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Hundreds of telepathic froghoppers in space

Reach orbit through froghoppers
  [vote for,

Froghoppers are bugs which live inside cuckoo spit - the blobs of foam on plants. They are able to accelerate at four hundred gee. Presumably they only do so very briefly because they can only jump seventy centimetres.

But imagine this. Take a shrub of some kind and put it in a pot. Encourage it to become highly infested with somewhere near a hundred grammes of froghoppers. Remove them from the plant and stack them up in a number of multistage structures like a rocket. Then, place it into some kind of heating device, seal it, and launch it into the stratosphere by means of a hydrogen balloon. On reaching its maximum height, gently and unobtrusively remove the froth without them noticing. Then, suddenly startle the first froghopper, then the second, and so forth. There will be a rapid acceleration of froghoppers, maybe ten in a row, until the final ten grammes of froghoppers are travelling at orbital velocity. There will then be ten grammes of froghoppers in orbit.

This is the first part of a solution to the N-Prize. The next stage is of course to make them telepathic.

nineteenthly, May 28 2012

Not this kind of froghopper then? http://www.powerkit...cehopper-orange.htm
[pocmloc, May 28 2012]

No, this kind. http://www.psmicrog...ence-image/80200239
Froghopper anonymous. [nineteenthly, May 28 2012]


       I cannot believe that NASA didn't think of this already. It's so obvious now that you've described it.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2012

       I think "describing" is rather a generous way of describing this.
nineteenthly, May 28 2012

       For some reason I read that as Spacehoppers. Not sure how one of those would work in zero gravity? pomloc beat me to the link though...
not_morrison_rm, May 28 2012

       Sadly no, although if they neither exploded nor underwent some kind of problem associated with heating or cooling, you could probably use them on the Moon.
nineteenthly, May 28 2012

       It would get them more than seventy centimetres.
nineteenthly, May 28 2012

       Why do I have the feeling that this is going to instigate a math battle?
Alterother, May 28 2012

       In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
gnomethang, May 28 2012

       Imagine a flowerpot in the ionosphere with a froghopper on it. For a brief period at least, that froghopper would be able to jump. If the flowerpot was in freefall and the froghopper had a pile of more froghoppers on top of it, and they all jumped at once, the one at the top would be moving quite fast. My spellchecker doesn't recognise the word "froghopper".
nineteenthly, May 28 2012

       Regarding the stacked froghopper concept, I have to admit to a few qualms.   

       If the stack is ten high, and if they all jump at once, then the uppermost froghopper will be trying to jump against an acceleration of 9x400g. If its body weighs 100mg (under 1 gravity), then its effective weight will be about a pound.   

       The first experiment, therefore, would be to place a one pound weight on a froghopper, then see if it can still froghop as effectively as an unfettered froghopper.   

       Even a brief gedankenexperiment suggests that there are potential flaws here.   

       Of course, this problem could be solved if the froghoppers jumped not simultaneously, but consecutively. However, questions of reaction mass are troubling in this scenario.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2012

       I think the problem, [bigs], is that you're assuming a standard and uniform size for the froghoppers.   

       Based on the SPCLRBL* theory of invertebrate architecture, it should be possible to create a series of froghoppers, each having a mass of e times that of the previous member of the series.   

       If you plug the relevant numbers into your calculations, I think you'll find that orbital velocity becomes feasible.   

       [*shrimp, prawn, crevette, lobster, really big lobster]
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2012

       You just need to ensure that the first froghopper is very small.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2012

       I was thinking of consecutive jumps but take your point. The fact remains that if the acceleration of a froghopper jump could be maintained, it would reach orbital velocity in two seconds, so the question is, what kind of device, biological or otherwise, could maintain a constant or major ping?
nineteenthly, May 29 2012

       Probably the first point to be determined is are they already telepathic. Save a lot of lab time.   

       Suggest double-blind testing, two containers in different rooms, startle one and see what happens to the other. Failure of froghopper 2 to react as expected might just be schadenfreude.
not_morrison_rm, May 29 2012

       The range of their telepathy would also be important. If it can't be picked up by froghoppers in the troposphere, it would be useless unless it could be amplified.
nineteenthly, May 29 2012

       What you need is a telepathy megaphone.
UnaBubba, May 29 2012

not_morrison_rm, May 29 2012

       Do you believe in mental telepathy?   

       "NO" I hear you think.
UnaBubba, May 29 2012

       Thinking on this, telepathy would be crap. You'd hear all the thoughts, but you'd also hear all the voices other people hear in their heads..so kind of multiplied-schizophrenia... <wonders what voices froghoppers hear in their heads>
not_morrison_rm, May 30 2012

       <...GROG thinking: Hundreds of Telepathic Froghoppers in a Blender...> BAD GROG! NO BISCUIT!
Grogster, May 30 2012

       Surely a quick experiment with say 4 adult pirates each balancing on top of each others shoulders for example, would demonstrate a fairly fundamental flaw in this theory, without the benefit of [Bigs] fine mathematical endeavors.   

       [UnaBubba] I can hear a booming thought coming across the "ether" saying "this is Telepathetic"
PainOCommonSense, May 30 2012

       Pardon? <inspects ear/mind trumpet, dislodges bird's nest>   

       Anyway, this is from the missing MacGyver episode where he makes a froghopper-powered gun to do something implausible?
not_morrison_rm, May 31 2012

       If you give them a telepathic shock do they still evince a galvanic response?
UnaBubba, May 31 2012

       That gives me an idea. Instead of waiting for their own reactions, they could just be shocked electrically in sequence, perhaps not even killing them in the process but relying on their own startle responses.
nineteenthly, May 31 2012

       Where I come from they call it cuckoo spit. (the bubbles inside which you can find froghoppers). I never really liked the parasitic cuckoo, so I am more than happy to help extract gallons of saliva from a large scale cuckoo farm. The enjoyable part being to convince the cuckoo's to lay fake little bird eggs into my fake little bird nests. Whuaaa Ha Ha haaa..!
PainOCommonSense, May 31 2012

       I understand it could be doable, but how do you control the direction of their jump, precisely?   

-- this one actually kills the whole idea.
Inyuki, May 31 2012

       I thought the final line was a humorous addition.
rcarty, May 31 2012

       Telepathy would be much cheaper than trying to rig up a comms net for them all.
UnaBubba, May 31 2012

       It'll probably turn out that telepathy runs on TCP/IP as well..so probably some routers in there somewhere. Getting the froghoppers to remember their own IP address might prove challenging.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 01 2012


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