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Vary Earth Orbit to Accomodate "Climate Change"

Hand Me Another Saturn V Rocket, Will You?
  [vote for,

Depending on which group of scientists you want to listen to, Earth is either warming or cooling. All of these scientists are annoying and not inclined to shut up about it. Short of locking them all in a gymnasium and having them duke it out to determine the winner, I have devised a method to simply move the Earth to an orbit either further away from, or closer to, the Sun.

All one has to do is ring the Earth with clusters of Saturn V rockets. How close these rockets are to each other is something that could be worked out based on the thrust required. If you want to move the Earth closer to the sun because the "Earth is cooling!" scientists won the argument, then fire the rockets in order, as the world revolves, so that the rockets fire when they are on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. If the "Earth is warming!" scientists win, then the rockets nearest the Sun will fire when they are on that side.

If you move the Earth to a closer orbit, slow it down using the rockets... if you move the Earth away, speed it up. This is accomplished by tilting the rocket clusters one way or another. This way calendars and clocks won't have to be reset.

This may later prove to be the greatest idea of the century (comparable to the advent of the modern toaster). If the Earth moves one way to satisfy one set of scientists, they will eventually be proven to be hapless boobs who got it wrong. This will create a groundswell of support to swing wildly into the orbit espoused by the other set of scientists, then THEY will eventually be proven to be hapless boobs who got it wrong.

Sooner or later everyone on Earth will realize it was just fine where it started out in the first place and we shouldn't have been dicking with it at all. (Of course, neither one of these scenarios will give pause to the [dubiously described] "experts" who are certain that all our problems are caused by cow-poop-generated methane, but we can deal with them after we shut these other guys up. I'm thinking Seal Team 6.)

Handy Dandy Facts:

-- Venus and Mars are roughly 75,000,000 miles from each other, with Earth nested comfortably in the middle. That gives the Earth plenty of space on either side to move in its orbit if necessary.

-- Saturn V rockets are bad-ass engines and provide oodles and oodles of lovely thrust.

-- The circumference of the earth (at the equator, if that makes a difference) is about 24,901 miles, which means that if you space the Saturn rocket clusters 100 miles apart you'd need 2,490 of them. At least NASA would have something useful to do again.

-- Climate scientists, now with nothing to do, will be forced to switch professions. Many of these will end up working at McDonalds, where, in an ironic twist, they will likely drone on about the burgers being either too hot or too cold. Go figure.

-- GROG will be waiting by the phone for the Nobel committee to call...

Grogster, May 20 2011

Invader Zim - Planet Jackers http://www.youtube....vu0&feature=related
How to move the earth closer to a sun. [spidermother, May 21 2011]


       //Saturn V rockets are bad-ass// Strongest argument in favor of this proposal.
mouseposture, May 20 2011

       Grog might be waiting a long time.   

       Warmer or colder? Take a sinusoidal curve. Add a linear curve at some gentle angle. That's what we've got going on. The trend is warmer than it should be, although we're in a supposed cooling period over that relatively regular sinusoid.
RayfordSteele, May 20 2011

       Saturn V 3.99x10^7 N thrust. Earth 5.9742 × 10^24 kg mass. Earth mean orbital velocity 29.78 km/s. One Saturn V imparts 6.68x10^-18 m/s. A 0.001% change in the earths velocity would require 4.4x10^13 Saturns. A grand total of 15 Saturns V were ever built. There may be a few practical problems with this approach.
MechE, May 20 2011

       I'm still seeing the glass half full here... <<< GROG, ever the optimist...
Grogster, May 20 2011

       //If you want to move the Earth closer to the sun ... then fire the rockets ... when they are on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun.//   

       //If you move the Earth to a closer orbit, slow it down using the rockets//   

spidermother, May 20 2011

       [spidermother], it has to be that way because if it is a smaller orbit going around the sun (assuming the same speed) it would make for fewer days in a year...
Grogster, May 20 2011

       OK, but the usual way to reduce orbital diameter is to produce thrust in the direction opposite to the direction of motion, and additional thrusts to correct the eccentricity.   

       You are describing a wildly inefficient, brute force method, kind of as if we tried to address CO2 emissions using energy intensive technological fixes while insisting on expansion of economies, population, and per-capita consumption ... Oh, I see. As you were.
spidermother, May 20 2011

       //additional thrusts to correct the eccentricity//   

       It hasn't worked for me so far, but I'm more than willing to try thrusting again (and again, and again) if it will correct my eccentricity.
Grogster, May 20 2011

       Why not just fling a few giant asteroids at the Earth? It's worked before...
Alterother, May 20 2011

       [MechE] - //would require 4.4x10^13 Saturns//   

       Just filling that many S-1Cs (first stage) would require 6x10^19 kg of oxygen; given there's a total of about 1.5x10^18 kg of oxygen in the atmosphere, we'd be overdrawn by a factor of forty.   

       I guess that might be one of the //few practical problems//.   

       [Grogster] - //This way calendars and clocks won't have to be reset// If you change the actual amount of time in a year, you can't get away from changing at least the clocks. You could adjust to still have a 365 day year, but you won't have a 24 hour day if you do.
lurch, May 20 2011

       I would like to formally apologize for tossing a joke into what has clearly evolved into a serious rocket science discussion. As has been pointed out before, I am not a rocket scientist. Carry on, gentlemen; I will sit quietly in my corner and learn.
Alterother, May 20 2011

       It's also going to be something of a bummer when you do gather together enough rocket motors and oxygen and do this, only to find out that the climate scientists were all talking shit and that the warming/cooling just carries on doing its own thing regardless of all of your groaning and puffing and panting.
infidel, May 20 2011

       I imagine that the release by combustion of enough energy to change the Earth's very orbit will warm the globe at least a little, so let's try heading out towards Mars first.   

       Also, for a look at a world whose orbit is shifted sunwards, go and watch 1961's "The Day The Earth Caught Fire".
friendlyfire, May 20 2011

       //warming/cooling just carries on doing its own thing regardless//   

       ...that's kinda the point, [infidel]...
Grogster, May 20 2011

       [Grogster], not that it really matters to the idea, but you have a slight misunderstanding about the nature of being in orbit. At a given radius, there will be only one speed that has a stable orbit - anything else will either spiral inward to the sun or spiral outwards and away. This is why there is only one altitude above the earth that can be considered geostationary.   

       A vehicle powered by a solar sail, in orbit, can move towards or away from the sun by using the sail to change its angular velocity. Directing the thrust towards or away from the sun is very inefficient.
mitxela, May 20 2011

       There is another problem here, which is that you would have to move the moon as well l ;). All sorts of nasty tidal problems might result otherwise.
ShawnBob, May 20 2011

       If the rocket exhaust does not escape Earth's gravity, it will have no net effect.
marklar, May 20 2011

       I'm still seeing the glass, uh, well, quarter full here... <<< GROG, still ever the optimist... (but now thinking, "...I wonder what an Earth-sized solar sail would cost, and how can I attach a trailer hitch to it...")
Grogster, May 20 2011

       The most efficient way would be to use a particle accelerator. By efficient I mean using as little of the mass of the Earth as possible. The energy required will probably take some time to create/harvest though.
marklar, May 20 2011

       An earth-sized solar sail is baked - the earth. I think I read somewhere that the cumulative effect of radiation pressure on the earth's orbit is significant over billions of years; or I might have just made that up.   

       [mixtella] That's what I meant by //???// and //wildly inefficient//. It's the orbital mechanics equivalent of parking on a slope using high engine revs and clutch slippage instead of the parking brake.
spidermother, May 21 2011


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