Gravitational Corridors Like Space-Lanes
Gravitational corridors describe minimum energy pathways between objects in the solar system; they connect Lagrange points where gravitational forces balance out.
The graphic below shows the twisting, ever changing pathways that could provide low speed but highly fuel efficient paths between planets and moons.
These paths are reminiscent of that wonderful sf notion space-lanes. As far as I know, the first mention of this phrase was in Edmond Hamilton's 1928 classic Crashing Suns:
He had travelled the space-lanes of the solar system for the greater part of his life, and now all of his time-honored rules of interplanetary navigation had been upset by this new cruiser.
Just a generation later, Philip K. Dick borrowed this majestic term and used it to describe a harrowing daily commute back to Earth:
Commute ships roared on all sides, as Ed Morris made his way wearliy home to Earth at the end of a long hard day at the office. The Ganymede-Terra lanes were choked with exhausted, grim-faced businessmen; Jupiter was in opposition to Earth and the trip was a good two hours.
In more modern sf movies, you might want to use this stellar cartography room to plot these routes.
(Picard and Data in stellar cartography)
Hardy spacefarers eager to ply the gravitational corridors between the Earth and Mars in real life should be prepared for a long voyage, though; it could take thousands of years. The best use for these "space-lanes" is as low-consumption routes between the moons of a planet like Jupiter.
The only real-life space voyage to use this method was the Genesis spacecraft launched in 2004 to capture solar wind particles and return with them to Earth.
Via Highways in the Sky; thanks to Moira for pointing this one out.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/13/2009)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1951.
Tether Asteroids To Save Us All
'If anything can glue the asteroids back into the planet they once were, magnology will do it.' - Richard Wilson, 1958.
Perhaps You Might Be Interested In Habitable Exoplanet Moon Real Estate
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
SpaceX Will Build Floating Spaceports!
'...a single perfectly level platform, which rose so high above the water that it was not splashed by the waves.' - Otfrid von Hanstein, 1930.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Personalized Masks Appear
'The tiger stripes on Jim's mask... made the young people easy to identify.'
Foiling Facial Recognition, Fighting Coaster Viruses, Harlan Ellison-Style
I have no mouth and I must scream.
Ford Uses Obedient Robot Dogs To Update Facilities Maps
'If he sent out two or three of the small tele-operated devices... [he] could see machinery and construction details in real time from both above and below.'
AirTouch Panels Means No More Dirty Touchscreens!
Useful interfaces now appear in thin air.
EllipticaRunner Robot Is Fast, Amazing, Slightly Worrisome
'THEY sent A SLAMHOUND on Turner's trail in New Delhi...'
SPECTER Electroshock Round Fireable From Shotgun
'...the balls sent by this gun are not ordinary balls, but little
cases of glass.'
100 Terabyte Exadrive SSD Also Has Biggest Price
'A man could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres in a Schrön loop.'
Mechanical Milking Of Microalgae For Fuel Production
'They call 'em culture tanks. They have bugs -- germs -- growing in them.'
Feel Virtual Reality In Mid-Air!
'...a pressure on the lips - warm and soft, moist and sweet.'
Electric Lasso Gives Police Options
'The blast of silver threads enveloped her...'
TytoCare Offers Futuristic Home Care
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'
Powdered Regolith Propulsion
'... filling their great tanks with the finely divided dust which the ionic rockets would spit out in electrified jets.'
Ford's SafeCap, Opposite Of Niven and Barnes' Napcap
'In the napcap a client became an instant yoga master...'
Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'
Tesla Autopilot: What Does An Autonomous Car See When It Looks At The Road?
'Jeremiah is a sports-model to begin with and that kind is awfully hot-tempered.'
DNA Controls Swarms Of Molecular Robots
'They exist in loose swarms...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories