Fire? FIIIIRRRREEEEE!!!!

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GregH GregH's picture
Fire? FIIIIRRRREEEEE!!!!

Re-reading good ol "Schismatrix" as I think it's probably one of the better starters to get me into the zone with EP. There's a funny scene toward the beginning where the main character freaks out over a cigarette being lit in a habitat... but when you think about it Pyrophobia is probably a survival trait in a generation literally lost in space. Would the same apply for EP? I can see a "hidden defect" that kicks in when the character, who was raised in a habitat, descends to Venus or Mars and this guy lits up... if nothing else could be a good roleplaying moment.

Admini Admini's picture
Don't get me wrong, it


Don't get me wrong, it sounds like solid character depth. But why would they fear fire? Most of the materials on a space station aren't flammable, and I'd think that with nanotech widely available, automated anti-fire measures have hopefully gone a long way. I just don't see it being any bigger for them than for us.

Slith Slith's picture
Fire is dangerous in space

Fire is dangerous in space because it uses Oxygen as a fuel - a vital resource, especially in enclosed areas like a space station.



And I think it's rather disingenuous to say that most things on a space station aren't flammable - that's true for the ISS, but everything that goes up onto the space station is screened for flammability, and something like a cigarette would -never- make it up there. Obviously in Eclipse Phase, the restrictions won't nearly be so harsh.



Even with the flammability restrictions, there are plenty of things that can catch fire on the ISS or any other space station - an oxygen tank, for instance. [This actually happened on MIR, by the way.] Putting out that kind of fire is basically impossible, you must wait until it burns all the fuel, and hope nothing is damaged.



There is further an issue with high-oxygen areas. Astronauts breathe pure oxygen before going out on spacewalks, and an oxygen rich environment is an extreme fire hazard. Some things even spontaneously combust when exposed to that much O2. The infamous Apollo 1 accident was a result of a fire occurring in a 100% oxygen atmosphere.



Obviously, lighting a cigarette in such a location is basically a death sentence, and that's before getting to the problem of where the oxygen comes from. If a fire burns up too much of the oxygen on a space station, everyone is going to end up suffocating, as unlike Earth, there is no limitless supply of the stuff. Doing something like venting the atmosphere on a station could be just as bad as letting a fire run itself out.