Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ice Sculptures in Space

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In orbit carve giant ice sculptures of Earthly animals, then give them a push to send them to distant stars. The cold and the vacuum would pretty much preserved them for millions of years, unless they got hit by space junk. Much more impressive than a gold record.
simonj, Feb 14 2008

How To Preserve An Ice Sculpture http://unrealitymag...ds/2009/04/solo.jpg
[Amos Kito, Feb 14 2008, last modified Mar 05 2011]

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       No real need to carve them either, just send up a mold full of water
simonj, Feb 14 2008
  

       Seriously?? it's 7c in orbit? that's surprising.
simonj, Feb 14 2008
  

       How soon can you get the ice sculpture out of the Solar System?
Amos Kito, Feb 14 2008
  

       How soon do you want 'em? :)
simonj, Feb 14 2008
  

       if a flake of paint in space can do serious damage what chaos could a chunk of ice do? I'm surprised by that temperature too - you just imagine its pretty chilly.
po, Feb 14 2008
  

       I've got a feeling that water ice sublimes in a vacuum, but I'll have to find a reference.

Maybe with a few orbital lasers, we could remotely sculpt comets.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Feb 14 2008
  

       So... will it work?   

       ... bun pending...
theleopard, Feb 14 2008
  

       Much thanks to UnaBubba for the math. Until it's well beyond the orbit of Mars, at 1.5 AU, the ice is in danger of evaporating -- it's "hb's comet", not the more desirable "hb's irradiated giant llama-sicle ambassador to the stars". Hence the suggestion to the get it further away from old Sol, so that it's just sublimating.   

       [simonj], I thought the gold record idea was silly. But nobody asked me at the time.
Amos Kito, Feb 14 2008
  

       //giant ice sculptures of Earthly animals//
Why not actual animals? What else are we going to do with the elephants?
ldischler, Feb 14 2008
  

       Bad Science - the ice will evaporate long before it gets to the stars. Heck, try it in your fridge - haven't you notice the ice cubes in your ice trays steadily evaporate? Just imagien how much faster that will go in a vacuum.   

       However, you could probably fix that to a large degree by plastic coating them, or some such. And I do like the idea of inflicting ice sculptures on our near galactic neighbors.
DrCurry, Feb 14 2008
  

       I'd like to make an enormous ice sculpture of David Bowie in space. That's pretty far out man.
theleopard, Feb 14 2008
  

       Wow, [UB]! Most impressive math and knowledge. As always. (I've often wondered at those claims that the inside of freshly-fallen meteorite are incredibly cold--now I'm sure they are wrong.)   

       [DrC] I thought that only modern frost-free freezers have that ice-subliming problem. Older ones tend to build up crystals all over. Which suggests your plastic idea is good.   

       May I suggest a big plastic bubble, rather than a hard, shaped coating. If the bubble has enough vapor in it, the ice should not sublime. If it could be rigged to pop once far enough from the sun . . .
baconbrain, Feb 14 2008
  

       [Unabubba] I have to quibble with your thermodynamics. You first say that, because the sun delivers X power, an ideal flat plate will reach 121C.   

       You *then* add in black-body radiation which dissipates energy and brings it to a lower equilibrium temperature.   

       However, without black-body radiation (as per first para), and with constant energy input, the plate will reach an arbitrarily high temperature - why would it stop at 121°C?   

       So, it may well equilibrate at 7°C, but the reasoning by which you get there is screwy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2008
  

       //David Bowie in space//
Switch on the TV, we may pick him up on Channel Two.
Amos Kito, Feb 14 2008
  

       I think we should launch space rockets full of water from Canada into orbit, make ice cubes, and then drop them over the Sahara. Eh.   

       No, my humor is not good this morning. Need something fresh to wake me up.
django, Feb 14 2008
  

       //Bad Science - the ice will evaporate long before it gets to the stars//
If that were true, all those comets in the Oort cloud would have evaporated over the past 4 billion years or so.
ldischler, Feb 14 2008
  

       But, [Unabubba], even if you grant those assumptions, it's still wrong.   

       Before you introduce black body radiation, your plate has no means of losing heat. Hence, it's nonsense to say that it will "settle at a temperature of around 121C", or any other temperature - it would just get hotter until it vapourized.   

       Equilibration is only possible because of black body radiation.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2008
  

       For all we know, the objects in the Oort cloud used to be bigger.   

       I have another concern. Would the admittedly small gravity of the chunk of ice gradually pull it into a spherical shape? If so, how long would that take?
nineteenthly, Feb 15 2008
  

       // Ice is viscous, but not terribly so// Both untrue. Ice is crystalline (as opposed to, say, glass, which is not), and hence it requires a finite force to distort it at all. In this sense, the term viscosity doesn't apply. Also, what you meant to say was "very viscous" (ie, very thick like glass, not runny like water), even though the term doesn't apply.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 15 2008
  

       "Would you like ice in your drink?" - "Viscous or crystalline?" - "hmmmm that's a tough one, can I phone a friend?" Nice idea, by the way [simonj]. +
xenzag, Feb 16 2008
  
      
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