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Valiant Dancer
2002-Sep-18, 08:20 PM
I had to write him on this one.

From the new book "Star Trek: Iím Working on That"

"The swiftest object we humans have created is a spacecraft called Pioneer 10, launched from earth way back in 1972. About twelve years ago it departed the solar system, zipping along at twenty-five miles a second, a pretty stout speed. (Iím lucky if I can go twenty-five miles an hour on the freeways of Los Angeles). Having left our relatively crowded solar system behind, Pioneer 10 now finds itself sailing through a vast vacancy, as solitary as a clam. Even traveling at 90,000 miles an hour, it is moving 7,500 times slower than the speed of light."

Pioneer 10 is the third fastest man made extrasolar body. It's real speed is 27,380 mph. It is slower than Voyager 1 (39,000 mph) and Voyager 2 (35,000 mph).

"The nearest star to Earth, other than our own sun, is Proxima Centauri, combusting 4.3 light-years away. It will take Pioneer 10 32,000 years to get there. And this is the closest star! It will take 15 billion years for it to reach the next galaxy."


The math is right for 90,000 mph. But Pioneer is
1) not going that way

and

2) traveling at 27,380 mph

It would take 105,160 years to reach Proxima Centuri.

Link to book quotes

http://www.msnbc.com/news/809159.asp

SeanF
2002-Sep-18, 08:35 PM
Hmm. The 32,000 years is consistent with the 25 miles-per-second / 90,000 miles-per-hour he quotes in the first paragraph. I wonder where *that* comes from?

"The swiftest object we humans have created is a spacecraft called Pioneer 10" followed in the next paragraph by "Pioneer 10 is the third fastest man made extrasolar body." There's definitely some confusion here somewhere!

Valiant Dancer
2002-Sep-18, 08:36 PM
On 2002-09-18 16:35, SeanF wrote:
Hmm. The 32,000 years is consistent with the 25 miles-per-second / 90,000 miles-per-hour he quotes in the first paragraph. I wonder where *that* comes from?

"The swiftest object we humans have created is a spacecraft called Pioneer 10" followed in the next paragraph by "Pioneer 10 is the third fastest man made extrasolar body." There's definitely some confusion here somewhere!





The stuff between quotes is my own correction. Sorry for the confusion.

SeanF
2002-Sep-18, 09:33 PM
On 2002-09-18 16:36, Valiant Dancer wrote:

The stuff between quotes is my own correction. Sorry for the confusion.



D'oh! Hence the lack of quotation marks around that particular paragraph. My mistake. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Ilya
2002-Sep-19, 12:31 AM
Major confusion with a kernel of truth.

During its closest Jupiter approach Pioneer 10 reached the speed of 82,000 mph, making it the fastest man-made object as of then. A year later Pioneer 11 set new speed record when it reached 108,000 mph at its perijove. That record was exceeded in 1995 by Galileo probe. So yes, Pioneer 10 is the third fastest man-made object when measured by the top speed an object ever reached - not by its current speed.

Source: http://spaceprojects.arc.nasa.gov/Space_Projects/pioneer/PN10&11.html

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Ilya on 2002-09-18 20:31 ]</font>

Ilya
2002-Sep-19, 12:36 AM
Oops...

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/galileo/Galileo-QA/Speed/Probe_speed.1

No, Pioneer 11 still holds the record (by a whisker).

jumbo
2002-Sep-19, 12:36 PM
"Proxima Centauri, combusting "
I assume by combusting that doesnt mean fire but does mean fusion producing energy output etc....

David Hall
2002-Sep-19, 12:57 PM
This one is bad but I'm not going to call it "horrid". It seems to me mostly to be a problem of using mistaken sources or falling back on "commonly" held knowledge. The remainder is a bit of bad math and a lot of hyperbole. It's really just an attempt to impress the scale of space on the readers. For that I can give him some leeway.

But it would have been better if he had gotten his facts straight first.

SeanF
2002-Sep-19, 01:21 PM
On 2002-09-19 08:57, David Hall wrote:
It seems to me mostly to be a problem of using mistaken sources or falling back on "commonly" held knowledge. The remainder is a bit of bad math and a lot of hyperbole.



I wouldn't even go that far. Apparently, he mistook the probe's maximum velocity (rounded off) for its current velocity. After that, the math itself is all correct and consistent.

xriso
2002-Sep-20, 12:50 AM
On 2002-09-18 16:20, Valiant Dancer quoted Shatner:

"The nearest star to Earth, other than our own sun, is Proxima Centauri, combusting 4.3 light-years away. It will take Pioneer 10 32,000 years to get there. And this is the closest star! It will take 15 billion years for it to reach the next galaxy."


Just wondering -- should we even expect something travelling that speed to get to the barycenter of the Milky Way and another galaxy?

Donnie B.
2002-Sep-20, 06:47 PM
As I was channel surfing yesterday, I stumbled across Bill Shatner on The View, a show I normally would skip right over. Since it was Captain Kirk, though, I watched for a bit. His toupee is better than I remember it... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

He was on to plug the book, I suppose (I missed the start of the conversation). The ladies asked him a question about the various technologies of the Star Trek universe, which ones he thought might become real (or that he'd like to see become real). After a brief discussion of transporters and the like, somebody jokingly mentioned time travel.

Bill went off into a rather confused discussion of time dilation -- the Special Relativity kind -- which was not exactly wrong, but... well... let's say that as a physicist, Mr. Shatner's a fine actor.

Live long and prosper, Jim. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Bad Dr Galaxy
2002-Sep-20, 10:43 PM
Yes, Ok, I agree Bill got some of his numbers off. But, c'mon, it doesn't invalidate the point he was trying to make -- space is very very big. And you need warp drive to get from star system to star system or each episode is thousands of years long. All this is true.

And I guiltily admit to liking his writing style. I like his Tek series, too. Sue me.

And c'mon! You want "Horrid Astronomy"? There are MUCH better examples out there. You probably know what I mean. In another area, dealing with putting nuclear waste on the moon, "Space 1999" was mentioned. That show probably qualifies for "Worst Non-Satirical Space Series" of all time, in terms of bad astronomy.

I'm inclined to cut Bill a lot of slack on this one...

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Sep-21, 01:21 AM
On 2002-09-20 18:43, Bad Dr Galaxy wrote:
I'm inclined to cut Bill a lot of slack on this one...
Why should we let Shatner go, when we won't do the same for the BA?

In fact, the BA insists upon it, and it's his board.

Rodina
2002-Sep-21, 03:16 PM
This is a data error of Shatner's, not a conceptual one. No slack needed, it's just not as bad as most.

David Hall
2002-Sep-21, 06:29 PM
Cutting him some slack isn't the same as letting it go. I'm not saying he doesn't need to be corrected, just that it doesn't need to be called a horrid error.

His got the feeling right, even if he got the facts wrong. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

David Hall
2002-Sep-21, 06:33 PM
On 2002-09-19 20:50, xriso wrote:

Just wondering -- should we even expect something travelling that speed to get to the barycenter of the Milky Way and another galaxy?


I dunno. What's the escape velocity of the Milky Way?

Chip
2002-Sep-22, 10:22 PM
On 2002-09-19 08:57, David Hall wrote:
This one is bad but I'm not going to call it "horrid". It seems to me mostly to be a problem of using mistaken sources or falling back on "commonly" held knowledge.Well, after all, Captain Kirk has been retired from Star Fleet for a while. It's hard to rethink in those really slow speeds when you normally work at warp factor 5 or more. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif