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View Full Version : Speculative questions on a near-solar mission



Moose
2002-Nov-29, 03:34 PM
I was flipping channels the other day when I encountered an episode of "Thunderbirds". It's a fairly campy british science-fiction show "acted out" by puppets. As cheezy as that show could get, I used to enjoy it a great deal as a kid.

I got to thinking about one of the episodes I remember from way-back-when. It involved a manned mission to approach the sun, launch a probe to gather a sample from the corona, then retrieve the probe on the other side of the sun before sling-shotting around.

Okay. Clearly, today's technology won't DO that, and it's probably a pointless mission anyway given what we've already learned from the sun (and there are far easier ways to gather solar emissions than that.)

But I'd be very interested to hear some discussion on a speculative near-solar return mission, manned and/or unmanned.

What would we have to learn how to do before we could attempt such a feat?

What are the show-stopping hurdles?

How close to the sun could we expect to get?

What useful data could we gather if we could only get close enough?

Nanoda
2002-Nov-29, 08:09 PM
It's probably not that big of a problem so long as you do it at nighOW! OW! Stoppit! Ok, I won't say it, leggo!

Donnie B.
2002-Nov-29, 08:30 PM
I remember a remarkable s-f story (sorry, can't remember the author or title) about a future in which weather control (for Earth) was performed by a team of astronauts working on the surface of the Sun!

Somehow they were able to tweak the solar output heading Earthward "just so". It was both technological and political -- if you didn't comply with the wishes of the global government, your country had an endless drought.

Must have had some mondo air-conditioning on those Sun-surface ships!

darkhunter
2002-Nov-29, 10:25 PM
I remember that one--I want to say Author C. Clarke wrote it but not sure. Can't remember the proper term for it but it's the same as when you put a drop of water on a hot skillet. Builds a barrier of water vapor under it and keeps the heat away...

roidspop
2002-Nov-30, 04:04 AM
Liedenfrost effect?

Makes a good game...set a clothes iron on "cotton", turn it sole-plate upwards and place a drop of water on the surface. The trick is to keep the frictionless drop on the iron and off your arm. Might want to wear rubber gloves while attempting it.

ljbrs
2002-Nov-30, 04:19 AM
It's probably not that big of a problem so long as you do it at nighOW! OW! Stoppit! Ok, I won't say it, leggo!


I love it!

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Smaug
2002-Nov-30, 05:04 AM
Yeah, you just do it at night time, DUHHHHH! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif

ToSeek
2002-Dec-02, 11:12 PM
There's a mission in the planning stages called Solar Probe (http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/spd/solar_probe.html) designed to fly through the Sun's corona. At perihelion, it would supposedly be the fastest-moving manmade object ever.

Moose
2002-Dec-03, 05:29 PM
I'm marking my 2010 social calendar. Wouldn't miss it. 8^)

Thanks ToSeek.

daver
2002-Dec-03, 08:07 PM
On 2002-11-29 15:30, Donnie B. wrote:
I remember a remarkable s-f story (sorry, can't remember the author or title) about a future in which weather control (for Earth) was performed by a team of astronauts working on the surface of the Sun!

Somehow they were able to tweak the solar output heading Earthward "just so". It was both technological and political -- if you didn't comply with the wishes of the global government, your country had an endless drought.

Must have had some mondo air-conditioning on those Sun-surface ships!



Pretty sure it was Ben Bova. I first read it as a short story, it might have been expanded into a novel.

Glom
2002-Dec-03, 09:28 PM
On 2002-12-02 18:12, ToSeek wrote:
At perihelion, it would supposedly be the fastest-moving manmade object ever.



One problem with saying that is of course defining what frame of reference you judge it by.

Glom
2002-Dec-03, 09:30 PM
I remember that episode. I think I've still got it on video somewhere lurking about.

Supposedly, Virgil saved Thunderbird 3 by causing its retro rockets to fire. The problem with this is that this would probably lower the perihelion even more, making the situation worse.

ToSeek
2002-Dec-03, 09:36 PM
On 2002-12-03 15:07, daver wrote:


On 2002-11-29 15:30, Donnie B. wrote:
I remember a remarkable s-f story (sorry, can't remember the author or title) about a future in which weather control (for Earth) was performed by a team of astronauts working on the surface of the Sun!

Somehow they were able to tweak the solar output heading Earthward "just so". It was both technological and political -- if you didn't comply with the wishes of the global government, your country had an endless drought.

Must have had some mondo air-conditioning on those Sun-surface ships!



Pretty sure it was Ben Bova. I first read it as a short story, it might have been expanded into a novel.


I think it's "The Weathermakers" by Ben Bova, originally a novella, eventually turned into a novel. The shorter version is one of my personal favorite sf short stories - haven't read the novel.

_________________
"... to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." - Tennyson, Ulysses

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ToSeek on 2002-12-03 16:37 ]</font>