Excaliba Program Overview
In the year 2005 A.D., the Scientific Research Foundation
began formal operations and signaled a whole new era in
technological progress. The first two years yielded many
innovative products and processes. Cancer was "cured"
using krysotyping - a method of developing a bio-image of
any cell structure. The bio-image is then inversed to
create an absolute negative representation of the original
structure, which when introduced to the original, causes
the two structure pairs to neutralize each others effects.
Thus, cancer cells become benign tissue. But that's all
beside the point of this overview.

Another development was ion-based power generation
technology (IPG). This breakthrough spawned dozens of
other subsequent programs: the Multi-Environment
Transport, closed-loop power supplies, nucleostatic field
applications, the M-1000 supercomputer, and the ultimate
Foundation offspring - Excaliba.

Excaliba is a name for a whole group of internal project
divisions concerned with universal space exploration. The
grandest of the projects is the transport starship
Excaliba - a vehicle designed for extended closed
environment transportation and exploration of space. This
vehicle houses the results of the most complex of the
Foundation projects including the M-2000 multi-processor,
neodynum laser technology, closed-system environmental
simulations, focused ion beam deflectors, and
inertial/gravity compensation systems.

Manned by a crew of twenty men and women (the exact ratio
of which I have yet to figure out), the Excaliba can
travel at extended hyper-light speeds indefinitely after
initial power-up. The theoretical warping of time caused
by such high speed travel mandates that the Foundation be
reorganized before departure to establish a new
administration (half of the old one would be on-board the
Excaliba). The Foundation personnel can then spend their
time developing the next step in medical technology - the
extension of the human life span while the Excaliba is
away. When the Excaliba returns to Earth one thousand or
so years later, the Foundation personnel would still be
around to greet the returning Excaliba crew.

The Excaliba will be facing many different environments
through which it must carry its human crew unscathed. By
preparing it for the many varied environments found on the
Earth, we can hope to meet the demands of most others
encountered during the voyage. Preparations will be made
for deep sea, high altitude, space, and high-speed ground
travel. The Excaliba must be made impervious to all forms
of radiation and matter, either by material design or
radiated defense. The primary goal of Excaliba is to
simply search for and index mass information, wherever it
may lie, throughout the universe. Some have spoken of
space exploration in the light of some kind of
colonization attempt; this is far from the initial
purposes of Excaliba. Just as the Foundation serves as an
information source to the Earth, likewise Excaliba can
serve as a source to the universe (or some part thereof
that hasn't gotten around to seeing the rest of the
place). Excaliba will be one of the potential developers
of the "Encyclopedia Galactica."

In the vast reaches of the humanly unexplored universe
there have been postulates concerning the probability of
discovering other intelligent life among the stars. This
would be nice to prove true. As in many sci-fi epics,
Excaliba is a representative from Earth and in turn
becomes a representative of each new world observed to
each new encounter. Hopefully, there aren't many other
beings which have the same hangups about "invaders from
outer space." In that situation, comes the explanation of
why the Excaliba is armed with collimator neodynum lasers.
But we aren't coming to "take over" by any means. We're
just observers -- Omnipsychologists if you will.

I often wonder about landing gear systems on the
Excaliba. It would seem sensible to allow for land, sea,
and whatever else we might find ourselves sitting on, or
in for that matter. But anti-gravity suspension could be
equally plausible, and obviate the need for heavy-duty
landing struts and the like. Then there's the method of
getting people from inside the ship to whatever is outside
of the ship, without breaching the closed- system
environment. Since I haven't spent a lot of time looking
into entry systems, I'll probably leave that design
section to another expert.

Interfacing with the M-2000 on board is in a similar
qualitative analysis stage. I'm fond of novel ideas like
direct-thought I/O transfer, but am also keen on
voice-command processing and other more conventional forms
of I/O (including keyboards!). The output part of the
scheme is slowly coming together; my thoughts center on
some kind of feminine voice command acknowledgement with
real-time screen graphic monitoring. Graphic printers and
other hard copy devices are still necessary. Some things
are best kept simple I suppose.

The applications of the M-2000 are better defined. It
will: 1) control environmental systems (breathing mixtures,
waste management, lighting, sound, inertial/gravitational
compensation, food systems, temperature, etc.), 2) provide
all navigation/propulsion system control and monitoring
(including engine, power, defense, and deflection
systems), 3) be the main concept storage manager with
some auxiliary systems for I/O support, 4) allow informed
analysis of whatever we think of doing before we do it, 5)
act as intelligence interface with whatever we contact.
In the graphic layouts, I show the various configurations
of I/O terminals I would like on the M-2000, which are
well suited for specific tasks (e.g. cosmology terminal:
3 big screens (25"+), trak-ball scan controls, special
keyboard layout (more keys), emphasis on graphical
output). Some pet projects I will develop are the
M-2000s "entertainment" functions such as: 3-D sound
synthesis, holographic projections, environmental
simulations, graphics "art" (?), et. al.

Certain Foundation technologies are easily adapted to the
rigors of Excaliba application. Neodynum laser technology
is useful, as I see it, for flying the ship through
asteroid fields and disintegrating anything that might get
in the way of the ship. I visualize a patterned vector
array of five or six laser turrets directed selectively
towards a focal point at which the beams will converge and
form a single unified beam of excited particles. The
target of the beam could be manipulated by varying power
input to any of the colloidal turrets. Something like the
"DeathStar" from the sci-fi films of Star Wars.

