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Bussard Collectors

Your ship can be fitted with Bussard Collectors. Often these are mounted at the front of the warp Nacelle's, but can actually be mounted anywhere on the ship. These are used to gather in cosmic dust and gases for analysis or for fuel.

Our galaxy is filled with stellar matter, even in the depth of space between stars. This becomes far denser inside nebulas and proto planet disks around suns.

Each Bussard collector can be linked to up to either a holding tank, a Deuterium tanks or ejected straight into space.

Note, that pushing the wrong gas/matter into a deuterium tank may contaminate it and reduce its efficiency. To help with this, each Bussard collector has nano-filters fitted which filter out unwanted elements and only allow specific atoms through. There are standard presets for these filters for commons tasks. These are:
Refuel: Only allows Heavy Hydrogen (Deuterium) through.

Quick Refuel: Allows Heavy Hydrogen and Hydrogen through. The starship can use normal Hydrogen, but it is far less efficient than Deuterium. However Hydrogen is usually far more abundant than Deuterium and the ship will usually refuel far faster. Useful for a quick recharge.

Analysis: Allows everything in, but ejects it straight into space.

As stellar matter is strained through the filters a real time analysis of the matter is reported. This real time analysis is also logged into the central computer as a continuous stream of data that can be retrieved at any time.

Each of the elements is logged by the filter. Organic matter is also detected by the filter.

In the void of space matter cannot be “sucked” into the collectors, therefore normally stellar matter either drifts into the collectors (if the ship is stationary) or is scooped up as the ship moves forward. Greater forward momentum will increase the quantity of matter ingested.

In dense stellar matter such as nebula or gas clouds, then the Bussard Collectors can employ their ionized collectors to suck in gas. The ionized collectors can also be used to expel gas/matter from a holding tank, or a deuterium tank.

It should be noted that ingesting certain elements may cause frosting to form on the filters which reduces their efficiency. Normally particles remain in their current state (gaseous) due to the insulation of the vacuum of space. However when they come in contact with a cold surface (such as a filter exposed to space) then they quickly revert back to their solid state. This frosting can be avoided by using the heating elements in the nano-filters. If these should fail, then using the ionized collectors to expel gas/matter also has the effect of removing the frosting. Moving the starship close to (and facing) a star will also help to defrost the filters. Finally closing the filter doors will allow heat from the rest of the ship to gradually thaw the frost. The filter doors must be closed when the ship is at warp, or serious damage to the Bussard Collectors will be caused.

If the doors sustain damage this might prevent them from being opened/closed until they are repaired. If they fail in the open position then the captain will have to decide whether he wishes to cause further damage to both the doors and the collectors by going to warp.