A Ramscoop uses a powerful magnetic field to draw in hydrogen atoms into a holding area.
It is a variant of a Bussard ramjet, which operates on the same principles as a ramscoop but instead of drawing in particles and storing them, a Bussard Ramjet accelerates the particles via an electromagnetic field and expels them from the opposite end with extreme velocity, which allows every vessel that is connected to a Bussard ramjet to travel at about 77% of the speed of light.
Placement and ShapeEdit
A ramscoop is usually placed on the bottom of vessels. The size of a ramscoop is usually very large, and it usually covers the entire bottom of a starship. The ramscoop is actually shaped roughly like an V, but with gradual angles that taper from the wide opening to tubes that lead to the hydrogen tanks. It has a very wide opening, but it is flat, with the opening being shaped like a squashed and elongated oval. The wide part of the ramscoop is pointed towards the front of the ship it is mounted on, as this is the end that attracts the particles. Because of the size of a ramscoop, only some of the largest ships like High Guard battle cruisers and Nietzschean frigates can handle or even mount a ramscoop.
Andromeda Ascendant's ramscoop is placed on the bottom of her hull, so when she skims over the surface of a star or dips into the atmosphere of a gas giant she can suck in the elements that she needs.
The amount of hydrogen that a ramscoop can hold is enormous, and although one can turn on and run a ramscoop in open space and asteroid fields, this is never done because in open space the amount of hydrogen would be negligible, and in an asteroid field or in orbit anything magnetic would be drawn into the scoop and cause irreparable damage to the ships ramscoop and storage tanks. Also, in the vacuum of space in-between planets and stars, there is only roughly 10−21 kg of mass per cubic meter in space, and most of that mass consists of other gasses and matter. This means that the ramscoop scoop would have to sweep 1018 cubic meters of space to locate one gram of hydrogen, so a ship like the Andromeda Ascendant would]] actually not have enough fuel to move fast enough to locate the hydrogen. Because of those facts, the only source of hydrogen without any contaminants is a star. In order to locate the hydrogen, the ship seeking it has to skim the corona of a star for several minutes several times, as prolonged exposure to the radiation output by a star would be deadly to a ships crew as they would die once the ships radiation shielding failed from repeated exposure.
The hydrogen drawn into the ramscoop by its magnetic field is shunted to special tanks that are different from the ones its stored in, where it is then purified and refined and then deposited in larger tanks for storage. From there, it used in the fusion reactors of a ship. The hydrogen and Antiprotons are released and regulated by an Antiproton Solenoid Valve, and then carefully mixed several nanoseconds before it is injected into the fusion reactor or the MagnetoplasmaDynamic Drive to fuel the process of fusion, which then provides the enormous power requirements of a starship such as the Andromeda.
Ramscoops were relatively common before the Long Night; large Systems Commonwealth vessels have them installed so that during times of crisis or isolation they can be self-sustaining. However, they are rare in post-fall times as many ships are not either large enough or technologically advanced enough utilize them.