What-If 0134: "Space Burial"

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What-If 0134: "Space Burial"

Postby Envelope Generator » Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:09 am UTC

Space Burial

Image

What if Randall teamed up with Mary Roach for his next project?
I'm going to step off the LEM now... here we are, Pismo Beach and all the clams we can eat

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby bachaddict » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:57 am UTC

By the time your dessicated corpse is found again, there'll be one of these that also revives you!
Image
slinches wrote:Also, the OTC isn't a disease. In fact, it's the cure. As we all know, Time heals all wounds.

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby OmniLiquid » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:00 pm UTC

I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the sources claiming the human body is 98% water is "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams". Seems appropriate.
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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby Klear » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:31 pm UTC

Human body is 100% water.

Edit: OmniLiquid would probably agree, right?

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby OmniLiquid » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:52 pm UTC

120 percent.

Actually, my concept when I came up with the name was someone who could shape-shift using water as an intermediate form similar to the enemy in Terminator 2 using metal. The idea makes perfect sense when you take into account that I was 12. The fact that no one else uses the name, so I never have to add numbers to it or anything crazy (unless I lose my account in an unrecoverable way) is nice.

EDIT: While the highest I saw actually claimed was 99 percent, my favorite was from
here.
"Here's another example along those lines: "The human body is 98 percent water. That means we're all this close to drowning".

He takes an acknowledged fact and forms a joke out of it. It's something anybody can look up in a book."
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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby keithl » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:42 pm UTC

The "are stable" link points to a paper by Freisen/Jackson/Zook/Kessler which talks about geosynchronous orbits (24 hour periods) and not geostationary orbits (fixed position overhead) like comsats use. I will get the full article the next time I visit a good university library and may have more to say. Don Kessler is a smart guy, Randall may be misinterpreting what he is saying about orbital stability.

In order to stay in its assigned fraction-of-a-degree geostationary orbital position, a communication satellite uses on average 47 meters per second per year of delta V (and thus maneuvering fuel) according to "The Handbook of Geostationary Orbits" by E. M. Soop, Microcosm Press, 1994. Without that delta V, tidal forces from Sun and Moon make comsats oscillate many degrees from their assigned spot, interfering with other satellites' communications and drifting far from boresight for the fixed-position terrestrial satellite dishes that point at them. Even more delta V is needed because the big solar panels are light sails, though some of the electricity the panels make drives the xenon ion thrusters that do the stationkeeping.

Comsats are required to retain some manuevering fuel as they approach end of life. That is used to move them to a higher altitude "graveyard" orbit where they won't risk collision with new comsats for "a long time", perhaps a thousand years.

Crashes are indeed unlikely - space is big - but the orbital velocity out there is 3000 meters per second, and the north-south velocity of a 0-to-15-degrees naturally precessing geosynchronous orbit can be as high as 750 meters per second. Eventually, when GEO is even more chock-full of comsats and freeze-dried prankster parts, one of the chunks will smash a solar panel on a working comsat. Meat-guns are difficult to detect and dodge. Dried meat is probably not very radar reflective, and (if the corpses of the victims in my basement are any indication :twisted: ) the jerk's jerky will turn black and become difficult to track optically, too.

I study this stuff because I am designing a new kind of "solid-state" satellite swarm. Lower orbits, not geostationary, but long term stability imposes constraints on orbits and operation. The O3B orbits are closer to a cusp of instability that can scatter them around the sky in the distant future.

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby MitraSmit » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:59 am UTC

I have no knowledge about this subject whatsoever, so if this question is stupid, please forgive me - but I was wondering if the strong UV wouldn't slowly desintegrate your body? Randall doesn't mention it at all, but I would expect it to have at least some small influence on the decay of human tissue...
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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby Flumble » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:16 pm UTC

MitraSmit wrote:I have no knowledge about this subject whatsoever, so if this question is stupid, please forgive me - but I was wondering if the strong UV wouldn't slowly desintegrate your body? Randall doesn't mention it at all, but I would expect it to have at least some small influence on the decay of human tissue...

It's not that he doesn't mention it at all, but indeed doesn't dive into the topic. Only this:
orbit somewhere in interplanetary space. There, over the course of millennia, you'd be slowly baked by the Sun's radiation and pitted and powdered by micrometeorites.

I assume that Randall assumes and that we are to assume that the damage by radiation (UV and all the other wavelengths) is near the same order of magnitude as damage by micrometeorites, and that it takes millennia for either to desintegrate you.

This might be true, since radiation doesn't punch atoms/molecules out of you nearly as much as it ravages molecules inside you. Still, some numbers on how much time it takes would be nice. (I have no idea)

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby clarkbhm » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

Sounds like the plot of Arthur C. Clarke's 3001: The Final Odyssey, where we finally learned what happened to Frank Poole after all those years in space...

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby niauropsaka » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:56 pm UTC

keithl wrote:I study this stuff because I am designing a new kind of "solid-state" satellite swarm. Lower orbits, not geostationary, but long term stability imposes constraints on orbits and operation.
You're cooling space-based computers by radiation? :shock: OK, I mean, you don't have a choice.

You realise that they're going to be in full sunlight most of the time, right?

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby SteveMB » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:06 am UTC

Is there a reason you specifically wanted your corpse to be naked?

