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Planetary bombardments, past and future: Third dispatch from the annual planets meeting

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Asteroid ApophisFAJARDO, Puerto Rico—A fascinating idea came up in an informal chat I had yesterday with asteroid expert Erik Asphaug of the University of California, Santa Cruz. The early solar system was a veritable shooting gallery. Our moon is thought to have formed when a Mars-size body hit Earth and threw out a cloud of debris that coalesced in orbit around our young planet. In his talk Monday at the annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting here, Asphaug reported that the incoming body had to hit at a fairly low velocity. Any faster, and the debris would have scattered into interplanetary space. In that case, whatever body coalesced would not have been a moon, but a planet in its own right. Riffing on his talk, Asphaug has a provocative answer for one of my favorite questions in planetary science: Why doesn’t Venus have a moon? How did it manage to dodge all the bullets flying around the early solar system? Asphaug suggests that maybe it didn’t. Maybe Venus got hit worse than we did, so that a planet rather than a moon was the outcome.

And where is that planet now? Maybe Mercury is it. Others, too, have proposed that Mercury formed from a collision on the early Venus or even a second giant impact on Earth.

Speaking of collisions, scientists here have offered both bad news and good news about how likely we are to get pummeled by an asteroid. Yesterday morning, Renu Malhotra of the University of Arizona looked to lunar craters for clues to the impact risk. In 2003, researchers using data obtained by the Clementine spacecraft in 1994 discovered a peculiar fact about craters on the moon: the youngest, whose bright debris deposits give them away, are not scattered uniformly over the surface. Rather, they cluster on the leading hemisphere—that is, the side that points in the direction the moon is moving in its orbit around Earth. If you go out and look at the moon, it orbits toward your east, and there are 70 percent more young craters on the east side than on the west. At first blush, this sounds unsurprising: moving through the solar system is like driving in a hailstorm, and you’d expect more hail to hit your windshield than your rear window.

But it’s not so simple. Malhotra and her colleague Takashi Ito of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan ran computer simulations using the known population of near-Earth asteroids and estimated there should be only a 30 percent difference in the collision rate. Their conclusion: other asteroids are lurking out there. "We have to consider the intriguing possibility there’s an unseen population of low-velocity impactors," Malhotra says. And if those bodies pelt the moon, Earth is in trouble, too.

The following talk, by Malhotra’s graduate student David Minton, offered a happier thought. He focused on asteroids of the size that took down the dinosaurs and would do the same to us. In his simulations, the planets’ gravitational influences remove these bodies from the asteroid belt early on, leaving fairly few to pose a risk to us today. Dinosaur-killers should strike only once every billion years, much less often than the usual estimate of every 100 million years. During the comments period after Minton’s talk, Bill Hartmann of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., said that Martian cratering indeed shows signs of having slowed down over time.

Impact expert Alan Harris of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., was skeptical about both of these talks. He says that the 100-million-year rate is estimated directly from the observed number of such bodies. "What you see is what you get," he remarks. As for the lunar-cratering asymmetry, Harris says that fresh craters are hard to identify and that the discrepancy Malhotra sees is well within the noise.

More good news/bad news about asteroids came today. Steve Chesley of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and David Tholen of the University of Hawaii presented updated estimates about the most significant specific threat to our planet: that the asteroid 99942 Apophis will strike in the year 2036. This 200-meter-wide asteroid will come distressingly close on April 13, 2029—within just 39,000 kilometers—but the orbital uncertainties for that date are very low and scientists have ruled out a collision then. They are less sure about 2036. The asteroid can hit if its trajectory is just right—specifically, if its 2029 near miss brings it within 600 meters of a certain location in space that astronomers call the "keyhole." Data released yesterday reduce the chance of that from 1 in 45,000 to 1 in 250,000.

The bad news is that there’s now a chance of a collision in 2068. That collision, too, would require Apophis to pass through a keyhole in 2029—and Chesley reports that the asteroid is aimed straight for it. The saving grace is that the keyhole is just two meters wide, so the probability of a collision is less than one in a million. Clearly, though, we’d better keep an eye on this beast. Scientists plan to ping it with the Goldstone planetary radar in 2012 and the Arecibo Observatory radar in 2013.

