Monday, May 31, 2010

How Captain Kirk changed the world from Science News

May 4, 2010: "Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu." Captain Kirk barks out the order with such confidence. He knows the USS Enterprise can slip in and out of planetary orbits with ease. But it's only easy in the realm of science fiction. In the real world, such maneuvers have been impossible --until now.
Read the entire article here:


Beam Me Up said...

hummmmm I can almost take issue with this post. When it says it is the first spacecraft made to orbit 2 different worlds, my first inclination is to say uhh hey wait! Apollo anyone? The craft orbited the Earth, then the Moon then returned. Seems like its been done! But it was the next like that gave me pause. It says "AFTER" leaving Earth....hummmm ok sure, bit of a play on words but I think its a point...if weak.

blizno said...

It says the craft will orbit two distant worlds.

I see that Ceres is thought to possibly have a liquid water subsurface ocean.
How is this possible? Ceres is about 1000 km in diameter while Mars is about 7000 km in diameter. If Mars is thought to have cooled to near death long ago, how could the much smaller Ceres, which doesn't experience tidal forces from orbiting a planet like some gas giant moons, be much warmer than Mars?

Beam Me Up said...

Strong point. When I first read it, well it was a "interesting speculation" type of moment and never gave it another thought. But ok, under the glare of a reasonable question, we have got to ask, exactly what where they talking about. My question is, is there enough mass to create conditions suitable for ice2? Now I am just throwing ideas out there, but what if Ceres had only a small rocky core or better yet no solid surface at all. Would there be enough pressure to support ice2 or higher? This would require no heat, but extreme pressure gradients. Food for thought.


Anonymous said...

If you consider the small amount of propellent involved and the large volume of number crunching it's a huge technological achievement. Mind blowing. Aside from that I always assumed Ceres had a creamy nougat core.

Beam Me Up said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nougat