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Eight Ball Lander [edited for the Mooch adding inelastic impact dampening technology]

How to recover a lander module using just twice the mass and no fuel
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Jim decided to solve the problem of getting off of the surface of Mars once he is first to land.

The solution is to take two Lander modules. Jim calls them the Eight Ball Lander and the Billiard Ball (Secondary Lander).

Jim uses the Eight Ball Lander to descend to the surface of Mars to take a look around. After planting a flag he jumps back into the Eight Ball and lines up the Billiard Ball in the space module.

Jim releases the Billiard Lander module and starts the journey back to Earth.


Luckily for Jim and with the aid of the practically patented halfbakery development process the Eight Ball comes equipped with inelastic impact dampening technology. This enhancement mitigates the impact and resulting acceleration the Billiard Ball delivers.

Rather than meet the Eight Ball at a dead stop the impact is delayed via translation along the required trajectory.

And behold the Eight Ball *vanishes" somewhat ponderously


Well done Jim!

madness, Jul 27 2017


       Not sure I understand the object here.   

       Does Jim's lander sit on a giant teeter-totter?\   

       Does Jim then spend the rest of his very short life being smeared against the inside of the lander?
RayfordSteele, Jul 27 2017

       While I can see the advantage of a teeter-totter...   

       Nope, the eight ball sits on the surface and the billiard ball impacts it --- transferring the required impulse to return the lander to the space module.   

       Whether Jim survives or not is another matter. It really does depend on g and perhaps the big downy pillows Jim might find.   

       For instance ... on a less massive object the impulse might not be fatal.   

       The point is to explore other solutions to the recognized 'one way' or 'automated only' solutions currently proposed.   

       It is known to be difficult to transfer all the gubbins necessary to lift off of Mars. And a giant anything isn't going to be possible.   

       Perhaps a flubber outer skin on each lander module?
madness, Jul 27 2017

       Uh, [madness], you do realize that Mars's escape velocity is about 5km/s? So, if the impact lasts 100ms (which would require several hundred metres of padding), that's something like 5000G of acceleration.   

       You need to find a better friend - this Jim guy is a dick.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 27 2017

       not to mention that wind resistance and terminal velocity on the way down will remove sufficient energy that the target - even if it absorbs and uses it all - will no longer have the energy to regain the original height. Regardless of whether the capsule is sitting on one end of a see-saw or is hit horizontally like a giant Newton's Cradle.
gtoal, Jul 27 2017

       A giant billiard ball is a ridiculous way to move a small sphere out of the gravity well of Mars. What you need is a giant golf club, probably a sand wedge.
pertinax, Jul 29 2017

       I wonder if a pool ball has ever come to rest, between the barmaid's breasts?   

       All depends on how much screw is place on the white, I suppose.
wjt, Jul 30 2017

       Accepted where terminal velocity does not equal escape velocity input energy is required. Believe it or not --- if 'jumping' from far enough away (obviously) terminal velocity equals escape velocity. And, notwithstanding the aforementioned facts, given that the escape velocity of the Earth is a bit larger than that of Mars, the Billiard Ball can retain more than enough energy for the task required of it.   

       Hmmm nice, in the immortal words of Hannibal, 'I love it when a plan comes together'.   

       Elastic impulse --- now there is a trick to that. Several hundred metres of padding won't do it as MaxwellBuchanan suggests, probably indicating a somewhat limited grasp of physics (and of the problem as specified). Perhaps the 'Little Mooch' should read somewhat more on the topic of 'elastic impulse' before Trump says 'your fired'...   

       I have always thought that the road runner did a good job of pulling stuff along behind it. Whenever I have studied the process it seems as if the faster the road runner goes the more stuff he pulls along behind.   

       Perhaps the 'Little Mooch' (aka MaxwellBuchanan) not having read enough of the physics text could satisfy the requirements with a cartoon sesh..   

       A deft application of Spidey web fluid might do the trick. Rather than allowing the Billiard Lander to actual impact the Eight Ball Lander a bolas like elastic link can be employed to transfer the necessary kinetic energy.   

       Although I think it might be fun to see if the Mooch's fat head can transfer the energy required instead?   

       Now having just calculated the aforementioned details including but not limited to the density of Maxwell Buchanan's head, it occurs that all this stuff is actually environmentally friendly too --- given that all the input energy is not wasted trying to slow down to enter Mars orbit....
madness, Aug 01 2017

       Your obliquity leads to a certain obscurity, but if I understand correctly, you are suggesting that I have a fat head (possibly true, but compared to what?) and that I should use it as a terminal impactor. I'm not sure how this would help matters.   

       Frankly, I don't understand why you're so adamant in defending this Jim person - he seems very much like what we in England are accustomed to referring to as "a bit of a twat". You'd probably be better off posting some of your own ideas - they're bound to be better.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 01 2017

       Jim seems like the doppelganger of Bill on the Red Green Show.
RayfordSteele, Aug 01 2017

       RayfordSteele! Wow what a long time between drinks (well at least for me).   