Moreover, Harris told the meeting that asteroid surveys have so far found only 40 percent of the estimated population of Apophis-size bodies. Eventually scientists should have a complete census of civilization-killing asteroids. Unfortunately, that leaves smaller ones that could still take out a country or city. Harris says it’s much more probable that a 25-meter asteroid will hit next week than some unknown Apophis-size asteroid will hit later this century. "It’s 10 times more likely that an unknown asteroid will slam into us from behind while you’re looking at Apophis," he reports.

From carbon planets to the lakes of Titan: Dispatch from the annual planets meeting
What caused Saturn to lurch? Second dispatch from the annual planets meeting

Image of asteroid Apophis (circled): UH/IA

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  1. 1. Michael Hanlon 5:14 am 10/19/2009

    Thank you jack. That is a good site. For all, it is the gravity tractor site of Rusty Schweichert (hope I got that right- I’ve got a good excuse though if I didn’t – I’ve taken some Ambien and am writing this in my coma/sleep = pre-existing medical, so can’t blame me). I wrote them a letter and I explained some points expressed here. I took the side of a debate which hasn’t but should have, taken place. The topic of the debate would be Asteroids: danger to Earth? Of course all the sides so far have been yes blow it up or push it away. I made our point that perhaps there are reasons to answer that question with a response of "No, they may be beneficial(if handled correctly) it is that correct method we discuss here.
    jack get in touch with me somehow. you could try going through Covey. The reply here blue link below doesn’t actually link to anywhere but the comment field. If I’m wrong on that point,damn Ambien, or someone lecture us on linking through that portal. Thanx snorxxkle, wheeeze- snorxxxkle wheeeeze fbrappp. huh? where amI? what amI doing at the computer? ohno I didn’t go there again did I?

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  2. 2. Michael Hanlon 11:25 pm 10/19/2009

    During my contemplation of the schedule of a lazy eight orbit, I realized that the Moon moves! DUH! So, when leaving the moon to head for the L1 point, one must lead the target and shoot for where the L1 will be in some number of days time. It still works but will melt everyone’s slipstick doing the math. A more intuitive variation on the theme came to mind. To explain we must consider the N&S poles of both the Earth (E) and Moon (M).Start at M’sN, head for the E’sS through where the L1 will be in~~3days. At the L1 we go toward the E’s south for only as much as needed to boost (sling) up again to the L! which is now traveled around to the E’s far side and up to the M’s N.full sling around the M exiting its S back at E, this time over its N pole!,over, sling L1 and back to the M’sS. Total trip time :28 days. each moon leg 14 days: 7 out to the moon , 7 days back . About the schedule supported by the Apollo missions. So that’s each trip: twice to the moon, once to Earth’s south pole, once to earth’s north pole and 4!!!(four!!!) times through the L! point. Now when I attempt to display the orbit using the keys I have available to me, in an emoticon fashion, the orbit is thus: <xox> OOOO, a Hugs and Kisses orbit, how sweet! And if we have the Moon encounters when the moon is ahead and behind us, the rock will keep one side to the sun acting as a gamma shield. All the other scenarios I think require the rotation of the rock to keep it darksided. This whole thing is getting prettier and prettier every day. Hugs and Kisses all.

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  3. 3. Michael Hanlon 11:36 pm 10/19/2009

    Remembering the good old days when we learned Vacuum tube technology and first got to play with signal generators and oscilloscpes there was a pattern we could make beating two sine waves against each other. When the phases were properly set you formed a "Lissajous" pattern that looked like our lazy eight. I’m sure that there is also a pattern which would present itself for the new shape. Anyone? Hugs and Kisses is cutesy. . Whatever we call it doubling the number of trips through the L1 point will only make it that much more commercially appealing and heighten interest in constructing a station there.

