Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Pennies IN Heaven

Make lots of money with an evil scheme and Abraham Lincoln.
  [vote for,

I know lots of you wanted the Pennies from Heaven idea to... you know, have something to do with pennies. I salute you. Thus, hear this simple proposal:

Ever since I was a small child, I knew that I was... not like the other children. They would go one way, the path of docility and conformity, while I would rebel. I would rule their pathetic lives. In short, it is my destiny to rule the world. *cough cough* Oh, sorry. Anyway here's my idea:

Launch a few "communications satellites" consisting of a composite shell (shaped according to Ufimtsev's theorem), millions of pennies, a stick of TNT, and a radio detonator. After the launch, send a tape of the construction of these satellites to the UN, and inform the leaders of the world that if they do not give me, say.... ONE MILLION DOLLARS!, I will destroy every satellite in orbit, and render space useless for the next decade or so. I will then laugh an evil laugh, and prepare my secret fortress for the arrival of Mr. Bond. Being clever, I will then detonate the Satellites AS BOND ARRIVES, instead of the usual practice of letting him eat my food and enjoy my harem before attempting to kill him and failing miserably. He can chill at my place all he wants, AFTER I destroy modern civilization.

Oh, and I might replace the face of Lincoln on those pennies with an image of me, giving the earth the finger.

Madcat, Mar 25 2003

The Problem of Space Debris http://www.animated...acedeb/spacedeb.htm
According to this page (no idea how accurate it is), there are 4 million individual objects, weighing a total of 7 million pounds (3200 metric tonnes). You would need a lot of pennies to make things worse. [pottedstu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

European Space Agency http://www.esoc.esa...nal/mso/debris.html
Estimates 70 000 - 120 000 objects at least 1 cm across. [pottedstu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Weight of a penny http://www.scaleman...cations/report.html
Scroll down [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Future of the Canadian Penny http://www.canada.c...af00b2c9ef5&k=85965
Twenty BILLION? [Canuck, Oct 03 2007]


       If you're going to do some thing more significant than just slightly increasing the large amounts of space junk aleady up there then you're going to need an awfully large number of satellites. Fishbone.
st3f, Mar 25 2003

       Category "Public: Evil", or "Other: Space Trash".   

       I'm going to research how many pennies you would need.   

       Update: there isn't too much knowledge about how much space debris there is: the European Space Agency suggests up to 120 000 objects over 1 cm in diameter (that's a lot of pennies), though smaller objects can also cause significant damage.   

       It may not be necessary for your projectiles to actually hit valuable satellites to cause damage. Once you get a certain amount of small particles in orbit, these will produce lots of collisions with other space junk which will produce more debris, etc.
pottedstu, Mar 25 2003

       Better ask for more money.   

       The average weight of a US penny is 2.5086g. In order to double the amount of space junk by mass, you would need 3.2E10 / 2.508 pennies or 1.3E10 pennies or $128m in small change.   

       And that's before your payload costs.
FloridaManatee, Mar 25 2003

       p-stu, is the discrepancy between 4 million and 70,000-120,000 objects another artifact of the confusion between English and metric units?
beauxeault, Mar 25 2003

       Actually, Saddam has had a very similar idea. He's bought Russian GPS jamming technology. Life's a b*tch if you're a lost soldier or a sat-guided missile or a pilot who's forgotten how to navigate.   

       Saddam, unlike Dr. Madcat, is using the technology to _counter_ world domination...
FloridaManatee, Mar 25 2003

       "Homer, on your way out, if you want to kill somebody, it would help me a lot."
--Hank Scorpio
krelnik, Mar 25 2003

       Countering world domination perhaps, but that isn't always a good thing. Just because the U.S. dominates world affairs doesn't mean it is a malicious entity. What do you expect it to do, shrink so it's smaller or sabotage its economy so it has less power? Countries that dominate world affairs... just do so. There isn't anything to be done for it, and even if there were, why would you bother?   

       Anyway... Who said anything about doubling the amount of junk in orbit? All that matters is that the pennies go where the valuable stuff is. Oh, and I never said American pennies exactly, I said Lincoln was on them- lots of little countries put American figures on their coins to sell to stupid coin collectors on TV*. They WOULD be heavy, but that's rather the point.   

       *I'll admit, I was thinking of American pennies. But now that I've concieved of using two-bit third-world cheap pennies, I'll outsource the operation just because I'm a tightwad.
Madcat, Mar 26 2003

       This has been baked by military analysts, and was reported in New Scientist last year some time - i dont think its been put on the web site yet though - doesnt mean its a bad idea though, oh mighty leader.
miasere, Mar 26 2003

       This idea really sucks..   

       How are you planning to launch these satellites? You can't just throw them upwards y'know.   

       Also, the whole idea of letting loose small reflective objects in orbit was explored at the beginning of the space race. I don't remember the name of the project but basically some US military genius came up with the idea of a satellite that scattered millions of needles. The idea was to see if the 'cloud' of reflective needles would reflect radio signals (specifically Soviet military signals). As far as I know it was a crashing failure. I'd post links, but given the speed of my lousy dialup connection it'd take me time I don't have to find something relevant.   

       In any case, give this a go [Madcat] - at least it'll give the world leaders a good giggle.
madradish, Mar 26 2003

       "Can't just throw them up!" You say?   

       I'm a mad scientist, of course I can.
Madcat, Apr 03 2003

       Madcat, you're one cool amniac...i love this idea.
you do know James Bond isn't real, right?
igirl, Apr 03 2003

       Actually, if they'r pennies you could launch small containers using a rail gun ( the contaners would need engeins thou, or they'r lowest point of orbit would be the altitude of your base ).
my-nep, Oct 28 2003

       What is it with some people and rail guns?
Detly, Oct 28 2003

       pH3@R t3h l33+ hA><0Rs
Madcat, Oct 28 2003

       Actually you would't need the TNT. In general it's good to avoid ordnance as that increases the likelihood of faults. Launch your satellite to one of the LaGrange points (points in space where a satellite will sit stationary in relation to other objects - in this case the Earth and Sun). When Mr. Bond arrives, ignite the satellite's thrusters to bring it in toward the earth in a highly eccentric orbit. Then a door opens with a bazillion pennies backed by a springloaded panel - think jack in the box. As the satellite and the pennies approach the Earth they speed up according to Kepler's laws so that each penny is carrying quite a lot of force - like bullets. You would probably have little effect on the Geostationary Satellites, but you could wreak havoc on all of the low Earth Orbit ones. But you would need a lot of pennies. I have some in my couch if you'd like them.
Cranor, Dec 30 2003

       [+] I always wondered... If you already had a remote tropical island, great food, a harem, and enough resources to launch satellites, then what would you need a million dollars for anyway?
sophocles, Dec 20 2005

       You know, with the number of pennies, construction expenses, and the amount you'd spend to launch the satellite, you'd probably spend over a million dollars... so demanding 1 million dollars seems quite moot.
HalfBaker, Oct 03 2007

       We might soon have a few pennies we're not using any more (see link).
Canuck, Oct 03 2007

       If $1 million isn't enough, then we'll demand $100 billion. Simples.
Selky, Jan 08 2013

       You can borrow my Gauss Gun if you need it. Its 2 Km. long and situated on a 30 degree hillside.   

       If you've never seen a Gauss gun/rifle look it up on YouTube
Brian the Painter, Jan 09 2013


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