November 13, 2006

Lumpy Moon* Random Eleven

My Friend The Addict - COLIN MACINTYRE
Hourglass - A BAND OF BEES
Engine Room - TUNNG
Concrete Seconds - PINBACK
The Party's Crashing Us - OF MONTREAL
Roses And Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein - MATMOS
Prelude From Partita No. 3 For Solo Violin - BELA FLECK

* NASA says gravity on the moon is really lumpy, meaning if you're in orbit around the moon you will pass through strong fields of gravity and weak fields. If you were standing next to an area with a strong gravity field and you hung a plumb bob, a weight at the end of a string, it wouldn't hang straight down toward the center of the moon but would actually lean a little toward the area with the stronger field.

So, golfing on the moon has yet another variable to deal with.

Almost as important, this is causing havoc with the orbits of satellites and it is nosediving them into the ground. Previous manned missions to the moon had orbits at angles which eluded the lumpy parts but future missions will have to use small rocket blasts to continually adjust their orbits.

In addition, new training protocols for all future astronauts have already incorporated instructions to drop down at least one club and close their grip a little on anything over 500 yards.

The earth's mass is for the most part uniformly distributed so gravity on the surface hardly varies at all. The moon, though, apparently has extremely dense areas distributed haphazardly throughout it. So instead of being all swiss cheese, it's a badly mixed lump of swiss, mozzarella, brie, and very sharp cheddar.

Yes, these are the things I ponder while gathering your random eleven.


At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Mike Sheffler said...

Hmm. I wouldn't have thought that the variations would be that significant.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Omni said...

WOW!! You learn something new every day!! :-)

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Don Sheffler said...

Omni - And I can't wait to find out what I'll learn tomorrow :-)

Mike - From what I remember about the article, plumb bob next to a dense gravity field will only shift about 1/6 of a degree toward the field, but this is apparently enough to perturb a satellite's orbit to varying degrees depending on whether it passes directly over a dense spot or two, or skirts one and makes a slight lateral shift.

After a number of passes the successive alterations add up to a very eccentric ellipse and then a nosedive. The first satellite this happened to only lasted 142 orbits. The second one took 18 months to kill.

If I'm ever pitching on the moon, I'll make sure we are playing in a gravity lump and my change-up will be unhittable.


Post a Comment

<< Home