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Author Topic: Where can we go from here?
CO Thompson
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[lyrics deleted because CO Thompson does not have permission to quote them here - Kathleen Dalton-Woodbury]

John Hartford, Trying to do something to get your attention

Anyone who has read the works of the Masters of Science Fiction and Fantasy will have come to the understanding that there are a limited number of “stages” on which to set their play. I was little more than a child when I first encountered Isaac Asimov’s Robot and Foundation Series as well as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and, soon realized that Sci-Fi and Fantasy works present a perfect platform for Anthropological study. Is there a better way to learn who we are than to see how we regard ‘the other’? Since then, I have been a lump of clay under the hands of a master potter, shaped by reading and works of contemporary master storytellers; including OSC (who I have read and reread) while forming my thesis Critical Choice: The Essentials of Quality Decisions (Forthcoming). This is an attempt to understand the ‘not in my back yard’; ‘let someone else pay the price’ and ‘sweep it under the rug’ approach to problem resolutions that lead to too much pain and misery on Earth today.
For me, as with several others, Sci-Fi is a reasonable vehicle to tell the story of ‘us versus the other’, a sort of light speed anthropology that helps us to see what we find of value; worth fighting and dying for. I prefer the nuts and bolts; computers and space ships “stage” to that of the magic spells; yet the story line has only so many ways to connect ‘point a’ with ‘point b’, and it is in the plot of the act of connection that the story is worth your time.
The realist says; there is ‘the other’, they have seen us before we saw them and, they continue to study us from a hidden location. They want nothing to do with us because we are so unpredictable or untidy. Alternatively, the realist may point out that the other was here 50,000 years ago or may get here in 50,000 years from now when all our works are dust and ruin. Space, even within our galaxy is vast and time since the creation/big bang so long that even if we remain civilized and thrive as a species for 45,000 more years; in the scope of eternity and the vastness of space, we are like one sky rocket or firecracker on the Fourth of July, lost in the background noise.
The optimist tries to say; we meet ‘the other’ and they are the same as us, but more advanced: only we are not all the same as each other anyway, are we? When we should be thinking in terms of race; as human, rather than White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian if we are to have any true hope to survive the collapse of our ecology of climate change and the depletion of easily reached resources. If you need a pint of blood or a kidney or bone marrow transplant for yourself or a child to live, it can come from any of the above. Moreover, even if you find someone to whom you would give the shirt off your back; would you give him the keys to your car; let him move into your house, marry your daughter; take your wife on a hot date without you? This by itself says some important things about who ‘we’ are.
The pessimist says we meet ‘the other’ and they are not us: they rip the shirt off our back, take the keys and our car; move into our master bedroom with our wives and our daughters and leave us to die alone in the gutter or the mines.
I prefer to think of myself as an optimistic realist.
My current and most complete work of Anthropological study, The Beta Factor considers what might happen if a near hit event revealed how corrupt congress diverts funding for disaster relief to build their own bunkers, giving out pork barrel contracts to their friends. Only to face the consequences when they find out the near hit produced much more damage than was expected and the survivors, not only in the USA but also around the Earth, decide, “Enough is Enough”. The manuscript would benefit greatly with the help of a mathematician who can work out orbital speeds and distance; angles of approach and physics required to produce a capture event of a Minor Orbital Body as large as any so far identified. In addition, I need to know, if something were located at points in the Hilda’s Triangle, to form the base of an equilateral pyramid, would the other point of the pyramid be 93,000,000 miles above (or below) the sun or further?

I deal in rhetoric and theoretic, not arithmetic; is anyone interested and available to help me?

Charlie

[ June 16, 2014, 09:18 PM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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Hi, CO Thompson,

Welcome to Hatrack. Slow dow, easy does it is a core component of the Gricean Maxims, a principle set for persuasive writing generallly. Creative writing skills development is a marathon, not a fifty yard dash.

Please note posting song lyrics under copyright, poetry too, works under copyright generally, are proscribed by Hatrack rules, like John Hartford "Trying to Do Something to Get Your Attention" lyrics above. Here at Hatrack, a general sentiment asks for original work from all members.

93,000,000 miles is Earth's approximate orbit. The Hilda asteroids orbit at least double that distance from the Sun, outer Hildas four or so times that distance, inside Jupiter's orbit. The Aten and Apollo groups are among Earth's near asteroid families.

"The Other" or "Consitutive Other" in literature, social sciences, and philosophy concerns a number of criteria, among them sameness and otherness, though also numerous exoteric influences that centripetally and centrifugally define an esoteric "same."

I believe a general consensus among science fiction writers and readers, one consensus anyway, shared by writers and readers generally, approaches technical, scientific, or mathematic features as secondary to what a narrative says about the human condition, a stage with near infinite variety, far less so concerned about technical details.

[ June 15, 2014, 07:56 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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Welcome, CO Thompson. For me, sci-fi falls into innumerable shades of scientific reality. And, I guess, the degree of 'reality' to strive to achieve is wholly dependent on your target audience. Yes, even astrophysicists and exobiologists read science fiction, but I wouldn't dare posit the level of 'reality' they are looking for in the stories they read. They may be quite happy to accept a 'pie in the sky' theoretical proposition if it amuses or entertains them.