Nucleostatic field science could be applied towards
"deflector beams" of sorts. By concentrating and focusing
the output of the emitters, the destabilized ion path
could be swept in any direction needed and repel objects
and radiation away from the flight path of the Excaliba.
There's also a valid need for a epidermal version of the
field for hull protection. Inertial compensation is a
matter of accelerating and decelerating an internal
objects mass along with the outer mass. Thus the ICS
will when needed, invoke attraction/repulsion fields in
the proper direction within the ship to stabilize the
objects inside. In the same manner, artificial gravity
may be achieved. The fields operate in the same method
used in nucleostatic field generation -- the
destabilization of ions which creates a tendency for the
ions to move outwards, repelling other molecules.

IPG could be used on a small scale for equipment
transportation dollies which would be equipped with small
IPG jet emitters to "float" the platform and lift things
off the ground. Attach a strong handle with lift controls
and you have one very useful hand truck.

Communications on-board is always important. Thus in
addition to fairly conventional voice intercoms, I propose
an electronic version of the manuscript memorandum.
Electronic mail systems are fine for formal communiques,
but for the times when you might want to simply send a
quick hand-drawn picture (No. Mouse-driven graphics don't
work.) or a note to someone at another terminal, I foresee
a digitizing pad transmission system dedicated to the
purpose. A small self-powered digitizing pad and stylus
with a small memory for multiple pages that could be
plugged into a local transmission port and send the
digitized image to any number of other pads plugged into
other ports. Maybe the entire setup could be even
wireless. The units are small enough to carry around and
use as paperless clipboards for checklists and such.

Field analysis equipment will include a "laptop M-100"
information gathering device (a "Tricorder" if you will)
which will have non-volatile resident software for
molecular analysis, storage of data, and remote terminal
operation of the ship's M-2000. It could also have
little storage compartments for field samples.

Some of the "funkier" things that I want on the ship are:
1) the music composition lab (10 keyboard digital sampling
synthesizer, 150 band parametric equalization, digital
special effects boxes, auxiliary instrument amplifiers
(for strings, guitar/bass, brass, reeds), 25 pad
percussion synthesis system, 36-track digital recorder,
prerecorded-music integration system), 2) personal
holographic projection booths (1 or more), 3) an
artificial ecosystem "life lab" (synthetic seaquarium,
micro rain forest, big sand box for desert creatures,
arctic system simulation), 4) a lab dedicated to synthetic
intelligence interaction (a room to talk with AIME
one-on-one).

In the more sensible range of sections on board are: 1) an
agricultural hydrosystems lab (produces most plant protein
material for consumption and some aesthetic plants), 2) an
engineering technical lab (makes the neat black boxes and
devices which do everything), 3) a medical (human, that
is) research center (broken bones, colds, sniffles,
anorexia, bimedial carcinoma, etc.), 4) the "bridge"
(every ship just has to have one somewhere...), 5) the
direct access floor to the M-2000 plasma banks and fluidic
systems (I don't foresee a 2001 Odyssey happening, but
just in case...), 6) an a lab for everything else I
haven't mentioned (or thought of) yet.

Some simple strategic goals during Excaliba development:
1) Must pass a benchmark of Sol-III to Beta Centauri in
real-time minutes, of three or less (figuring a 67
light-year trip to M-31 taking about four days or so), 2)
must withstand travel through the bottom of the Marianas
Trench with a 24 hour burn-in at the 27,600 foot level
(best on-Earth pressure test, I think), 3) capable of
boring a clear flight path through a mountain at sub-
light speed (any mountain, I'm not picky), 4) reach
orbital altitude in four seconds or less (sub-light)
without blasting a big hole in the ground beneath, 5)
change speed from 1 light to 0 motion in 10 seconds or
less without throwing everything inside against the front
viewports (tests of inertial compensators and gravity
simulators), 6) navigational scanning to exceed 10 AUs at
light, 1 AU at sub-light, 200 AUs at max speed, 7)
deflection ability to move the Earth's natural satellite
at 1/2 apogee, 8) closed-system environment must operate
without breach for a minimum of 10 years real-time.

Among the problems associated with the Excaliba having
long-term (real-time) credibility, are the associated
conflicts of living with the same nineteen other people
for the rest of their lives. Excaliba is designed as a
unilateral venture; it's not supposed to return to Sol-III
unless every question has been answered. I also wonder
about the ability of the extended requisite to not produce
offspring ever again (unless you're okay with leaving the
kids in the care of some intelligent life we find
somewhere). I have this intuitive feeling that the ship's
complement will change over time with the introduction of
people from other worlds and the deposition of some of
ours upon theirs. But then again, who knows?

I find fault with the traditional solution to such
dilemmas -- military-style operation, although I happen to
have a fondness for the rank titles (Commander Lui at your
service, maam). But since experience has shown the
individuals don't get along all of the time, especially in
close quarters, I wonder if the time spent alone in the
environmental simulators, holographic projection booths,
and individual living quarters will be enough to ease the
stress of life in a closed-system. Maybe if I come up
with a way to relieve the mind of stress by exposure to
artificial encephalographic energy segments, a
thought/emotion simulator so to speak. Not mind control,
but emotional exercise. Hmmmm.

So, how much knowledge is there to be learned in the
entire universe? That compadre' is why the Excaliba is my
greatest goal; we will answer that question and many more
to come with the completion of her mission. And provide
the end to the mindless "theorists" of contemporary
science and pave the way for inductive developmental
observationists of the future.