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  4. 4. jack.123 2:24 am 10/20/2009

    I not sure but don’t the Soviets still use vacuum tube techonolgy in their spacecraft,more relieable I hear,still used in music,smoother more honest sound ,there is something to be said about non digitized media.This another subject I wish I knew a lot more about, eletronics old and new.there something about turning sound’s or sight’s in to waves and back again with no 0′s and 1′s,being able to repair something not just throwing it away, because there are no user servicable parts.reminds me of a story where pirates are boarding a starship with sliderules clenched in their teeth,by gone era,sorry havn’t been to Mr. C’s sight yet ,tring to find a job,havn’t found one yet,need to get back to work getting to fat.See if I can’t get there tomorrow

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  5. 5. Michael Hanlon 3:15 am 10/21/2009

    <xox> I copied this "train" of thought ffrom my entry at the Kuiper belt blog. I haven’t done any clipboard editing, so please forgive the mistakes, You know about that problem. <xox>
    Sorry to intrude again, but these issues seem to be closer to home than the Kuiper Zone. Everybody who can see a benefit if mankind had space faring capabilities, raise your hand. Good, I’m glad we can agree that if we had them, spaceships wouldn’t be a bad thing. So, we all do want to do it on the cheap so the buckaroos are available for other projects. Again, everyone agree? Good then I’m going to outline a way to get to that space faring capability.
    Think of those tumbling bits of space jetsam, asteroids, as abandoned vessels, left by some previous sky crossing race. The power is gone, thelife support systems aren’t functioning and if there is any communication ability, it doesn’t reveal itself. Applying law of the sea, any abandoned vessel need only be occupied to claim ownership.
    Now a parallel posit. To succeed in space and to go other places, not just low Earth orbit, we’d need a hundred short haul tugs to support ten long rangers. Well where do we stand on that tote board? We’re lucky if we can count ten short haul vessels in our navy of the vacuum. If I told you that some already built long haulers were out there and just needed fueling to make them ours, wouldn’t you agree it would be well worth it, meet the previously stated requirements of proceding fiscally conservative, andjoin the plan to increase the Earth’s Flotilla?
    Those vessels are the rocks that are currently being catalogued. If we put thrusters on them, swing them through gravity wells and other rocket science ploys, we could use their mass to carry us places we couldn’t get to otherwise. What makes them different from a ship? They have no quarters/habitat? Strap them on! Need fuel? Maybe the right ones supply their own fuel! Not enough fuel to get back? Switch rocks out there and use the new one’s resources to come home!
    So the long haulers are mostly already built, we need to get to work on the 100 short haulers. <xox>

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  6. 6. Michael Hanlon 3:21 am 10/21/2009

    <xox> The following is a copy of a virtual debate point I tried to convince the B612 Foundation with <xox>
    Near Earth Asteroids: Danger? Yes as far as all the previous discussions have gone. And to that end, with the approval of Hollywood, all the solutions have taken the form of either BOOM or PUSH. Well those are responses to an incomplete answer. The real answer to the question proposed above should be yes and no!!
    Since the ‘no’ response has never been defended before, allow me if you please. I will try to persuade you that there is something to be gained if you push an asteroid to the Earth. If you are sure you can push an object to where you’d like it to go and if that where you’d like it to go was the L3 point of the Earth/Moon Lagrange system, the object could be sent through a window which would head it at the E/M L1 pt. From there it would head out and around the moon, getting a litle sling energy to get it back with some small v to pass it thru the L1 point again. Back at the Earth for a polar insertion at a slight tilt to account for precessing of the moon’s orbital position, picking up sling energy again to climb up out of Earth’s g well to the L1 point where we could be waiting to hop on Hobo style and hitch a ride out to the moon..And around again like a real train system. The asteroid and its Mass being our locomotive.. In my proposals of this "Lazy Eight" orbit path, for some reasons I believe that an equatorial path is imaged but I believe that the trans-polar route is the best one. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be lucky enough to have two rocks to ride, one in each plane.
    We would be able to harvest materials, some knowledge of the solar system origins and get a transport system thrown in for good measure. A habitat could be attached for the vehicle’s engineer, crew and passengers. Small thrusters could be added to effect rotations away from the sun in the event of solar storms. To get to the Moon we would only have to boost approximately half way, the rest of the ride: courtesy of our captured, broken bronco. So, I hope to have installed the seeds for this harvest effort, let us reap the crops of our bountiful heavens. Not blow them up or push them away like some ugly cousin. Embrace and learn and bequeath something of value to future generations. (Beside, I need your help. I’ve promised to carve on the side of the locomotive, the names of the first ten to submit viable candidates for the harvest)
    I hope I have presented my viewpoint in at least some semblance of competency and I thank you for your considered opinion, MTH. Much of what I have presented has come from the Scientiic American Magazines Observations Blogs: "Planetary Bombardment…" by Mr. Musser, if you’d care to be exposed to some other ‘capture scenarios’. I feel loop-d-loop is most benefical.

