In the relatively realistic (hopefully), near future, scifi book I am writing I am at a point where I am describing the observation deck of a large ship belonging to a wealthy “business man” (see space-age mob boss). The idea is that his private yacht/destroyer is unique because the observation deck is a ring that wraps around the ship externally, with roughly half of its exterior surface being essentially transparent. This would give the effect that while inside the observation deck the floor is completely clear and an external view of space would be visible downward as well as through several front and rear facing windows (think Space Needle or Sears Tower).
This is also unique, because in my book most of ship design is very submarine-esque. There is no artificial gravity, so crew still uses simulated gravity through rotating rings (meaning no “gravity generator” or “gravity plates” BS). The design of the ship hasn’t really changed too much from a 2001 Space Odyssey type design, except that the entire ship has a sort of armor shell around it, giving it that submarine look.
My main concern is:
Would radiation and/or heat build up be a concern for having so much of the ship not behind some sort of protective shielding?
My current understanding is that existing designs for glass (or transparent composites) on spacecraft isn’t great at reducing these risks, therefore the windows are small (and possibly have removable covers) to block as much heat and radiation as necessary. I could be wrong about that of course though.
Some secondary questions might be:
Is current glass/window technology at a point where it is able to effectively resist these forces?
If not, what sort of limits would I have on spaceship window placement and/or design?
Also, no energy fields or radiation deflector hocus-pocus. I am actually planning to use handwavium to get this appearance anyway, but I would prefer it be a unique aspect of the ship, rather than something that is totally normal and relatively achievable with known engineering standards.
Edit: I guess I hadn’t thought to take speed of the craft into account so I would say it takes about 3 to 4 months to reach the heliopause from the inner planets (Venus, Earth, Mars). I probably did my math wrong, but thats roughly 1 million km/h max speed (I think we will go metric in space). I know thats 22000 times faster than the space shuttle has ever gone, so I suppose I’m gonna have to handwavium that one. Thanks for pointing out a huge flaw in my physics though.
Edit: I think I may already know my answer, but I am adding a little more just to further the discussion some before I make a choice. I am avoiding the projected screens and specifically looking for actual windows. The reasoning being that this is the unique feature of the ship. For all the reasons not to do so, that’s why I want to. It’s like the mob boss is showing off that he doesn’t fear the risks of attack, and to give it a kind of “see with my own eyes” kind of feel. Like arguing that vinyl records sound better than MP3s despite the many reasons they are more convenient.