Ride the Comet
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  AmishHacker

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Posted: 2004-September-14 at 11:43pm | IP Logged Quote AmishHacker

Okay, I have had this really odd idea going through my head for quite some time now and need some opinions on it.

I personally think that since we have issues with fuel loads (among other things) in getting to new worlds, that we should attempt to land a craft on a passing comet and use it as a transit system.  If we managed to perfect fast-construction colonies like inflatable structures or something similar, we could build a temporary colony on a passing comet and ride it out of the solar system.

I realize that there are many more variables to consider than just landing on a rock, but does anyone else other than me think that is a really far out idea?  Talk about saving money and energy.  We could ride to the outer reaches of the solar system and back.  It would be the ultimate opportunity to study the gases and debris around the solar boundaries.

Oh well...just wishful thinking for me.

-Wes

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  Prime

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Posted: 2004-September-15 at 11:10am | IP Logged Quote Prime

That is a perfectly resonable idea to me, except for a few technicallities. Firstly the comet will have to be made of a suitable material for us to construct a colony on it, I'm sure there are comets that would be suitable. Secondly, actually landing on one might prove difficult at first, but I'm not sure. Thirdly, the comet will have to be in a safe orbit , otherwise we'll be sending ourselves on the biggest kamakazi run ever! Other than that the idea is perfectly resonable, comets have ice on them am I not correct so there is plenty of resourses there. With the fact that fuel is no longer an issue, more supplies can be taken in one go to set up the base. The research opportunities are sky high and the cost is an all time low! So in conclusion, lets hope that a comet just passes by in the not to distant future!


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  Fahad

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Posted: 2004-September-15 at 11:44am | IP Logged Quote Fahad

Nice idea Wes, however, I'm not sure how well it would perform in reality. As the comets approach the star which they orbit they get warmer and warmer, hence more unstable.

If a civilization would be kept in a comet for long, it would emit an amount of radiation, which would contribute to heating up the comet and making it more unstable and probably break up.


I read an interesting book a few years ago about an alien civilization that had hidden itself in an asteroid, in the asteroid field and monitoring earth. Earth sent a probe to investigate the asteroid and many interesting things happen


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  AmishHacker

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Posted: 2004-September-15 at 6:55pm | IP Logged Quote AmishHacker

Maybe we can just send Bruce Willis up there.  Then we know it will work

-Wes

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  Prime

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Posted: 2004-September-15 at 8:18pm | IP Logged Quote Prime

yeah that'll work, what his number again 046....


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  Dinyctis

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Posted: 2004-September-15 at 8:43pm | IP Logged Quote Dinyctis

By the time we actually have the capability to land and build stuff on comets or asteroids......we will have pretty advanced propulsion technology, which will make the comet bus idea seem pretty useless.


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  djspinnet

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Posted: 2004-September-16 at 2:01pm | IP Logged Quote djspinnet

and with dust and ice debri as "air pollution" 


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  CometRider

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Posted: 2005-April-20 at 4:36pm | IP Logged Quote CometRider

Wes has a wonderful idea. I just searched on the keywords "riding a comet" in Google, and it pointed me to this website. I just registered.

I just envisioned two comets or may be one one comet acting like a booster to your spaceship, and you are maneuvering your comet using dynamics of a comet. But we don't know how to maneuver a comet.

Did any one study about concepts of building a small comet???

Three Steps involved in riding a comet:

1. Landing with a thud on the comet. (needs to be researched)

2. Using the comet as your spaceship's booster (needs to be researched)

3. Be able to maneuve the comet using comet dynamics.(needs to be researched)

4. Then comes to Telemetry from the Comet.

Any more ideas.....?

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  Klankster

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Posted: 2005-April-20 at 10:45pm | IP Logged Quote Klankster

What a cool idea.  As long as the comet had an orbit going roughly where you wanted to go, and its orbit geometry was favorable (meaning you don't have to use a ton of fuel to match its trajectory), you could set down on it and get where you wanted to go with no need for a huge fuel load.

What's even cooler is that while you were riding the thing, you could mine the ices and process those into fuel to use once you got where you were going.

Sure, there would be all sorts of issues, with some real hazards (lots of debris and risk of breakup) as the comet headed in toward the sun, though I guess you could hitch your ride on the comet's outbound leg, where it would be cooling off, there would be less ice vaporization and less dust and debris flying around the farther you get from the sun.

An interesting option would be to have part of the ship you're riding be an engine that could be powered by materials mined from the comet so that you could use it as a huge fuel tank and drive it (within limits) where you wanted it to go.



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  selden

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Posted: 2005-April-21 at 8:19am | IP Logged Quote selden

Guys,

I hate to say it but...

In order to land on a comet, your spacecraft already has to be travelling at the same speed and in the same direction as the comet is going. In other words, you've already had to expend all the energy needed to travel whereever the comet is going. You don't save anything.

In order to "steal" energy from a passing body, you either have to let it smash into you, pushing you in a different direction from whatever direction you're travelling previously or fly by it and let it pull you in a very slightly different direction with its gravity. That's how NASA got the Cassini probe all the way out to Saturn. They used the gravity of several different planets. Comets have almost no gravity at all :-(


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