       Anyway, 'Slapstick' ... it might be useful but I am not sure that there is much point in developing that apparatus when what really needs to be ironed out is the moment of impact. Now I congratulate Maxwell for the offer of his fat head but I also understand that data gained from that apparatus will be insufficient to take this program further.   

       Perhaps a game of pool?   

       Fair enough, I will bite [Maxwell Buchanan] (*chuckle*)   

       Lets propose a ball travelling between points A and B. We accept that the path between these points is irrelevant and a simple probability can be assigned to each of the paths so long as the macro scale properties at each point and time is maintained.   

       The Mooch has proposed that the 'moment' of impact takes a finite amount of time, around 100 ms. The question is when does this moment occur and how long does it actually take. The universe is presumed to know -- - and that assumption is roughly 2500 years old. The assumption is also being *fat*idously maintained since the integral of paths between points A and B above was proposed and accepted within a single lifetime.   

       More recently we have discovered that the assumption regarding location and time may be uncertain. And therefore the assumption above regarding paths between points A and B *may* be disregarded at the macro scale.   

       Without imposing any new conditions on the given problem, from point A an *uncertain* integral can be formed for paths ending at a set of points B. And, given a second ball the intersection of these integrals calculates the moment of impact.   

       What is the benefit of disregarding a two and a half thousand year old assumption about the passage of objects between definite points A and B. Well... its not useful to you as you have demonstrated. What might be useful is for each of you to being the reading. You should start with Paramendies around 500BC and begin your questioning with Feynmen ...   

       *make sure you have plenty of tuna*
madness, Aug 02 2017

       As far as history records, paramedics in 500BC were pretty useless. In fact, there are absolutely _no_ survivors from those troubled times.   

       Besides, if you assume sufficient quantum delocalisation to make the impact survivable, you'll find that this idiot Jim is already, to some extent, in orbit. In fact, to some extent, he has never left Earth, and therefore the problem vanishes.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 02 2017

       "sufficient quantum delocalisation" --- this reminds me of the movie 'The men who stare at goats' based on the book 'The men who stare at goats'.   

       The take away from both of these works is that the American government is prepared to pay big bucks !!
madness, Aug 02 2017

       You're coming close. I suggest pushing the keys in slightly different patterns, and hitting enter.   

       Maybe Jim could conduct an experiment, perhaps jumping out of a U2 spyplane with a blu tack suit to determine how much blu tack would be needed to survive.
RayfordSteele, Aug 02 2017

       Sp. Parmenides, Feynman.   

       If you disperse impact energy through a blob of blue tack, I don't think you get it back later.   

       A giant see-saw might serve you better since, with enough flex, it could translate deceleration on one side into acceleration on the other with sufficient lag for the acceleration to be non-murderous. Contact your supplier of unobtanium today.
pertinax, Aug 02 2017

       // I don't think you get it back later. //   

       You don't; some of the energy is dissipated as heat, since the coefficient of restitution is less than 1 (not perfectly elastic).   

       If the coefficient is 1, or close to it, then the "pool ball" phenomenon does indeed operate, but the accelerations are huge. Single-celled organisms suspended in fluid might survive; eukaryotes would have no chance.   

       On the plus side, when he arrives home, Jim can exit his vehicle quickly via a tube; quite a small diameter one, though ...
8th of 7, Aug 02 2017

       I slept on it while Jim conducted the required experiments...   

       As the Mooch suggested and you all have concurred there is pesky little time for Jim to escape. So in the absence of the unobtanium quantum mechanism hinted at by the men who stare at goats --- Jim will need to get the ball rolling under his own steam (at least a little bit in any case).   

       'Blu(e)' tack removed...   

       Given the edit above, lets suppose also that the Billiard Ball carries Jill who also wants to go to Mars. Given that Jim is leaving and Jill is arriving it is possible to knock Jim out of orbit and land Jill on the planet using slight less energy than is required if they both have to employ traditional mechanisms.   

       Its all green for go now me thinks.... best inform the media, start the crowd funding and get those Big Bucks !!
madness, Aug 03 2017

       This idea made me imagine a pool game where you have to play while the balls are still moving.
wjt, Aug 03 2017

       Not surprising- after all, this idea is a lot of balls.
8th of 7, Aug 03 2017

       Exactly ... I think more than just eight - makes me think of Orion (without the nuclear radiation).
madness, Aug 03 2017

       Orion's a very crude, dirty concept, even if it does have high specific impulse. There are much better thermal nuclear propulsion designs around.   

       Why do you want to go to Mars, anyway ? It's a dump. Nothing much in the way of easily-accessible useful minerals, almost no free water, early closing Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and quite frankly the TV is rubbish.   

       There are much more interesting places to go.
8th of 7, Aug 03 2017

       To be fair to Jim, this an idea for leaving Mars.
pertinax, Aug 03 2017

       There's nothing wrong with leaving Mars. The error is going to Mars in the first place ...
8th of 7, Aug 03 2017


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