Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Need for Bruce Willis

In the movie Armageddon we had a giant meteor coming to Earth, threathening to devastate life as we know it. The movie's answer to this problem was to send Bruce Willis to the said rock so he could blow it up.

But scifi needs to get little more "sci", less "fi" and do little more research on these asteroid flicks. We need to understand that it takes an huge amount of energy for a large object to travel through space. Yes, yes, it has happened before; a giant meteor destroyed dinasaurs, which indirectly, allowed humans to evolve and come to its present form, bla bla. Right.

But lesser known fact is how that meteor got here; it followed a route in space called the Interplanetary Superhighway (IPS).

This is a relatively new finding in space research. Due to development in nonlinear dynamics, and the solution of the (restricted) three-body problem, we know that in the chaos (as in chaos theory) of gravity fields, certain "points" and "routes" exist that can act as steady points, and / or routes that take you NEAR ZERO ENERGY to travel through. That is, once you propel yourself with a big enough burst, you will fly through them as if you are in some kind of man made tube in space.

That is how the giant meteor millions of years ago could reach Earth. It followed one of these "easy" routes through space. Then the message to makers of meteor-comes-to-Earth type of flicks is this:


If Armageddon script writers did little more research, they would know that you could simply "nudge" the rock to park it in one of the so-called "Lagrange points". These points are steady, and once you are in them, you stay there. Why would we want to "destroy" meteors anyway? We could mine them for metals and minerals. They are no danger, they are a big opportunity!

IPS is no simple dream theory -- it has been in actual use. NASA Genesis mission used IPS to travel around Sun / Earth, and the same math managed to save Japanese Hiten Lunar mission.

Discovery, National Geographic: A program on IPS would be nice.

More details below.

Ed Belbruno

Martin Lo Paper [PDF]


Work, etc

(New way is too slow) An interesting article: says "simply having the option to decline a task has been shown to boost productivity ...