Monday, February 23, 2009

Fun with Orbital Mechanics

On the upside, I have a new story on the brain, and I actually spent a large portion of my hours at work Wiki-ing all that shit. I love it when I get to Wikipedia articles that feature, front and center, a math equation. As the Emilyon put it this afternoon, I don't speak that language.

Happily, however, my downstairs roommate does. He's a physics guy, and so I went downstairs when I finally got home tonight, and picked his brain about viable means of achieving escape velocity in a slightly alternate year in the 1910-1915 range. And he actually explained the shit I'd been reading on Wikipedia in terms that made sense. I sort of get the ion thruster now, and I understand the minimal thrust/high potential energy thing that is sort of encompassed there. And the fact that I can put Percival Lowell, Robert Goddard and Nikola Tesla together in the same historical moment, place and context, makes me very happy. It's gonna be another story that winds up being way too long, and it's one that also has six or seven relatively steep learning curves attached to it, but it's good times. We also chatted about old Apple II games we had known, and Jack McDevitt, and we drank inexpensive beer out of aluminium cans and other good stuff. I love having a goodnatured physics geek living downstairs. Yay.

Gotta get up for work tomorrow, though, and shortly. So that's all for that, right now. The neighbor thought the story had legs, though, which is heartening. So. We shall see, hopefully soonish. Tra la.


  1. Heh. Percy's distinguished-looking. In my head, he was a little more wild-haired and peaked.

  2. Ah, Apple II games. Do you remember "Brain Drain"? I think that's what it was was set on a spaceship, I believe, which really narrows it down, I know.

  3. Oh, and do you remember ENTER magazine? It was a computer programming magazine for kids and amateur geeks like my dad...they ended up merging with 3-2-1 Contact because their audience wasn't big enough.