Saturday, September 23, 2006

We all want a way to send people to the Moon. We did it in the sixties and the seventies, but not since then. And yet over the past few years, numerous people whom we really don't want on Earth have cropped up, both in politics and entertainment. So what we need is a new plan for getting people to the Moon. Several concepts worth considering exist:

A crappy stick diagram of a spaceship being fired from a cannon.One distinguished author had the thought of launching the spaceship from a cannon. This has the benefit of not weighing the ship down with tons of fuel. It has the disadvantage of extreme acceleration--enough to kill the passengers--and (assuming you aim well) extreme deceleration--enough to squash or bury the passengers upon arrival.

A large blue ball (Earth) connected to a smaller grey ball (the Moon) by a wavy line. This ia a crappy diagram of a space elevator to the Moon!Another method worth considering would be to build a bridge. Space elevators are talked about a lot, but if you really want something useful, you should make a space elevator going all the way to the Moon's surface.
This idea, however, has the disadvantage of disrupting the Moon's orbit around the Earth or the Earth's rotation. While I wouldn't mind longer days, I would object to the Moon being pulled apart by sudden deceleration and then falling on our ambitious heads.
Of course, this can easily be avoided. Most space elevator designs are flexible, and many have movable bases. All we need is a full track around the Earth's surface so the base can follow the Moon. (Gravity has slowed the Moon's rotation to match it's revolution, so we can fix the point it attaches to the Moon.) We'll also need some stretchiness, as orbits are elliptical. We'll keep this as a backup plan.

A crappy stick drawing of an uphappy guy standing below falling shards of glass.There was also an idea from a clever French poet noted for his oversized proboscis. He figured that in the morning, dew rose from the ground up to the Sun. So he figured we could fill a bunch of vials with dew, attach them to our hapless spaceman, and watch him float up into the sky come morning.
In his outline for this plan, however, he predicted a small problem. The astronaut found himself going too far (keep in mind the dew goes to the Sun, not the Moon) and had to break the vials to stop his ascent.
I'm sure I don't have to point out to you the dangers of shards of glass raining down from the upper atmosphere or beyond. This plan should be only used as a last resort, and only if we have force shields to protect us from deadly glassrain.

A public domain photo of Apollo 15 on the Moon's surface, with the flag flying and a saluting astronaut. The Moon Lander and Moon Rover to the right.Lastly, there's the option of reviving the methods used by NASA. These, however, have the politically unpopular characteristic of being based on actual science, something the jury is still out on.



Anonymous said...

Not only are you better than Hawking, you're better than Maddox.

LKBM said...

I've been informed that Angelina Jolie's adopted Cambodian son is named Maddox.

Poor guy.