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Cool moon

Make the moon more useful
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Now that it seems that we are doomed to melt the Earth's icecaps with runaway greenhouse effect, we should consider getting the moon to cast more shade on us. So I propose that we get the moon to shed some of its momentum in order to bring it into a closer orbit. While we are at it, we should move the moon to orbit the Earth in the ecliptic plane, so that we are assured of an eclipse during each lunar 'month'.

There are at least two ways to do this. The first way, is to install millions of ion engines and have them pump out ions into the direction the moon travels. This would effectively brake the moon, and contract its orbit. Ion engines are among the most efficient at propelling vehicles. One advantage is that they are very low maintenance.

Another way would be to build a space elevator on the opposite side of the moon and install a conveyor belt on it. Thus, lunar material is slung off the moon, slowing down the moon to a lower orbit.

Once the moon is down to the point where it orbits the earth every couple of days, we should get a fine shadow on everything, for at least a few hours every week.

The only downsides I can see are: a) plants might not grow quite as much; and b) tides might get a little high.

At least your airconditioning bills won't be so large.

pathetic, Dec 21 2005

If it turns out to be a bad idea... Lunar_20calendar_20reform
we can always speed it back up. [Shz, Dec 21 2005]

[link]






       Even IF we could do this, it would have the opposite effect that you're intending.   

       If the moon goes around us faster, it won't increase the total amount of sun energy that's blocked.   

       And, if it orbits closer to us, then the size of the moon's shadow will be even smaller.   

       And, another downside may be weekly PMS instead of monthly.
sophocles, Dec 21 2005
  

       What I aim for is frequent eclipses, and larger shadows. Having the moon orbit in the same plane as the earth-sun plane will accomplish this. Closer in, necessarily also means the shadow is bigger upon the face of the earth. Farther out orbits make the shadow smaller. Of course, this will spoil some of the fun the solar cell guys have.... oh well.
pathetic, Dec 21 2005
  

       //if it orbits closer to us, then the size of the moon's shadow will be even smaller// Wha?
moomintroll, Dec 21 2005
  

       Maybe I'm wrong, what with the size of the sun making the light more "parallel" than "point source", but generally speaking, the closer the object is to the source, the larger its shadow.   

       For example, at noon, a plane on the ground casts a shadow the same size as the plane, but a plane flying overhead casts a larger (more diffuse) shadow.   

       Apply that to the moon, and the closer it is to us, the smaller it's shadow.
sophocles, Dec 21 2005
  

       I think that only works if the light source is smaller than the object casting the shadow.   

       We'd also have to get used to lots more earthquakes as the increased gravitational flux ripples around the earth - think rolling a hard boiled egg on you kitchen bench to ready it for peeling.   

       Come to think of it, if this idea means we lose California, the other world damage might be acceptable.
ConsulFlaminicus, Dec 22 2005
  

       One could get more shade out of the moon by increasing its size. The best way to do this would of course be with explosives, and plenty of them. By converting the moon into a cloud of loose gravel, we can avoid gravitational havoc, because the gravel cloud moon will have the same net pull as the current chunk moon.   

       I suspect that once it is converted to gravel, the moon will naturally form a nice ring around the Earth, just like Saturn has.
bungston, Aug 13 2006
  

       //Come to think of it, if this idea means we lose California, the other world damage might be acceptable//   

       Easy now! Some of us have to live in California.   

       I think ther problem with this shadow question is a difference between the "Umbra," and the "Penumbra." Since no light is perfectly parallel, there are two parts to every shadow. A "Penubra," where no light strikes, and an "Umbra," where some small part of the light is reduced.   

       When the airplane is on the ground, it's penumbra, and it's umbra are about the same size as the airplane. As the airplane lifts off, it's penumbra shrinks, and shrinks down to a point of nothingness while it's umbra increases in size. Most of the cooling can be had from the penumbra section.   

       Currently, the moon has a very small penumbra a few miles in diameter, which strikes the earth only during a full eclipse of the sun, and a somewhat larger umbra, which strikes the earth during partial eclipses.   

       By moving the moon closer to the earth, the penumbra is enlarged, which will increase the cooling potential. Moving the moon farther away will increase the size of the umbra, but only moderate cooling effects will be noticed. Of course, moving the moon has certain undesirable gravitational effects.   

       May as well just convert the moon into a much larger living space by converting the core of the planet into material for huge... space... scrapers...   

       Probably putting the moon into the plane of the eccliptic would take a bit less fuel, and might be a marginally reasonable suggestion.
ye_river_xiv, Sep 13 2006
  
      
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