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  7. 7. Michael Hanlon 3:28 am 10/21/2009

    <xox> The following is a copy of a letter I have been trying to get to the Advanced Concepts team at ESA ( The address which comes from their pages from links through here keep getting reflected! Any help in sending an email to a dot int site? <xox>
    . A few of us have been Posting exchanges at the Scientific American Magazine site of Blogs-, Observations-, "Planetary Bombardment… " by Mr Musser. The topic of the discussion is an attempt to ‘capture’ the asteroid 99942 Apophis. We agree that it can be gotten in 2029 when that near miss occurs. We think that easy means can be employed to lengthen its orbital period by 40 days by then so it’s velocity should be the same as Earth’s. It should come to us through the Lagrange L3 point behind the Earth away from the moon. At L3 it would be easy to add delta x’s and delta y’s to head it toward the L1 point and on through to a sling insertion point at the Moon. The ‘sling’ being to bring it back around through the L1 point and on to a ‘sling’ around the Earth, back thru L1, the Moon, L1, the Earth, L1, the moon. A classic "lazy eight" orbit shape. The solution to a three body celestial mechanics question when dealing with masses which have a decreasing mass proportionally in size (Big one Circled by Middle sized mass{Earth/Moon System} and the smallest mass circles both)
    Well, the best laid plans of mice and men ‘oft ga astray’. While running the orbit projection applet at jpl’s NEO database, I noticed that the asteroid has a three day close encounter with our cousin planet, Venus during the last week of February and the first week of March in 2016. Surely. I thought that such an event would effect the asteroids path and asked JPL if that were so. They told me to pay attention to the disclaimer at the applet site!!! God, I wasn’t asking them for a vision test. I was inquiring if that meeting with the second planet did have any effect on the path and it just wasn’t showing? This to us at the roundtable talk is a major concern. If indeed the orbit needs correcting, then it won’t be where we expect it to be in the end of May 2029 (remember, we’ve added forty days to its year so the conjunction will come that much later, not April 13). JPL says their "risk assessment" figures are still okay! I didn’t ask them to correct those figures for the twentieth time (Thank you German Kid) I just want to know if that L3 encounter is still on our drawing board?
    So, I figures why not ask you guys and gals to add to the project. Imagine the answers we can get to questions about our solar system’s origins if we actually had a primeordial pie to study. Think of all the energy saved not having to boost that amount of material up out of Earth’s gravity well. The thing is supposed to be 70% water so why look for it at the moon when we’d know for sure it will be at L1 every 14 days or so? It could also be used to piggyback personnel, supplies and equipment out to the moon like an express train. It is a wonderful opportunity to harvest the crop of our heavens and benefit man and conribute to the betterment of all mankind. The Synergistic effect of having the resources and knowing we have the skill can only encourage future generations to try to exceed that feat. And that’s a good thing.
    Any input would be welcome and I hope I’ve planted the seed for a few conversions to this idea. Thank you,

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  8. 8. jack.123 10:57 am 10/21/2009

    Michael, pieces of land on the Moon are sold every day,don’t recall the name of the company,and it hasn’t been tested in court yet,but you could do the same with Apophis.Set up a corporation ,and lay a claim for rights to mine ,at the least it should get somebody who’s greedy wanting in.You could get a land rush going,there’s gold them hills just waiting for who ever gets there first,and water in orbit is worth more than it’s weight in gold.This is what setteled the west ,and you need, like you said a railroad to get there.Hopefully the race is on.

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  9. 9. Michael Hanlon 9:37 pm 10/21/2009

    jack.123 have you read my inputs to this month’s story about "Quantum effects could cause black stars and not black holes"? I don’t think it will be there much longer, so catch it if you can. If any of what I postulate is accepted as plausible, then Astrophysics and Cosmology will have been reset by fifty years. Ever since Steven Hawking said "black holes merge" thing are run amiss, methinks. Several Physicists I’ve spoken to almost as much as admitted they wouldn’t change their opinion because they have "grant money" riding on the wrong perception.

