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Comet Ship

A spacecraft attached to a comet for deep space flight
  [vote for,

When the comet passes at the closest point to Earth (and during its outgoing journey from the sun) a waiting custom-built craft matches the comet's acceleration and rendezvous with the comet surface, attaches itself to the comet and then hitches a fueless ride into deep space.
Nickynackynoo, Jun 29 2003

Please dont go here again! http://www.halfbake...idea/Blackholeapult
Bottom of a big page. [gnomethang, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[Waugs] informative link from the above idea. http://www.phys.nck...dOfLight/FTL.html#4
[gnomethang, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

One step further. http://www.halfbake...a/slingshot_20space
(B.S.P.) blatant self promo. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       But, if it matches the comet's velocity, then it's in the same orbit. If it's in the same orbit... he'll stay next to the comet indefinately.   

       The only way to possibly make this work would be to use some sort of harpoon and get dragged along like that. However, the harpoon would probably have to be a few million miles long, and be capable of handling huge tensional forces. Obviously, this isn't technology that we have right now. By the time we do get it, spacecraft propulsion will probably have become so cheap as to negate the point of the venture completely.
rapid transit, Jun 29 2003

       a fly by then, like the haley's tail flyby. The craft intersecting with the vector of the comet.   

       As for propulsion cheapness. I would imagine the amount of fuel needed for a deep space flight would be more a hindrance than the cost of supplying the fuel.
Nickynackynoo, Jun 29 2003

       How about a carbon nano-tube harpoon line a few million miles long?. That way, as soon as the harpoon caught the comet you would immediately be accelerated to the speed of the comet.
or maybe not.
gnomethang, Jun 29 2003

       I think there's a slight misunderstanding here about inertia. If you "match the comet's acceleration" as suggested in the original post (by acceleration I think you mean velocity) then you don't need to land on the comet; you will get just as far, just as fast, by just turning off your engines and coasting. The comet is not propelled by anything but gravity, so it's not much use as a ride... though it might be useful as a source of raw materials.   

       The problem with the fly-by/harpoon idea is the same problem as a rollerskater standing by a highway and trying to lasso a passing truck at 90 MPH. If you succeed, you will find yourself abruptly accelerated to exactly the same degree as if you were *hit* by the truck, with pretty much the same results.
hob, Jun 29 2003

       hehe. Not sure if its exactly the same thing gnomethang but i can see your concern. The carbon nanotube comes a-lumbering over the horizon once again. And my next suggestion was going to be a carbon nanotube spring with a harpoon on the end.   

       As for the rollerskater analogy, that just sounds like plain fun! I'll pass on the suggestion to Jackass hob.   

       (yay, my first fishbone)
Nickynackynoo, Jun 30 2003

       With some more development, this isn't that bad, IMHO, from a raw creativity standpoint, and I'm voting + for that.   

       Travelling a manned flight the distance to a nearpoint seems plausible. A space rendezvous approaching similar velocities would be difficult to coordinate, but not impossible. The only real flaw is the 'why?' If you have enough fuel to get propelled up to near-comet speed relative to the earth, then tacking onto the comet doesn't really add anything new, save for perhaps following its course.
RayfordSteele, Jul 11 2003

       send a spacecraft with enough fuel to match the comet's speed.. but instead of using the fuel to match its speed use the gravity well of earth, venus, and mars to accelerate it for 2 or 3 years before the comet's arrival. then when you have enough speed to rendezvous with the comet you can land on it and have a free ride as far out as you want then use the fuel to accelerate to twice the speed of the comet.
tazmase2, Jul 19 2003

       after re-reading this (and a fishing trip) ive come up with a solution.. [gnomethang] and [rapid transit]'s idea about a harpoon and a carbon nano-tube line a few million miles long isn't all that bad... just use a drag like a fishing pole has.. just have a few hundred thousand miles of the line on a spool that has enough resistance to give decent acceleration but low enough drag to prevent destruction of the craft. but i think [rapid transit] is right about the propulsion advances
tazmase2, Jul 26 2003

       [taz] Please read the discourse in the link that I have provided to another idea (the blackholeapult).
It won't work for the reasons stated therein (and the learned links from that idea).
I was merely being facetious as [Nicky] realised, although for a different reason, namely the upper limit of the transmission along a very long thing.
gnomethang, Jul 26 2003

       I don't see why the spool of [tazmase2]s wouldn't work. The ship obviously would not accelerate instantly or up to the speed of light, but then we don't want it to.
RobertKidney, Jul 26 2003

       Just harpoon it with a bungee and keep traveling perpendicular to the trajectory of the comet. [Link]   

       By the time we've developed a ship capable of withstanding the stesses involved in cometary capture, we'll have also harnessed tiny black holes (subsingularities, I think?). So all we need to do is fly on a trajectory that will carry us on an _intercept_ course (NOT matching speed and velocity), until our mini-black hole can be activated to draw in close to the comet. On impact, we can use simple chemical retro-rockets to decelerate, and feed cometary material into the black hole as a power source - whenever a black hole consumes matter, it emits a blast of X-Rays, which can then be used as a form of power.   

       We can use the primordial water on the comet (bonus points for the reference) for drinking, heating, etc., and the raw materials (iron and nickel, as far as I know) for simple construction. Of course, we could get lucky and land on one that was mostly, say, Iridium.
Macwarrior, Nov 27 2003

       So that's all alright then folks. Job Done.
gnomethang, Nov 27 2003


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