Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going to Mars

So why don't we go to mars? Here is a list of the usual complaints:
  • It's very far away
  • There is no oxygen
  • Martians hate Earthlings
I've figured out a solution to this first common complaint: Build a giant harpoon gun, and "reel her in, boys."

Okay, maybe my first plan was a little too "sci-fi" or "moby-dick" but I did come up with something that forced me to do math, and might actually work!

The whole deal is that we build a craft that can achieve a constant acceleration for a prolonged period of time. Then, half way through the trip, decelerate at the exact same constant for the exact same time. The constant could be set at 9.8m/s to simulate gravity on earth, thus avoiding space bone deterioration AND give the flight a home-ee feel.

Since there is no resistance in space, this should be a relatively easy feat of engineering. The Sun would be the most likely source of propulsion for more distant destinations, but a trip to Mars should offer a wider range of fuel options. I suggest a series of pulleys. (Pulleys are awesome, but I'll leave the fuel aspect *unknown* at this stage.)

So, on to the math:

First we need to figure out just how far we'd need to travel. Unfortunately, Mars is not always the same distance from earth, due to some unresolved orbital issues. The shortest distance is about 55 million kilometers away, and this distance only comes around ever gugillion Earth years.

So, in an effort to make this distance obtainable in the near future, we've set the distance at a modest 60 million kilometers.

***60,000,000,000m to Mars

Split that in half to figure out the speed achieved over that distance

Formula: v^2  = u^2 + 2as
DISTANCE: 30,000,000,000m
FINAL VELOCITY: 767,202m/s (1,716,181mph)

Calculate the time needed to reach that speed

Formula: v = u + at
FINAL VELOCITY: 767,202m/s
TIME: 78206s (21h 43m)

At this point in the trip to mars, the craft would turn around and accelerate at the same 9.8m/s in the opposite direction, causing the ship to slow to a stop at Mars, while maintaining that Earth like gravitational feel for the passengers and crew. (A brief moment of weightlessness may be necessary while turning the space craft.)

Multiply the TIME above by 2, and it would take less than 2 days to reach Mars. (~1 day 19 hours 27 minutes) Awesome!

And now you ask "What about 'common complaints' #2 and #3 from the top, supreme overlord?"

1) There is no oxygen
  • Fish can breath under water, so... Space Gill
2) Martians hate Earthlings
  • This problem will not present itself until we tax the first colonists for tea and stamps

1 comment:

John Meyers said...

Nice try, but you have to have a better fuel plan than just saying "the sun".
Although a simple 1G plan would be nice.