For the most part, and in very general terms, readers will accept almost anything that does not contradict current scientific knowledge and is not a veiled attempt to insult their intelligence.

The story is the keystone, the technical details simply the mortar. And, I'm afraid, my grasp of celestial and orbital mechanics is inadequate to the task you seek to have fulfilled. However, if you are primarily exploring aspects of the human condition, then the science is only incidental. A mere ephemeral vessel to contain, and constrain, the subject of your study.

Phil.
Pontificating again and pretending to have a grasp of physics beyond my high school studies

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CO Thompson
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Extrinsic,
After a more careful reading of the rules, I agree that I was wrong to have posted lyrics written by the late John Hartford. In my own, admittedly weak defense, I focused more on that restriction as related to the subsequent text, as it relates to authors rights. (See below) I was not attempting to write a story based in John Hartford’s Universe or based on his characters as much as I was attempting to point out that limitations and style restrict our ((MY)) abilities to be creative and original. After all Ecclesiastes 1:9 said there is nothing new under the sun and that was at least 4,000 years ago.

“You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this BB to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law.
You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this BB.
First, please be aware that our concern for author's rights means that this workshop is not for stories about someone else's characters or settings; no STAR TREK stories, no ALVIN MAKER stories, no MURDER, SHE WROTE stories, and so on. These, and others like them, are copyrighted and such stories are only published under very special circumstances. We'd like you to be able to see your own stories published; professionally, if possible.”
So I sort of pushed comments and instructions together and came to an incorrect interpretation (I have been rong before and shall be so again)but I am able to learn from my mistakes.
Never the less, I stand corrected and offer heartfelt apology to all that I have offended.

By the way, in just a few days of browsing this site, I have concluded that your screen name is a misnomer and I welcome your thoughtful comments at all times.

Just my 2¢

Charlie

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CO Thompson
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Grumpy,
Thank you for your comments. I think we would not argue over a few fine points if we had a few fine pint between us.
That said, I want my math to be correct; if I say that an asteroid made a near hit on May 12, 2051 and was captured to be our second moon, I need to know how fast it was traveling in its orbit of the sun so I can report an accurate date that it would have passed on the previous orbit and how fast it was traveling when it entered the atmosphere.
When we get into the softer science of anthropology, psychology and political science we have latitude to speculate but math, physics, geology, chemistry and molecular biology are less forgiving.

I don't want my story to be lost in the details any more than I want my thesis thrown to the wolves because of minutia.

Thanks again for your comments; I'll meditate on them today

Just my 2¢

Charlie

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extrinsic
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The meaning of extrinsic I personally take from the meaning of Alfred HItchcok's "MacGuffin:" "an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set or keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance" (Webster's 11th). extrinsic is an antonym of intrinsic. MacGuffin is a literary synonym of extrinsic.

A Hilda body becoming a second Earth moon would require a force to move it from its orbit, say a collision with another Hilda body or an errant Oort comet sending it in system. In order to be captured by the Earth-Moon system, the asteroid would need to arrive through an orbital transfer maneuver. The requisite delta V for the orbital transfer insertion would require another external force. Because the Hildas are carbonaceous chondrites, little if any volatiles warmed by the Sun, any outgassing directional jets would not have enough force. A collision with a near-Earth asteroid might do the job, though. Billiards played with peas and sand grains on an interplanetary pool table scale.

A comet collision causing the Hilda to leave its orbit, leave the comet's Oort orbit in the first place, needs an external force as well. A passing extra-Solar system body or orbital perturbations from Oort planetesimals would serve fiction's purposes.

The Hildas are generally in the ~170 +/- kilometer diameter range, about ten times the size, volume, and mass of Mount Everest. Such an asteroid becoming an Earth moon would take an astronomical amount of time and a great deal of complex coincidence, given the scales of distance, size, and multi-body gravitational dynamics involved. However, the statistical probability is greater than zero, plenty for fiction's purposes.

The kind of math involved in modeling such an event doesn't exist. Trigonometry is the math used for determining orbital dynamics and spacecraft trajectories, though even massive main frame computers running in tandem cannot calculate with any degree of certainty the dynamics of a system populated by more than a few large objects and one small object--the "Three Body" equation is about the most such calculations involve or require--like an asteroid or a spacecraft. Spacecraft trajectories are adjusted remotely by ground control in order to keep spacecraft on course, accurately perform orbital transfer and insertion maneuvers, and exit maneuvers, as the case may be.

Such a moon would need to enter a halo orbit at one of the Earth-Moon L4 or L5 libration zones, gently nudged into such an orbit by yet another external force. Even if precisely inserted, the moon's orbital stability would be short-lived, on the order of several thousands of years, though. Where it would go afterward is a matter of which forces prevail and from which direction it exits the libration zone.

In other words, in short, it can happen; it is so unlikely and impossible to model, though, that no one could find much reason to refute it happening, so long as the details are adequate, but not precise, for fiction's dramatic purposes. And scientist readers would debate ad nauseam the particulars and, hence, attract readers. Delightful.

