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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-04-24 04:39
Subject: [links] Link salad kicks back at home
Security: Public
Tags:contests, culture, food, funny, language, links, personal, photos, politics, science
Return of the caption contest. Now with pandas! [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Vintage sexist ads — Um, wow. (Thanks to tetar.)

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as bad pizza

Asteroid deflection by tetherCentauri Dreams is interesting again.

Nanotubes come into fashionTechnology Review with more fascinating materials science.

Moon and morning starAPOD photography coolness.

The Chinese Character - no simple matter — Nuances and politics behind the debate over simplified Chinese character. Language neepery with a dose of politics.

The Edge of the American West on the evils of vegetarianism — From their series on the Boxer Rebellion. Something seems to have been lost in translation from the original Klingon.

The revenge of geography — A lengthy piece on geopolitics from Foreign Policy. Well worth the read if you're interested in that sort of thing.

The Republican Party Has Lost Its Way — A brief squib contrasting the teabaggers' objections to Obama with their silence on Bush.

?otD: Why me? There must be a thousand other guys.

Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
This morning's weigh-in: 218.0
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville; The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

Originally published at jlake.com.

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User: jackwilliambell
Date: 2009-04-24 14:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The asteroid deflection thing is actually pretty close to an idea I had for an asteroid rendezvous mission: To decelerate when you get there you 'spear' the asteroid with a kind of long metal 'anchor' that goes deep into the asteroid structure. To the spear is attached a very long carbon-fiber tether which is spooled up inside your ship. The tether is statically charged so it has a magnetic field. As it spools out it runs through a kind of linear accelerator, which works in reverse as a generator. Besides the deceleration created by the drag on the tether via your 'generator' you use the electricity to power some engines (possibly just arcjets with water as a working fluid).

By the time you get to the end of the tether you have slowed to the same orbital velocity as the asteroid, so you just hang on and let the tether wrap around the asteroid for a little while and then cut loose when you have a small amount of relative velocity backwards. Then a small amount of maneuvering gets you into orbit around the asteroid.

I talked this through with a physicist I know and he thought it might work. Unfortunately the mass of the systems required would probably not be better than just using some kind of nuclear or solar/electrical propulsion. So no real win here and you get the added danger of breaking or 'snagging' the tether...
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