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Fetch Mars

It's all gone fractal.
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Mars (the planet, not the chocolate bar) is interesting but inconveniently far away. The same is true of, say, Venezuela, from the viewpoint of an Englishmen, but Venezuela is already conveniently close to, say, Brazil; hence, arguments for moving Venezuela closer to England will meet with opposition from Brazilian Venezuelophiles. No such objections exist in the case of Mars, which is currently a long way from everyone.

So.

Clearly, Mars's current location is wrong, and this needs to be addressed.

There has been much debate and discussion over the stability of the solar system. In general, it is pretty stable, but freak events can (and probably have) destabilised things in the past. For instance, a large asteroid passes close to a small moon, and slingshots the moon just enough to bring the latter close to another slightly larger moon, destabilizing that one, which (on a bad day) can destabilise something bigger, and so forth.

Luckily for us (who like Earth where it is right now), significant solar-system destabilisation is a very rare event: to move a planet would take a long chain of progressively larger slingshot events, and the odds of this chain happening are vanishingly small.

But.

We have the ability to calculate orbits very precisely, and have already used this to create cascades of slingshots for spacecraft. There is no reason why we can't use this to move Mars. We find a Land Rover-sized lump of rock, and give it the necessary nudge to slingshot a slightly larger lump, and a larger one still, and so on up to a small moon, and ultimately Mars itself. With a very-well- calculated nudge in the first place, my guess is that 5 or 6 cascaded slingshots would be enough to go and fetch Mars and put it nearer to Earth.

The advantages are, of course, obvious. A second moon (ie, Mars) would be pretty, and it would greatly reduce the difficulty of Mars exploration and manned missions. Tidal effects on earth might be tricky, but with a bit of luck we could harness the resulting tidal energy.

Obviously, once we get decent propulsion systems for spaceflight and can cover real interplanetary distances, we could put Mars back where we found it and maybe go fetch Jupiter for a closer look.

MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2009

Mars vs. Earth http://nssdc.gsfc.n...sheet/marsfact.html
They should know, they have been there. [eight_nine_tortoise, Apr 01 2009]

[link]






       This sounds like the most complicated plant in history.
calum, Apr 01 2009
  

       The other option would be to move Mars into the same orbit as Earth, but on the other side of the sun. You could then create a pleasant Earth-like environment and recoup your costs by selling the land for development. Of course you'd have to make Mars the same mass as Earth first which would be a challenge (currently Mars is about 10% of the mass of Earth).   

       [calum] I would have thought the most complicated plant in history would be some exotic rainforest specimen...?
hippo, Apr 01 2009
  

       It is usually the big lumps that slingshot the small lumps - how do you propose to reverse the roles?
loonquawl, Apr 01 2009
  

       Nicely, written. Tick.
Well reasoned. Tick.
Wholly impractical. Tick.
Bun given. Tick.
coprocephalous, Apr 01 2009
  

       I'm worried that cost of fetching Mars would put us in the red.
Aristotle, Apr 01 2009
  

       Why not use a Land Rover sized lump of Land Rover? JaguarLandRover have plenty of them free at present sitting on an airfield.   

       Whilst this is possible I think you will find that even with the level of calculation that NASA employ for solar system flybys that there is still a level of uncertainty with every calculated trajectory. If we scale that up over the number of destabilistion events needed to move something the mass of Mars (641,850,000 EKg) starting with something the mass of a Land Rover sized rock (approx 2,000 Kg). Then I think I would want to evacuate the Earth just in case of any mishap. [-]
eight_nine_tortoise, Apr 01 2009
  

       //No such objections exist in the case of Mars, which is currently a long way from everyone.//

Well, apart from the Martians that is. I think that a referundum should be held amongst the democratic, freedom-loving Martian folk before we start mucking about with their planet.

//Clearly, Mars's current location is wrong, and this needs to be addressed.//

Sounds like a job for the Post Office to me.
DrBob, Apr 01 2009
  

       I think it should be Trojan, or, if we want it closer, in a Langrangian point, particularly L five. Were it there, it would be slightly warmer than Earth, quite accessible and still visible as a disc, i think. Yes, now i come to think of it, at the L five point between the Sun and Earth, it would be around five times the Moon´s distance, but being twice the size, that would make it look maybe half the apparent diameter of the Moon. It would also cause eclipses, but would be completely dark all the time to us. At the Lagrange point superior to us, it would be clearly visible as full, but i don´t know how far away it would be.
There would also be a whole new set of tides.
nineteenthly, Apr 01 2009
  

       //It is usually the big lumps that slingshot the small lumps// Yes, that's true, but the reverse can apply also. Basically, any momentum gained by one is lost by the other and vice versa. So, come to think of it, we should equip the Land Rover with some cameras and telemetry, and it can follow Pioneers 1 and 2 on their journey to the stars, as a bonus. It's a win win situation.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2009
  

       //I think it should be Trojan// We're not signing sponsorship deals yet, but point noted.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2009
  

       Really Mars should just be recreated in Vegas. They have recreated many other things such as Paris, leaving out the nasty bits and just keeping the stuff people pay to see. Mars could be added to the pack. Plus Vegas is amply stocked with people who could play the roles of the gravity defying and scantily-harnessed Barsoomians. The red barsoomians; the green would take a little more doing.
bungston, Apr 01 2009
  

       sp. eleven and twelve.
nineteenthly, Apr 01 2009
  

       Is this a hint to the next N-Prize?
MisterQED, Apr 01 2009
  

       No, the successor to the N-Prize will be difficult.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 01 2009
  

       I thought the N-prize was difficult enough. How about a slack one next?
bungston, Apr 01 2009
  

       and today's date is?
xenzag, Apr 01 2009
  

       //This sounds like the most complicated plant in history//Lister managed to do that in an episode of Red Dwarf - yay 4 new episodes coming to a small screen near you at Easter.
po, Apr 01 2009
  

       I think it would be easy to recreate Mars in Las Vagus, as far as I understand it recent descoveris have shown Mars to have more water than Los Vogos. So you only have to wetten Les Vogon a bit and it will be just the somme. Oh, and use small helium bollons to give the improsion of reduced grovity. (sorry abo't t't' spelling, must the be Martian Tone Slip.)
eight_nine_tortoise, Apr 01 2009
  

       There are planet moving schemes in this great book: Great Mambo Chicken And The Transhuman Condition.   

       Don't be put off by the title, this is a fab and inspiring book, and essential reading for any good Baker.
xenzag, Apr 01 2009
  

       If we put it in a slightly higher orbit than the Earth then every year+ we do a slow flyby... gotta calculate it such that the Moon is fully waxed one year then fully waned the next... that would put it(the Moon) into a more interesting orbit around the Earth as well.
FlyingToaster, Apr 01 2009
  

       If you could accelerate a land rover fast enough to knock something else into something else into mars, you could use that same amount of energy and just move mars to begin with. Less actually.
DIYMatt, Apr 01 2009
  

       Perturbation.
eight_nine_tortoise, Apr 02 2009
  

       // equip the Land Rover with some cameras and telemetry, and it can follow Pioneers 1 and 2// Bun just for this...
VaquitaTim, Apr 02 2009
  

       //They have recreated many other things such as Paris, leaving out the nasty bits//
They're called "Parisians"
coprocephalous, Apr 02 2009
  
      
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