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  10. 10. Michael Hanlon 10:12 pm 10/24/2009

    <xox> I have made a rough model of this orbit using some Cu condutor and yes from the side it looks like two lazy eights superimposed on each other at the Earth loop. That would be the view from the Sun/Earth L2 point looking equatorially while the moon is directly forward and directly behind (14 days apart). I wanted to get my lighting to illuminate the wire a little better against the plywood background I was using, and lo and behold, swinging upwards from that plane by forty-five degrees revealed that the orbit shape is a flattened circle an Ellipse. As wide apart as the L1 points are at that angle ~~14 days apart at the moon straight through the Earth well (interesting observation, the sun side or daytime passage is in the southern hemisphere and the night passage is through the northern hemisphere.)
    .Remember that bit about straight through the Earth well is actually when viewed equatorially or polarly bent through about 90 degrees of the well wall. It only appears straight. It is, Ithink another presentation of the idea of the great circle arch that planes fly. The straightest way between two points is a curve.
    .The fastest velocity in this orbit is when it is closest to the Earth so, it should take some good portion of a day to traverse those 90 degrees, letting the whole northern part of the world see it go by each month. If not, we can shift the continents around so everyone gets a peek.<xox>

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  11. 11. jack.123 6:33 am 10/25/2009

    Michael-I don’t understand how Apophis catch’s up to the the Moon with each passing orbit.Where does the energy come from ?Went and saw nebula.Was this the cause of a nova or the BH’s,the chicken or the egg?Has someone sent a letter to the President of the U.S. explaning how important capturing Apopohis is?

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  12. 12. Michael Hanlon 9:54 pm 10/25/2009

    jack.123 where to start? this should be last but I make it first. Stephen covey has added a new blog subject (2 actually) on his ramblings on the future of humanity site.
    . Energy? To catch up to the Moon? The rock to first take this path will not be Apophis. In fact it may be best if we push Apophis into a ‘Horseshoe’ orbit keeping it away from Earth for a Looong time. If it enters this system and we have estabkished a freight orbit using other captured asteroids, it could upset the balance. I stray. Energy- as the rock goes behind the moon it has its maximum moon side velocity (v). when it exserts (as opposed to inserts) toward L1, it sheds speed crossing with its slowest v. As it falls toward the earth, it picks up v due to acceleration from gravity. At earth, it will have its maximum overall v and start its exsertion toward the L1 point again, this time on the other side of the earth, 14 days later. It needs this higher v because it sheds it as it climbs the farther distance to L1 than the distance was from the moon. It stiil is never approaching the v the moon has in its orbit. We’re cutting across the earth to cut distance and have a lower v we could stay with the moon but we;d have to boost the rock to a v which equals the moons.
    From that vantage where I said the lazy eight doubled [<xox>] 45degs above the equatorial plane, If you sat there for two months and watched the rock you would see it trace an ellipse twice (next to a circle, an ellipse is the most stable orbit shape)Its apparent velocity would change as it traversed the track fast, slow, fastest, slow, fast, slow, fastest, slow, fast, slow, fastest, slow, fast, slow, fastest, slow and fast again completing two orbits of the earth. The Sun does enter the equation, but extra v’s can be added with closer slings or v’s taken away with wider passes at the moon or through the Earth’s g well.
    At stephen’s site he is addressing the habitat issue. Your netting may be needed there jack.123
    Eventually, if we can tractor (see B612 Foundation) enough rocks into place at first the order of filling the track of <xox> would bemoon polarnorth and minutes later moon polar south, followed by moon equatorial east a few minutes later and then in a few more minutes, moon equatorial west.Those four rocks combined could carry tons and tons of material for us from the moon to Earth or reverse, greatly increasing the probability of sucessful commerce in space.
    So, the L1 has a toroidal volume of space around it where facilities can themselves orbit (it’s one of the quirks of Lagrae

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  13. 13. Michael Hanlon 10:20 pm 10/25/2009

