After trillions of miles and thousands of earth years, the living starship Zardoz awakens for 10 microseconds of consciousness while coasting between the stars. It will then shut down for hundreds of years before its next conscious state.
Larger and heaver than an aircraft carrier, the engineers from many earth based corporations designed this starship to live and evolve in space and to explore the lifeforms and matter-energy of the universe and in all their manifestations. Its main source for power comes from starlight. Its thinking and feeling consciousness emerges from its crystal cybernetic computers running from starlight . It uses duty-cycle states to achieve designed conscious states.
Note the "aerodynamic" design. Although the relative vacuum of interstellar space does not require a streamlined ship, this shape allows this starship to fly through the outer atmospheres of massive gaseous planets during gravitational slingshots and for gathering hydrogen for its emergency course correction engines.
The outer hull skin consists of heavy metal alloys containing iridium, tantalum, and osmium and coated with a material to absorb starlight energy. The inner layer skin consists of several meters thickness of iron and lead. These skins protect and shield it from penetrating cosmic particles.
During its eon travels, maintenance robots replace and rebuilt any damaged components throughout its hull. Entire sections of its hull can come apart and replaced by a duplicate, if necessary.
Although the ship's outer skin can absorb enough energy to power its computers, it sometimes needs extra energy to power machines and robots. To achieve this, it deploys solar spheres to gather more energy from starlight. Inflated with hydrogen, they can span miles in diameter. Batteries collect and store the energy for long term voyages.
To navigate and drive to the stars, this starship utilizes gravitational slingshot techniques to gain momentum and velocity for its interstellar voyages. For short duration maneuvering control, it uses various course correction techniques such as hydrogen buring thrusters, ion engines and photon sails. To slow down, it also uses gravity for its main deceleration method, but can also deploy solar parachutes.
The three rings in the aft do not act as engines, but rather reciprocating superconducting magnetic rings for the use of storing reactive materials for long term storage (including terrestrial passengers).
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