Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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ionosphere surfing

the new extreme sport
  [vote for,

The new extreme sport! Do you get bored watching people do crappy stunts on Bikes and Skates? Climbing mountains?
Well, here is something that will keep you on the edge of your seat:
The way this works is that you're towed along by a plane and traveling at about around 300km/h or more through the ionosphere. The thing that makes this exciting, is that if you as the surfer dips too low, you burn up in the atmosphere, and if you float up too high, you float out into space!<p> why stop at the ionosphere... lets go to black hole surfing
Skip, Mar 28 2003

Silver Surfer http://home.att.net...on/silversurfer.jpg
Any resemblance between Silver Surfer and my elf is purely coincidental [thumbwax, Oct 17 2004]

Dark Star http://us.imdb.com/Title?0069945
The final scene features one of the astronauts using a piece of spaceship debris to surf the atmosphere of a nearby planet. [DrBob, Oct 17 2004]

doomed matter http://www.physlink...ews/Index.cfm?ID=21
Doomed Matter Near Black Hole Gets Second Chance, change matter to humans and space ships! [Skip, Oct 17 2004]

(?) Obituary http://www.telegrap...09/22/ixportal.html
As I once said to him, that's not flying, that's falling, with style. [coprocephalous, Oct 14 2005]


       What exactly are you surfing _on_?
Cedar Park, Mar 28 2003

       Perhaps more curiously, what "plane" is doing the towing?
bristolz, Mar 28 2003

       Bugger the plane, this becomes expensively fun.   

       Would need a shuttle, and a heatproof spacesuit. Else it is an expensive alternative to euthanasia. Figure it's illegal almost everywhere, so if you get yourself out of the confines of any one particular country...   

       Back to the topic. If yo uoculd ensure my survival, I'd do it
QuisCat, Mar 28 2003

       Perhaps you could do it on a bomb as in Dr Strangelove
sufc, Mar 28 2003

       Lessee... the lower ionosphere begins at 80,000 m, about the maximum altitude of a fighter plane.
I guess this would be a HB plane then.
Cedar Park, Mar 28 2003

       Oh please, you're on a surf board
Skip, Mar 28 2003

       So you're surfing on the top of the ionosphere. 600km up.. WIB... I won't say it.
Cedar Park, Mar 28 2003

       where's your sense of fun? yes... the Ionospher, on a surf board, being towed by a plane. what is there to not like?
Skip, Mar 28 2003

       A U2 has about a 10 knot flight envelope at 70,000 feet ASL, spanning between stall at the low end of the envelope and ruinous mach-buffet at the other end of the envelope and it's especially built for the task and flying 10,000 feet below the bottom of the ionosphere. These are extremely hard-to-fly airplanes when at altitude, requiring constant vigilence to keep the speed of the craft roughly centered in the miniscule flight envelope.   

       Imagine a surfboard at an even higher altitude. Yikes.   

       The atmosphere is so rarefied in the ionosphere that you will need either very low wing loading--surfboard loading--or high speeds to mimic anything like riding a wave. I don't know that a surfboard could be brought above the speed of sound without severe mach buffeting because it isn't a shape even remotely close to a supercritical airfoil like those used on supersonic aircraft--especially with a person standing, or cowering, on it. So, in the absence of a supercritical airfoil, the buffeting would really spoil the ride, so I think the high-speed option is out.   

       With a very, very large surfboard (think large, high aspect ratio wings, like the U2 or a sailplane only much bigger; much more surface area) you might be able to gather enough lift to be able to "catch a wave" but you'd be riding something that's very large and your speed will probably still be perilously close to mach buffet speeds.   

       Of course, then there's the issue of the tow plane which would be fighting all of the same problems and would have the extra burden of towing a sports arena sized ionosurfboard around.   

       I dunno, doesn't work out too well by my way of thinking but it's fun to imagine, anyway.
bristolz, Mar 28 2003

       oh... realism... =\
Skip, Mar 28 2003

       I'm all for fun and fantasy, jest be prepared to have your dreams challenged while you're here.
I've seen a couple of your posts this evening, and you might want to be a bit more descriptive in your idea titles. In this case, 'ionosphere surfing' would be the idea, and 'The new extreme sport' could be the idea summary.
BTW, welcome to the HB.
Cedar Park, Mar 28 2003

       Thanks for the welcome =P You know, there are ways to make this work. First you'd need to be able to make a suit for the surfer, which would be able to keep them warm, pressureised and oxygenated, with a helmet for the obvious reason of oxygen/pressure/UV/etc... Next you'd need to be able to make a board to work up in the extreme friction and wind pressures, so it'd have to have wings that would go straight then bend up. The board would be sorta like an extended half semi-circle, and make out of high-tensile carbon steel and aluminium. The next problem would be attaching afore said items to the plane. Anyone would just think to attach them to the tailfin, but that's stupid, it'd just rip off; so it's have to be attached to the top of the plane just behind the cockpit. Then you have to get the buggers up there...
Skip, Mar 28 2003

       How do you plan to stay on top of the mentioned "board" anyhoo.   

       We cannot go and assume that any resistance is negligable, and unless the rider is enclosed they are in a slightly different frame of reference. At such high altitudes (despite the fact there is less up there to oppose motion) and speeds (ditto), the rider is more than likely to just fall off.   

       Takeoff would be interesting if you plan to have someone on there the whole way (well, some people might try. Certainly not myself) *racks brain*   

       I'll come back when I get a brainfart.
QuisCat, Mar 28 2003

       there are these things called straps.
Skip, Mar 28 2003

       This hasn't been thought through properly (-1)
Mr Risk, Mar 28 2003

       Is the edge of the ionosphere sharply enough defined to allow you to surf on it? Or would you risk flopping up or down miles depending on minor perturbations in the surface? Not having tried this, I wouldn't know.
pottedstu, Mar 28 2003

       Surfs up.
Way up.

       Next up: Lava surfing inside the Earth's mantle.
krelnik, Mar 28 2003

       I bet Vin Diesel could do this.
snarfyguy, Mar 28 2003

       Start your testing by surfing on fogbanks. Lots less technical problems to overcome.   

       To approximate the lift of 300kph in the ionosphere, you would only need to go about 5kph on the fog.
lurch, Mar 28 2003

       I remember seeing a commercial years ago (I think it was Pepsi) where some guy went skyboarding behind a cessna. (I'm still dying to try this myself.) I seriously doubt this would work for such high altitudes and speeds. Croissant for imagination though.
Freefall, Mar 28 2003

       Search Popular Science for the highest freefall dive article a few months back. It gets extraordinarily difficult at that altitude.
RayfordSteele, Jun 17 2003

       Ooh, a Keelhaul in space! I'm all for it.
carsten, Mar 19 2004

       Speed is key.   

       A semi enclosed space could be provided by a windshield at the front, like a motorcycle cowling.   

       Sensation would be nothing like a surfboard though.   

       With some kind of propulsion you might get the ability to turn, but the SR71 flies that high, Mach 7+, [semi classified] and takes nearly half of a country to hang a left turn.   

       Any fall would mean some nasty friction burns.   

       Prefer a pod to skydive from space in. Or a modified suit like that guy flew over the English Channel in.
subflower, Oct 14 2005

       //Or a modified suit like that guy flew over the English Channel in.// Adrian Nicholas? The late Adrian Nicholas. [link]
coprocephalous, Oct 14 2005

       'keep out off rotation,,,, :-),,.
sirau, Jun 25 2011


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