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"Indeed, the rage of theorists to make constitutions a vehicle for the conveyance of their own crude, and visionary aphorisms of government, requires to be guarded against with the most unceasing vigilance."
     -- Joseph Story
     Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States
     Book III, § 1857.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Steven Den Beste on heaving things out to the Lagrange points. The difficulties he points out can be solved by lobbing more than one mass.

Say I fire off a mass today on a Simon orbit (Steven's terminology) with a period of twenty-two months. A year from now, I fire off another mass on an Alvin orbit with a period of ten months. At the beginning of 2006, both these masses wind up at L4, and Alvin's energy deficit can be balanced by Simon's energy excess by choosing how much to send each time.

It's still easier to hit L4. One can hit L5 by the same means, but Alvin will need to make several orbits, and we must take care to miss L4. For example, today we fire off Alvin on a nine-and-a-half-month orbit, and two years from now, we fire off Simon on a fourteen-month orbit. The great chipmunk reunion takes place at L5 at the beginning of May, 2007.

-- posted by Clayton 3/03/2004 01:45:00 AM

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