RSS Feed

Shooting for the stars

Posted on

Occasionally I entertain my mind by giving consideration to the technical and scientific achievements of mankind that have occurred since our ancestor constructed a rudimentary circular object and presented to civilisation "the wheel".

Our lives today, dominated by technology and labour-saving devices, rarely slow down sufficiently for us to give adequate tribute to those whose minds saw beyond the boundaries of the stadium, and dared to dream about playing ball in the universe beyond.

To illustrate the extent of human knowledge in just one single field of endeavour, I have, for us, designed a hypothetical.

This involves just the two of us dear reader.
Yep, thats you and GOF.  Nobody else.

We will be transported back in time 100 years. It is 1909.
The Supreme Benevolent Dictator has ensured that we both will have a singular focus on our task by taking care of all the other distractions in our lives.  We shall be comfortably accommodated, have no family or financial difficulties, and no ill health or death will intervene.

Our mission in life together will simply be to lob any piece of earthly matter of our choosing on to the surface of the moon.
Just the two of us starting with a1909 knowledge base.
Aviation and aeronautical knowledge is at this time very basic. 
The first powered takeoff, flight, and landing (by Orville Wright in the Kitty Hawk) only occurred in 1903.

Now I understand that you, relatively, are a genius, and that I will inflict a mental hamstring injury upon our partnership.
I do, however, have a little real world experience to offer. 
In 1961, after the yo-yo craze died out, (we had all perfected "walking the dog", "round the world" and "rocking the baby")  there was the much more exciting "Cap Rocket".  These "toys" were designed like a playing dart, except that the sharp point was replaced by a blunt metal chamber which could be loaded with gunpowder "caps".
The loaded device was thrown into the air, and it then exploded into orbit (exercising literary licence and exaggeration) after it landed on the playground bitumen.
This craze also rapidly died out along with the eyesight of numerous children, and most of our several hundred rockets ended up on the second storey roof of the Bendigo School of Mines.

So, let us consider what may be on the agenda for our first discussions over a cup of coffee. 
(SBD for some obscure reason removed all alcohol from our reach)

We might have to concern ourselves experimenting with, and understanding the physics involved, along with other technical considerations.
1.  The structure of the atmosphere.
2.  The energy required to propel a given mass through and beyond the  troposphere.
3.  The relative effects of both earth and moon's gravity upon trajectory, to ensure that our anvil, pussy cat or frying pan does not end up at some place other than the moon's surface.
4.  Proving eventually to the SBD that our earthly artifact actually got there.
5.  We might also need to show some planning consideration to our neighbours who may occasionally be intolerant of shrapnel wounds or "friendly fire", and assorted "space junk" prematurely returning to earth on their side of the fence.  

In order to secure ongoing funding the SBD would like for us to provide an estimate of our completion date. 
She said it would be OK to round it off to the nearest century.
We should not be overly optimistic, because with the conditions of employment being so good I think I will be tempted to sabotage a lot of your good work.

And of course I shall also enjoy your company for an additional century or two.

Read and post comments |
Send to a friend

About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

7 responses »

  1. I'd love to be your partner in this. I'd like to know what psychics you are talking about, and what this trajeckory thing is? And is it ok to have alcohol in our coffee, because we really need some creative thinking.
    Like: maybe we should just wait for the eighties and recruit some guy named Lillee to throw a cricket ball to the moon?
    By the way, SBD just rejected your application to have "have my partner surgically altered to look like Elle McPherson". SBD says this most certainly will count as a distraction, and has now asked me to put on twenty kilos and grow my chin hairs, just to be sure you stay on track with the project.

  2. HG Wells envisioned space flight as being in the form of a bullet shot fron a "cannon" built into the earth.

  3. Thank you Little Odd You for one of the most entertaining, thought provoking comments I have ever received.Trajeckory is a biblical herb, an NO you may not get crissed as a picket during our deliberations whilst claiming it was a bad batch of coffee.Seems I have been revealing a little too much about myself in recent times, and someone has been paying close attention. ;-)Sorry you had to find out about my application to SBD….I did mark it "confidential".She has a very big mouth, and with it she told me that no matter how fat and hairy you become, I am contracted to continue this project.I knew that anyway. Its your mind that I admire. 😉

  4. Thanks GOM. To my shame I must admit not having read much HG Wells, but in this instance he certainly was not far from the correct track. All he needed was to "fuel and power" the "bullet" on its" trajeckory".

  5. Ooooh, so we get to have us some Trajeckory and get Biblical? Sweet! This project is sounding better and better.
    And … I'm sorry, I guess I should have told you I changed my name to "Confidential" last week. I thought the envelope was for me. Not SBD's fault at all.
    Still, I'm on my second pizza of the night, fingering my bristly chin …

  6. Sometimes I worry about my partners qualifications. I'll see if SBD has some Brylcreem for the chin 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: