Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Hindenburg, but in space

struggling to turn a disaster into a catastrophe
  (+10, -5)
(+10, -5)
  [vote for,

A scheme whereby large hydrogen balloons, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the Hindenburg, are flown into the upper atmosphere, where they wait. Prior to this very long bits of string have been affixed to the surface of the Moon. The bits of of string reach all the way to the upper atmosphere of the Earth. The string has a hook on the end, which goes into a loop on the front of the balloon.

Aha, you are going to say, it'll just drag the balloon around the Earth, but no. The string is anchored towards the leading edge of the Moon, and so will effectively drag the Hinden...the balloon up into space. With sufficient number crunching, when released from the string, it could go up around the Moon or out onwards to Mars.

So, by the aid of long bits of string the passengers can partake in a wider range of hazards rather merely having the pedestrian "balloon catches fire", they can have decompression if the compartment springs a leak or Martian attack, if they get bored off all these damn balloons whizzing around....

not_morrison_rm, Feb 26 2011

(?) lousy diagram http://www.junkmail...ing/moon_string.htm
[not_morrison_rm, Feb 26 2011]

Hampshire Police photofit http://www.bbc.co.u...-hampshire-11380834
truly remarkable [not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2011]


       I nominate this idea for the inebriated monkey category.
Voice, Feb 26 2011

       The only point I am unclear about is the positioning of the string anchor point.
pocmloc, Feb 26 2011

       "Oh the humoonity!"   

       //positioning of the string anchor point//   

       On the firmest piece of cheese that can be found...but seriously, imagine the face of the moon, draw a vertical line down the middle, go a bit to the right and anywhere you like really. I'll try drawing a diagram somewhere and put in a link.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 26 2011

       //the firmest piece of cheese that can be found// That'd be the bit of 3 year old Pecorino Romano in the back of my fridge. You want it? Anything for the advancement of Science, that's my motto.
mouseposture, Feb 26 2011

       Nice picture, but how does the attachment point move around the moon like that? You'd want a really slimy cheese for that.
pocmloc, Feb 26 2011

       //but how does the attachment point move around the moon like that//   

       Erm, it's not supposed to, I blame my drawing. It's supposed to stay in the same place. I was thinking a particularly large Edam would be good. The point is, a cable with one end firmly anchored to any kind of moving sphere, towards the leading edge of the sphere, the cable will try and wrap itself around the sphere if a load is stuck on the other end of the cable. It'd help pulling whatever it the load is up and out of the Earth's atmosphere.   

       The hydrogen balloon (if we are just talking lugging mass up the gravity well) would also be carrying some water and compressed air to be transferred to the end of the cable. The balloon would need to lose a load of hydrogen anyway if it was to go back down to base to get another load, so the hydrogen could be transferred to the cable. With the hydrogen, compressed air and water it would have quite a good way to make a jet of high-velocity steam to straighten itself out again for another run of lifting mass. Or dump the hydrogen and use lots of cans of spray on cheese for the jet?
not_morrison_rm, Feb 26 2011

       //a cable with one end firmly anchored to any kind of moving sphere, towards the leading edge of the sphere, the cable will try and wrap itself around the sphere if a load is stuck on the other end of the cable//   

       But is this true?
pocmloc, Feb 26 2011

       ...cuts to 2026....sight of inventor, Hindenburg and very long piece of string drifting off into space...commentator saying "Seems like the foundations hadn't been drilled all the way through that friable Limburger layer after all." Turns to the drilling gear and a label starts to peel away...revealing a "Deepwater Horizon" logo underneath..
not_morrison_rm, Feb 27 2011

       //It's supposed to stay in the same place.//   

       This is based on the non-rotating-earth theory, as shown in the drawing.
ldischler, Feb 27 2011

       //non-rotating-earth theory// De chelonian mobile...   

       According to the back of the cigarette packet I was just scribbling on, the speed of the Earth rotation means it's going around at 0.4651 km/s (give or take, depending how close you are to the equator) the Moon is rotating around us at 1.023 km/s, so there's a handy 500m/s difference. Or a very serious case of whiplash, depending on how good your lawyer is.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 27 2011

       It uses string [+]
saedi, Feb 27 2011

       As the moon rotates at the same rate as it's orbit, the cable would stay pointing at the earth, rather than wrapping around as shown.   

       This could, however, be used to escape the earth's gravitational field, in a similar way to my example below...   

       Try running at a chld's swing, and jumping on to the seat as you get there. The moon would act as the bar of the swing, and as you swap speed for height, the gravitational pull of the earth becomes less and you can escape.   

       Might be slightly tricky lining up this system at the speeds we're talking about though!
Skrewloose, Feb 28 2011

       It's not cable, it's string.
pocmloc, Feb 28 2011

       Let's see: it takes ~28 days to circumnavigate the Earth once at the equator. (Lunar year.)   

       Why does it go upwards again? Why not just reel it in from the center of the moon facing the Earth?   

       Of course, even the future carbon nanotubes won't be strong enough to make it to the about 200,000 miles to L1, the equilibrium point between the Earth and Moon.
Wily Peyote, Mar 01 2011

       //the future carbon nanotubes won't be strong enough//   

       Yes, that's why we're using string, you can just knot it back together when it breaks.   

       I'd say this counts as a major breakthrough in string theory, I claim my Nobel prize, Stephen Hawking, eat your heart out.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2011

       Wily, are you sure of this? Do you have a source? Above 2000 km low earth orbit there is very little added pull and from ~36K stationary orbit, it is completely negligible. Say each km ways 50kg - typical for kernmantle lightweight ropes that's 2x50 tons = 100 tons, I believe it can be done.
pashute, Mar 01 2011

       //Why does it go upwards again?//   

       There are a couple of problems with the drawing. First, the earth rotates, and second, the moon orbits the earth with synchronous rotation, so that the position of attachment would not change as shown. And since the earth rotates approximately twenty eight times for each orbit of the moon, the zeppelin would be continuously dragged back against the rotation of the earth, and the string would tend to wind around the earth, not around the moon. So the zeppelin would be pulled down (to its fiery demise), not up.
ldischler, Mar 01 2011

       //There are a couple of problems with the drawing//

My thoughts exactly, although I was more concerned about the relative sizes of the moon and the zeppelin.
DrBob, Mar 01 2011

       I object to these slurs on my drawing skills...is it my fault my previous job was Hampshire Police photo-fit artist? (see link)   

       //So the zeppelin would be pulled down (to its fiery demise), not up.//   

       And...that's a bad thing?
not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2011

       The word "yo-yo" comes to mind. How did that "round the moon" trick go?
spidermother, Apr 11 2011


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