Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Interplanetary Tramline: The Aldrin Cycler

Earth-to-Mars in five months, with a 21-month stopover and a five-month return flight? Yep. Just ask Buzz Aldrin, Ph.D., who points out you can park a couple spacecraft in "cycler" orbits between the two planets and they just keep going and going without any additional thrust.

C'mon, this'd be a gimme for Congress: the GOP gets spaceflight and the Dems get green mass transit, plus building it would be a huge, money-sucking source of pork and patronage jobs. How could they not love it?

Oh, yeah, if the opposition might like it, they're each obliged to loathe it. I forgot just for a second.

All right, then, we'll find a better way -- Mr. Musk? Mr. Allen? Mr. Rutan? Mr. Bezos? Such an opportunity I've got for you!


Ken said...

All right, now let's work out a Cycler for Titan. All those lovely hydrocarbons lying around, waiting for a tanker....

Then James Howard Kunstler's (hawk ptooey) head-in-a-jar can rail about the strip malls on Ceres in the 412th edition of The Geography of Nowhere, while my grandchildren are wildcatting Titan and looking speculatively at Barnard or somewhere.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Nice Idea, but if the Gooberment does it, you'll need Exact Change just to get on the Bus.

Rob K said...

The problem I see with space exploration so far is that the only real economic motivation is cool points-- "I stood on the moon! Ain't that cool?"

There's no real long term profit from being there yet. When you can get an extra 3-7% ROI by mining somethingium on the moon instead of on Earth, we'll be there in short order. When people can substantially improve (by their own measures) their standard of living by going there and living there, we'll be there in short order.