Sheridan: Commander! Did you threaten to grab this man by the collar and threaten to throw him out an airlock?
Ivanova: (chagrined) Yes, I did.
Sheridan: I'm shocked! Shocked and dismayed.
(ISN reporter nods, mollified.)
Sheridan: May I remind you that we are short on supplies here? We can't afford to take perfectly good clothing and throw it out into space! Always take the jacket off first -- I've told you that before!
(Ivanova nods meekly.)
Sheridan: Sorry. She meant to say, "stripped naked and thrown out of an airlock". I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby keithl » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:53 am UTC

niauropsaka wrote:
keithl wrote:I study this stuff because I am designing a new kind of "solid-state" satellite swarm. Lower orbits, not geostationary, but long term stability imposes constraints on orbits and operation.
You're cooling space-based computers by radiation? :shock: OK, I mean, you don't have a choice.

You realise that they're going to be in full sunlight most of the time, right?

Glad you asked! Yes, full sunlight, and the thinsats will get hot, perhaps 90C. We are designing for for that, There Are Tricks, including some clever work at Intel for flexible bump bonding. The bigger problem is when the thinsats orbit into the Earth's shadow, they get Very Cold Very Fast. A deep thermal cycle every four hours. We hope to use NASA Goddard's high emissivity ultrablack coating on the spaceward side for good thermal emissivity, and will rotate the thinsats at "night" to keep that side illuminated by the Earth's infrared emissions. The rotation also reduces night sky light pollution on Earth, an ecological problem if someday there are more than a trillion thinsats in MEO orbits. Which is ridiculously ambitious, I mean, how could we ever run out of 4 billion IPv4 addresses, so why bother planning for it? :-)

Later versions of the thinsat will have an infrared filter on the sunward photovoltaic side, which will reflect most of the heat-producing incoming IR in the "daytime". The thinsat will still be somewhat hotter because we reduce half the emission surface, sending all the heat out the back. It is still a win, because it reduces front side starward IR emissions in rotation, keeping thinsats much warmer at "night". As a bonus, the directed IR light pressure works against solar light pressure, and permits some mass reduction. We would sell our grandmothers to save one gram of launch weight per thinsat.

BTW, all computers cool by radiation. The terrestrial ones use the Earth's stratosphere as a radiator.

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby KittenKaboodle » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:36 am UTC

keithl wrote: if someday there are more than a trillion thinsats in MEO orbits.


Stop me if you've heard this before; What could go wrong?
I don't know much about phased arrays, and of course only a small fraction of your thinsats will be within view of any give point on earth any any given time, but even a small fraction of 2.6W * "more than a trillion" could be interesting with half way decent focusing..

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:51 am UTC

If there isn't a mind-numbingly god-awful movie called Space Mummies released this summer, I will be very, very disappointed.

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby PointyOintment » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:46 am UTC

[last image]

DRR… DRR… DRR…

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby trpmb6 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:29 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:If there isn't a mind-numbingly god-awful movie called Space Mummies released this summer, I will be very, very disappointed.


COMING SOON TO AMC "THE FLOATING DEAD"

I would absolutely support this. I picture a ship with a rag tag crew led by a former rebel that specialize in smuggling goods for profit. Eventually they have a brushin with "The Floating Dead".

Oh wait. Fox already cancelled that show. :evil:

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Re: What-If 134: "Space Burial"

Postby Zinho » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:07 pm UTC

keithl wrote:
niauropsaka wrote:
keithl wrote:I study this stuff because I am designing a new kind of "solid-state" satellite swarm. Lower orbits, not geostationary, but long term stability imposes constraints on orbits and operation.
You're cooling space-based computers by radiation? :shock: OK, I mean, you don't have a choice.

You realise that they're going to be in full sunlight most of the time, right?

Glad you asked! Yes, full sunlight, and the thinsats will get hot, perhaps 90C. We are designing for for that, There Are Tricks, including some clever work at Intel for flexible bump bonding. The bigger problem is when the thinsats orbit into the Earth's shadow, they get Very Cold Very Fast. A deep thermal cycle every four hours. We hope to use NASA Goddard's high emissivity ultrablack coating on the spaceward side for good thermal emissivity, and will rotate the thinsats at "night" to keep that side illuminated by the Earth's infrared emissions. The rotation also reduces night sky light pollution on Earth, an ecological problem if someday there are more than a trillion thinsats in MEO orbits. Which is ridiculously ambitious, I mean, how could we ever run out of 4 billion IPv4 addresses, so why bother planning for it? :-)

Later versions of the thinsat will have an infrared filter on the sunward photovoltaic side, which will reflect most of the heat-producing incoming IR in the "daytime". The thinsat will still be somewhat hotter because we reduce half the emission surface, sending all the heat out the back. It is still a win, because it reduces front side starward IR emissions in rotation, keeping thinsats much warmer at "night". As a bonus, the directed IR light pressure works against solar light pressure, and permits some mass reduction. We would sell our grandmothers to save one gram of launch weight per thinsat.

BTW, all computers cool by radiation. The terrestrial ones use the Earth's stratosphere as a radiator.


OK, this is my "I'm living in the future now" moment for the week! I'm a fan of a webcomic where they've built this ring. The sunward surfaces of the webcomic microsats are reflective, so one of the neat tricks they pull is skywriting messages in it. They are in fact good enough at this that every time zone and latitude gets its own new-year countdown clock! Of course, since this is a webcomic about space mercenaries hurting people and breaking things, it gets turned to nefarious ends; that's why it's a fun story :twisted:

You are planning on implementing some sort of security on orbit and aiming for your thinsats, right?

Anyhow, I'm posting this to the webcomic forum too; with any luck some of the comic's fans will be qualified and willing to help you out.


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