Planetesimal perturbation, comet-Hilda collision, asteroid-asteroid collision, collision nudge into semi-stable Earth-Moon L4 or L5 halo orbit insertion. Advance notice of such an event would model probabilites of orbital insertion, or meteoroid impact, a few years in advance of the inner system Hilda asteroid-near Earth asteroid collision. The initial Hilda orbital transfer maneuver would be tracked up to a decade or two ahead.

[ June 17, 2014, 04:11 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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CO Thompson, assuming that the errant body is in orbit around our sun on the plane of the elliptic you could possibly transpose the equations on this site: (http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/supplement/orbitalmech.html) to give you some baseline information about the velocities required.

The problem as I see it is that to get any body of significant mass to change its current (stable) orbit will require the input of energy. Then, if the velocity of the mass has been increased, there is the distinct probability that the object will escape the sun's gravitational influence rather than falling sunward. If, however, the impact of the 'force' slowed the velocity of the object sufficiently, it may well spiral inward. However, it is more likely that such a body from the outer solar regions will be captured by either Saturn or Jupiter rather than Earth.

Regardless, the vector of the applied force on the object to be moved would be critical to achieve orbit around our planet and the moving mass would not approach Earth in a straight line; to do so would imply the work of some outside agency.

extrinsic, why are you assuming a halo insertion around a Legrange point? I understand that would stop it running into our original moon, or our moon running into it, but such a scenario would add spice to the problem.

Phil.
Dusting off the physics degree he got out of a cornflakes packet.

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extrinsic
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Or impacting with Earth. In order to become a semistable moon, though, L4 or L5 are logical choices. Another would be a cislunar orbit, or perhaps a high Earth orbit, above geosynchronous orbits in the graveyard zone, though those orbits are less stable than an L4 or L5 Lagrange orbit.

For the attention a possible Earth impact would get, I'd imagine that would fit a near hit that incites a corrupt congress to fund bunkers that pad their cronies' wallets. Becoming a moon instead would cause widespread though comparatively minor damage and incite awe and wonder Earthside afterward.

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Grumpy old guy
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extrinsic, while what you are saying might be true, I know I left my slide-rule lying around here somewhere, the likelihood of such a thing occurring naturally is vanishingly small. I much prefer the equation that goes like this: planetesimal A, traveling at velocity B comes within the gravitational influence of planet C and is 'captured'. Chaos ensues as tidal (both aquatic and tectonic) forces attempt to regain equilibrium and the electromagnetic 'shield' of the planet fluctuates and the magnetic poles switch. Just thought I'd throw the last in to add more 'hot' spice. Unless, of course, you'd like to introduce the possibility of some unknown, but nefarious influence like, well, "The Spider Queen of the 6th Dimension--Ha, ha,ha!" having some say in the matter.

Phil.
Now I'm becoming annoying.

PS. Perhaps we should ask Kathleen to move this conversation somewhere else. Maybe that 6th Dimension I mentioned.

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Grumpy old guy
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Having thought about this for a few more minutes, I really hate it when that happens, I prefer the scenario where a trans-solar planetesimal intersects the plane of the ellipse at an angle, thus avoiding the perturbations of any of the gas giants and the rubble of the asteroid belt. There are only three values that then need to be considered; the mass of the Earth (a constant), the mass of the planetesimal and the velocity of the planetesimal (both variable) to calculate how an orbit may be achieved.

Good luck, you'll need it.

Phil.

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CO Thompson
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I came up with extrinsic - not part of something : coming from the outside of something

So grateful for the comments. I will consider them more fully.

My thinking is that an alien race (The Nephilim as reported in Genesis 6) and they have been watching and quietly shaping the human race by rescuing women and children from battle zones and cities under siege for thousands of years. These humans are given safety, and education and a small number of them come back to serve as teachers until the day after Hiroshima is atom bombed. At that point they set an asteroid in orbit off the plane of the ecliptic that it intersects the orbit of Earth on its way in and out. Precision that makes top pool sharks look like kids including a bank shot off objects in Mercury's Lagrange to speed it up on its last orbit before capture. There might even be drives and controls built into it (haven't decided)

I want to reverse Newton's cannonball where the object passes within 30,000 feet before it settles in. Of course, the overpressure would produce devastating earthquakes, title waves and volcanoes just to name the obvious.

So if an asteroid takes 15 - 22 years to complete its orbit, how fast will it be traveling. How far out does it go?

That kind of math.

So far as my extensive reading goes, I have not seen this concept in print (even when I say there is nothing new under the sun) and if I can make it work, it sets my stage.

I also know the fear and paranoia that some of my friends (song writers) have when they put an idea out into the public view before it is copyrighted or when an artist gets upset if someone is looking over their shoulder.

I thought this forum is a place where we can share ideas.

I really am grateful for the input you each have offered.

Thanks

Charlie

Charlie

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CO Thompson
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I am willing to take this discussion to the sixth or even seventh dimension as long as someone gives me a key to the door
[Wink]

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extrinsic
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Discussion may continue in the Open Discussions About Writing thread.
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