[FoRK] why not space

Dave Long dave.long at bluewin.ch
Tue Oct 25 08:45:15 PDT 2011

Well, if getting to mars is difficult for monkeys in tin cans, why  
not bring mars to the monkeys[0]?

John McCarthy, "Chaos and Moving Mars to a Better Climate"
> ... we compute the changes in the orbits of Jupiter and Venus  
> required to move Mars to one AU from the sun. ... Venus comes out  
> distressingly close to the sun, ...  Oh well, nobody we know lives  
> on Venus.

I had a classmate once who noted that there are ME's, ChE's, EE's,  
etc., so why not G(ravitational) E(ngineer)s[1]?


[0] since our computers are no longer (as in the days of Poincaré or  
Hohmann) un-tinned monkeys, we now can numerically find relatively  
cheap unstable transfers[2].
[1] cf. Gómez et. al., "Invariant Manifolds, the Spatial 3-Body  
Problem and Space Mission Design"
[2] in the horse cavalry days being "in the saddle" with an opponent  
in a duel meant being situated in phase space so as to have control  
of relative distance and attitude; in the XXth century fighter pilots  
updated being "in the saddle" to refer to being comfortably on  
someone's six (or, for John Boyd, on his twelve!), yielding the same  
control; in space being "in the saddle" can refer to the opposite  
eigenvalues of a halo orbit around L1 or L2, from which it's possible  
to control the transition to many other trajectories with minimal Δv .

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