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Author Topic: Another - has it been done.
tnwilz
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Ok my brother tells me this has been done at least on some level. (Yeah, what hasnít? There was nothing new under the sun even in Solomonís day)

Hereís my idea: an advanced civilization that has discovered how to move and control a small sun (star). They are explorers who travel the galaxy by moving their entire earth-like planet at great speed (maybe close to light speed through voids but slowing significantly as they approach a system) with said star in tow for energy and light. One day humans wake up to see a blue planet, looming a little larger than the moon, resident in the sky. In reality it is significantly farther away than the moon but similar to earth in actual size. Also a second smaller sun is visible but resident in the outer throws of the solar system as the traveling planet is taking advantage of our sun while it is here following the plane of earths orbit around Sol. A flotilla of ships is heading our way filled with excited explorers. Talk about mixed human emotions.

Iím gonna be so mad if this has been done the way I've described it.

Tracy

[This message has been edited by tnwilz (edited July 18, 2008).]


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halogen
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I know I've come across a traveling planet story... but I don't know where

Ahhh... there was an Invader Zim episode similar but not really... I don't think that is what I am thinking of. Arg, this is going to bug me now.


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Bent Tree
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Greg Bear~ Moving Mars
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tnwilz
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Moving Mars contains a planet ultimately being moved one time but its sort of a one-time trick that few understand and a dangerous act of desperation. My idea and Moving Mars wouldnít be compared but you were on the right track.

I was thinking... perhaps I could do some biblical tie-ins. Like the prophecy of a New heavens and a New earth... or New Jerusalem...like their capital city could be called Jerusalem??? Hmmm... a lot I could do with this. No story just yet lol... But it will come to me.

[This message has been edited by tnwilz (edited July 18, 2008).]


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ChrisOwens
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If it's that close to earth, of course, you'll have to account for tidal forces...
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Bent Tree
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Fantasy or SF?
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tnwilz
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This advanced civilization essentially knows what itís doing in this arena and keeps their world sufficiently far away so as not to greatly affect the worlds they visit. I thought it would trail earth in its solar orbit. How visible it would be in the sky may be exaggerated or not far from accurate. It would be tough to find a scientist that could speak with authority on the subject. Of course such a scientist could shred most sci-fi stories as all of them are riddled with fantasy.

Tracy


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Robert Nowall
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Planet moving comes up in Niven's Ringworld; part of the action takes place on a planet being moved.

E. E. "Doc" Smith used to fling planets around all the time---they made pretty terrible weapons. (How'd you like to be standing on a planet with another planet comin' at ya?) Those stories date from the thirties.

Stan Schmidt (he still edits Analog, doesn't he?) had a series of stories in the seventies where he moved Earth, in detail...

So planet moving is nothing new...I'd wonder about the gravitational effect on Earth and the solar system.

(Appropos to this topic...there's some terrific compiled footage of Earth, taken from a deep space probe, I forget the name, with the Moon moving in between Earth and the camera. Really helps you grasp how much larger the Earth is than the Moon...)


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tommose
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Niven's Fleet of Worlds has a quintet of Puppeteer worlds fleeing the explosion at the core of the galaxy, and one leaving the quintet on its own.
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halogen
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Ahhh yeah, Ringworld, that's what I was thinking of.
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tnwilz
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This is good, you guys are great. I've researched the Ringworld series and while it sounds like a really good storyline and I should probably read those books, it still wouldnt be compared to my idea above.

I'm liking this - I may actually have come up with a fairly original idea here. Keep up with the suggestions though, this has been very helpful.

Tracy


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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quote:
One day humans wake up to see a blue planet, looming a little larger than the moon, resident in the sky.

I don't think they are going to be able to sneak a planet in that easily, especially if it is bringing its own sun. Astronomers are not going to miss spotting something like that from a huge distance away, unless you are also positing some kind of "cloaking device," I guess.

As Robert Nowall has pointed out, though, the gravitational effects are going to be noticed, even if they can't see the planet and sun coming.


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tnwilz
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I would think it would all depend on the speed of the approach. Astronomers would possibly miss something traveling at close to the speed of light. Something as small as earth outside our solar system would be very hard to see which is why they canít tell if there are habitable planets in neighboring systems with any great accuracy. Remember the sun that tracks with this world is much much smaller than our sun. It doesnít really matter if they see it coming or not, the point is it arrives fairly quickly. The operators keep the planet far enough away that there are no serious effects to either world. I believe it would have to be relatively close to have a problematic gravitational effect. You only have to leave the earthís atmosphere to lose most gravitational effects on our ships and us. The moon of course has a very very mild gravitational effect on earth and it is extremely close. Regardless, that aspect will involve some research but certainly isnít a story killer. Itís just a question of how large I can say it appears in the sky.

Its good that you throw challenges at me because these are the thoughts readers will have and it needs to be within the realms of believability.


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TaleSpinner
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They'd need some really fancy control systems to keep their planet orbiting their sun as they travel across space, especially during acceleration and deceleration. If there were even the slightest error, the planet's orbital velocity would be wrong, and it would either crash into their sun or zing off alone into space.

They'd have to park their sun at least as far away from ours as Pluto is from Sol, so as not to disturb the orbits of our planets; less if their sun has less mass than ours.

Then they'd have to get their planet out of orbit around their sun, into orbit around ours, all the time keeping it warm.

If their planet is the same mass as the moon, it certainly should not come anywhere near as close to us as the moon, because it would influence our tides. The heavier it is, the further away it should be, and further again to avoid capturing our moon into its own orbit.

Even if it does that, it will still slightly perturb our orbit and those of nearby planets. (Whether that would matter to us, I don't know.) It's through observing the motions of Uranus that the existence of Neptune was predicted, before it was actually observed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation

I can't do the math, but if it's a planet of similar size to ours, I can't imagine but that it would affect us dramatically if we could see it "looming a little larger than our moon."

Furthermore, there are the relativistic effects of pushing their planet and sun up to speeds close to that of light. Initially I thought that since mass increases with speed, their planet would have to orbit ever closer to their sun to avoid flying off at a tangent, which would mean its temperature would rise until its inhabitants fried. But then I thought, their sun's mass too will increase with speed so they'll want to orbit further away to avoid diving into their sun, with the disadvantage of lowering temperatures.

But then I wondered if, since they're both accelerating, their relative masses would remain unchanged. I Googled it and realised that there's something called "relativistic mass" and started trying to understand it:
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/relativ/tdil.html#c3
http://www.opencourse.info/astronomy/introduction/09.light_relativity/

Now I have a headache.

I believe you'd have to get the science of this right, or at least consistent with what lay people know of relativity and gravitational mechanics, in order to maintain our willing suspension of disbelief.

By the way, we can feel Earth's gravitational effect rather further out than our atmosphere. Earth's gravity is what keeps the moon orbiting us, and there's the concept of gravitational slingshots:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_assist

At the back of my mind I'm thinking that if they could solve all these problems they wouldn't need to tow a sun around; they'd have found an easier way. But I'm not an intergalactic alien with an intellect the size of a planet, so what do I know.

Good luck with this,
Pat

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited July 20, 2008).]

[This message has been edited by TaleSpinner (edited July 20, 2008).]


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tnwilz
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While it is a tough number to nail down the fact is that the Earth is moving through the Universe at tremendous speed. Most estimates range from one point four million miles per hour to one point eight million miles per hour. Just figuring the earths rotation most of us are moving at Mach1 relative to our own planet, faster at the equator. Sixty seven thousand miles per hour in our flight around the Sun. Then you have the rotation of our Galaxy (our solar system is orbiting at five hundred thousand miles an hour) and the expansion of the Universe, that is to say the Galaxies are all flying away from the center of the Universe. Some galaxies are estimated to be moving at half the speed of light, away from the center.

So the idea of a world orbiting a SMALL star and moving through our galaxy like a comet is hardly far fetched.

