Su, Rodrick (rsu@tigana.com)
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 19:08:44 -0700


> -----Original Message-----
> From: -Z- [mailto:Z@Gundam.Com]
>
> Part of your confusion is that you are thinking linearly and
> space travel
> is a non-linear milieu. You don't travel in straight lines,
> but in arcs
> whose curve is determined by your acceleration, mass and those two
> ever-present gravity fields of Earth and Moon. (Luna-2, the former
> asteroid 3Juno, is too small to be significant and the
> colonies are orders
> of magnitude smaller still.)
>
> More importantly, distance is not a really a factor here.
> What's important
> is not how far away your destination is, but how much change
> in velocity
> (delta V) is required to move from your present orbit to that of your
> destination -- in other words, how much mass and energy you
> must expend to
> match orbits.
>
> If we'd been going to and from the Moon for the last 30
> years, instead of
> to and from Near Earth Orbit, you might already be thinking
> in these terms.
> Most of the fuel and energy expended in the Moon flights was
> expended in
> getting out of the Earth's gravity well and into Near Earth
> Orbit. Once
> you've done that, you're halfway to anywhere in the Solar
> System. You need
> only expend the mass and energy to change velocity (in the
> correct vector,
> of course) to match orbits with your destination. That and
> spend the time
> it takes to transit along the arc connecting the two orbits,
> which is NOT
> the straightline distance between the two points along those orbits.

Shouldn't how much fuel you are willing to burn be taken into consideration.
I mean, if you are truly in a hurry, and put your ship into constant burn
for 40% of fuel starting from L4 to L5 and blow out the rest of the fuel
near L5 for fast deceleration that should cut down on the transit time.
(Not the most comfortable or healthy way of traveling, but should be
faster).

-
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