Ray directly to provide momentum. Thus, *most* Barsoomian flying craft would be classified as lighter-than-air vehicles with tanks (the green men specifically use rifles so as to be able to accurately hole 8th Ray tanks on flying craft in order to force them to land (slowly bleeding rays means a gradual, but unavoidable, decline in altitude). The preferred method of escape was to pass beyond the horizon (the sea beds being so flat meant there was rarely available cover) so that the green men could not shoot or track you anymore.
Thanks for explaining this in such detail. I was never quite clear on what the 8th and 9th ray were...

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Re: How do Barsoom Flying Vessels Work?

Post by The Dark »

finarvyn wrote:
Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:54 pm
Cromstar's reply is a good one, unless my memory is wrong as well: Ray tanks for elevation, propellers for forward motion.

I always wanted to create a version of "Star Fleet Battles" using Martian airships. A prop hit could be annoying, but a tank hit could be disastrous. :)
GDW's Sky Galleons of Mars and Cloudships and Gunboats (reprinted as a combined volume by Heliograph) could work for that. It uses liftwood instead of ray tanks, but the same general principles apply and it could be reskinned relatively easily.

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