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Goodnight, Irene

sweet dreams
  (+4, -6)
(+4, -6)
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Capture 14 Irene, a reasonably round asteroid (named after Eirene, a personification of peace in Greek mythology) and place it in orbit around the Earth’s Moon. With a diameter of 181 km., about 5% of the Moon’s diameter, this Moon’s moon would be large and bright enough to visible in the daytime, as would its shadow tracking across the face of the moon.

Tides would increase a bit, and God only knows what would happen to menstrual cycles, but this would be a small price to pay for the beauty this would add to our day and night skies. That, and the Man in the Moon wouldn’t be so lonely anymore.

nuclear hobo, Sep 01 2007

Straight Dope: Menstruation vs. Moon? http://www.straight...assics/a990924.html
29 vs. 28 days; animal cycle durations are all over the place. [jutta, Sep 01 2007]

Apophis http://www.telegrap.../31/sciaster131.xml
that name alone is worrying. [po, Sep 01 2007]

Variable-Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket http://www.techbrie...ntent/view/1768/32/
[nuclear hobo, Sep 01 2007]

Earth Impact Effects Program http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/
[nuclear hobo, Sep 03 2007]

[link]






       Small price to pay yes, but what about the molluscs?
zeno, Sep 01 2007
  

       And how do you propose to do this?
monk, Sep 01 2007
  

       I don't know how much energy it will take to divert an asteroid that size, but I'm probably safe to say it would exceed the combined yearly energy production of humans by many orders of magnitude.
kinemojo, Sep 01 2007
  

       This may be as close to [m-f-d] magic as it's possible to get without being strictly magic.
globaltourniquet, Sep 01 2007
  

       A series of Variable-Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rockets seems the most likely candidate for motive source. [link]
nuclear hobo, Sep 01 2007
  

       //I don't know how much energy it will take to divert an asteroid that size//   

       Doesn't that depend on how much of a hurry you're in? I'm no physicist, but I thought that even an infinitesimal force applied to an object in a vacuum would impart *some* acceleration to that object - just not a very useful acceleration for most purposes. Have I missed something here?
pertinax, Sep 03 2007
  

       [pertinax] It's true that you could get it to fly past the moon eventually with a gentle push in the correct direction. But to move it into a stable orbit would take a huge amount of force.
marklar, Sep 03 2007
  

       Goodnight, Irene
Now I lay down to dream
In the light of your beams
You just look so serene
  

       Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye...
wagster, Sep 03 2007
  

       <probably bad physics>   

       Given that the asteroid belt is rather further out from the sun that we are, couldn't we make use of the sun's gravity in some way?   

       I'm imagining Irene falling towards the sun, to be caught by the moon in the nick of time, at which point she would already be carrying a lot of velocity in a direction nicely tangential to her intended moon orbit. In that case, perhaps, she could orbit the moon, not just fall into it, without us adding a great deal of energy?   

       Or would it take a huge amount of energy to start her 'falling' in the first place?   

       Come to think of it, if the main requirement for making Irene fall is that we reduce her current kinetic energy, then aren't we looking at a serendipitous energy-harvesting opportunity?   

       There's just the trifling matter to resolve of how we extract useful energy from an object whizzing around the asteroid belt and transport it back to Earth, and then we can kill two birds with one very heavy stone, at only a modest risk of annihilating life on our planet through miscalculation.   

       I suppose the tricky bit would be finding somewhere stable to anchor our generator, relative to which the asteroid would be moving.   

       </pbp>
pertinax, Sep 03 2007
  

       //to move it into a stable orbit would take a huge amount of force//   

       If you wanted to do it today, yes. But a relatively small amount of force applied in a specific direction for an appropriate amount of time would achieve the same result. Irene wuold arrive at a predetermined point in space and time at the speed necessary to 'fall' into orbit around the moon.
nuclear hobo, Sep 03 2007
  

       I don't think there is always such a solution, or maybe there is by doing the solar system's most ellaborate pool shot <irresistable> around Uranus </irresistable> and various other bodies which are not in the direction of the final destination.   

       I would love to see a computer program that could compute 'I want to put this over here' problems.
marklar, Sep 03 2007
  

       There was an article in the New Scientist about doing exactly that.   

       <fiddle lick>
wagster, Sep 03 2007
  
      
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