I understand the gravitational pull of Sol on the planets in our solar system. Sol has tremendous mass, which is why all the planets are held in their respective orbits. There are other planets in our system that are many times larger than earth that have no tangible effect on us because they are too far away. The only two things which affect us are the Sun because of itís colossal size and the moon which is so close you can almost touch it. The moon is so very close that it is actually orbiting us, yet only tugs slightly on our planet. A second earth size world (which is quite small in context) following at a safe distance in the same plane of orbit would have little or no effect. The biggest possibility would be that if the world followed too close it would slow our orbit by its gravitational attraction, but like I say, I would not have it follow too close. If it were six months behind it would be at the opposite end of our orbit plane or three months behind, a quarter orbit behind, but even then I would doubt it would have any effect considering how tiny it is and the great distances involved (145.000.000 miles) Yet I would think it would be far more visible to the naked eye than any of the other planets in our system. Even if it appeared as half the size of our moon you would still see it in the day-time sky near the horizon. You can see Saturnís rings with a good pair of binoculars and it is almost a billion miles away a lot of the time.

I would have to come up with a reasonable level of explanation as to how these aliens control the movements of the star and home-world but hey, thatís what sci-fi is all about right?


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AndrewR
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If they are using their sun for power, I would expect that they would utilize all of it's power (since moving that much mass should be extremely energy intensive). So they'd probably have a Dyson sphere around it.

That would also explain why they were able to "sneak up" on Earth (although moving close to the speed of light would probably cause quite a few X-rays to be emitted from running into atoms in interstellar space).


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Devnal
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Or maybe they have been able to break the secret of gravity, can create their own artifical gravity, and through a set of complex algorythms (rythmns...rithyms..whatever) they can easily place their planet where they want and cancel its gravitational effects.

You could even work in that if the gravitational system/ algorythmn's falled, all hell would break loose and stuff would start crashing into eachother like a galactic pinball machine.

sahweeeeeet!


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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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To tell the truth that sounds pretty cool idea.

I havenít heard of any such works like that, but are the y paece ful ?

Rfw2ND


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rstegman
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There is the song Star Riders.
Of course that would work better near the galactic core where one can be in a hospitable area even far from the stars.

There are a few thoughts once expressed that the moon was really a star ship, arriving to deliver humans to the planet.....


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tommose
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The easiest way (if there is such a thing) to move a planet around the galaxy is as Niven describes his "fleet of worlds". The problem with moving a star system is much greater.

An tnwilz says, the stars and their programs are moving all the time. The problem comes when you try to alter how they're moving.

When you accelerate their system, they not only need to accelerate the planets as well, but they have to do so in such a way as to keep their angular momentum relative to their old orbits, while adding an identical amount of acceleration in some other direction. If you could move a planet at all, though, this is just really cool and complex math.

Additionally, the sun is gaseous, so you couldn't just hook a rocket on it and say giddyup. You can potentially do that with a solid planet, but not a star. The core of the star, being denser than the outer layers, would kinda just slip out, and this would be a bad thing.

Additionally, as any computer programmer would tell you, you need to field test this thing first. That would make for some interesting precursors (stars winking out, blowing up, beginning to move around).

Then there's power. Where are you going to get the energy to do all of this? Maneuvering would be a royal pain as well.

All this said, though, the technology to do all of this would be sufficiently advanced... MAGIC!

Sounds like a fun project.

Tom


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Doc Brown
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I like your idea and would read it.

In 1934 Edmund Hamilton wrote "Thundering Worlds." It's a short story about a future era when the sun goes dim. To save itself, mankind straps gigantic atomic engines to all nine planets and drives them around the universe looking for a new sun.

[spolier alert]

Along the way they come across a race of aliens who also have a dying sun. The aliens copy the human idea and the story becomes a chase through the universe to be the first to find a good sun. Eventually the narrator, governor of Mercury, sacrifices his planet by crashing it into the aliens.

Pretty cool stuff from 1934!

[This message has been edited by Doc Brown (edited July 23, 2008).]


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goatboy
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A somewhat similar device was used in the story The Cometeers by Jack Williamson in 1964. A race of odd beings use a sun and planets as a vehicle, and capture other plants to use for fuel. Their arrival at earth was not pleasant, or looked forward to.
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