    Dang verbage limit and I understand the need for it.
    The L1 point is that, a point in space. If we are to be moving large masses through it, that point should be two dimensional (see Galaxy_man, two dimensions are applicable here) and it should be a disk. An acceptable radius for that circle would be 2 kilometers. That would allow some hefty sized asteroids to pass through. I claim the rest of the toroidal space from that two kilometers out to twelve kilometeers. The cross section of my torus will have as its radius, five kilometers.See now we get to the legalize it part of the agenda jack.123. I’ll have to send a special delivery registered mail message to the UN making my claim to that volume of space. Part of that claim is as I’ve stated, the track of the orbit through the L1 point should be considered humanity’s property. By accepting my claim around it, the validity of the L1 common ownership is established. Someone want to beat my letter who lives in NY city go ahead outrush (as in land rush only this time it’s space rush) me to the claim. Anything, we need the lazy eight orbit clearly owned and clearly defined as being a tube with its cross-section radius being two kilometers as being common infrastucture property. No satallites allowed. This entire weB-LOG should be accepted as evidence of the claim. Now if someone wants to rent L1 area space from me, my terms will be reasonable.

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  14. 14. jack.123 8:03 am 10/26/2009

    Michael- The area you speak of ,through which the rocks are passing would huge,and changing all the time.One would have the orbit of the rocks, and follow Earth’s orbit around the Sun,the Sun’s orbit around the Galaxy,and so forth and so on,it would require a whole new kind of law, that was always in motion,making claim’s for positions in space that have not been reached yet, Congress should love it.I now understand where the extra energy comes from, you just borrow it.

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  15. 15. Michael Hanlon 12:52 am 10/27/2009

    The L1 Disk would indeed define a cylinder as it continually followed along with the Moon as it orbits the Earth. The Volume of space I claim would surround that cylinder 10 kilometers above and again below the cylinder. Also, it entails space 5 kilometers in front and again 5 kilometers behind. I’ve drawn my line in the nothingness of space. Something could be there when L1 isn’t but when the L1 point comes around, it better move or pay rent. Ha Ha.
    It’s all an exchange of kinetic and potential energies, much like a roller coaster ride (I hope they’re reading from the Branson blog site), You set the tops of the up side just enough so that when you swing down you’ve got enough momentum to carry you to the top of the next hill (the L1 crossings). If extra energy is needed, a couple of options exist. Bring fuel to it. Make its own fuel (a steam Jet would be nice,solar powered, thrust easily calculated by the amount of mass of water turned to steam) Or you could reduce the Mass so the velocity carries you farther.and if you shed in the right direction (not forward or backward= spitting into the wind, you’d eventually catch up to it or it to you, Hmm, that may not be a bad idea){yah, borrow the energy from youself! And have a brake system always around if needed]] <xox>

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  16. 16. Michael Hanlon 11:21 pm 10/28/2009

    An interesting quirk of the <xox> orbit is that it scheles out perfectly. L1 to L1, seven days, L1to L1, seven days, L1 to L1, seven days and finally, L1to L1, sevendays.Ee to partially circle the Moon is shorter than the leg of the trip curving through 90 degrees of near Earth, the times are the same. The difference in Velocities achieved due to the different gravities accounts for it. People would be setting their atomic clocks by the regularity of the orbit segments. And if you can’t encourage commerce with a fixed schedule…

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  17. 17. Michael Hanlon 10:43 pm 10/29/2009

    scheles = schedules. Ee= The distance.
    .The b612 Foundation reponded with a nice idea on the orbit statement but has reservations that the velocity of NEO’s is way too high for insertion. Jack.123 and others:
    .Anything orbiting the Sun at the radius that the Earth has (1 AU) unless outfitted with thrusters and an independent Acceleration source will have the same orbital velocity as the Earth. Eccentricities of orbit shape account for varying velocities. But get a rock to 1.0AU and it goes just as fast, and no faster nor no slower than the Earth.
    Jack.123, you wondered about the energy for the orbital maintenance. When the rock falls toward either the Earth or the Moon Gravity gives it a change in velocity due to acceleration. So, pick the right distance to swing around the moon or through nearer Earth and you keep on adding the energy you need by building the velocity through the falling . Going too fast? take a wider swing. Going too slow? dive in deeper. After a few "ringing" orbits the perfect, continually reboosting pathway should be set and it’ll just keep on tickin’.
    The TRICK (how appropriate a word for this season, Happy Halloween, all) is getting it to rondezvous with either the Earth/Moon L3 or, preferably, the L2 point when it is closest to the forward or behind (Half Moon) position and swing it in for its first bend to the E/M l1 point. To accomplish this, delaying or accelerating (time-wise) may be required and it is that peculiar nature of orbit radius/velocity connection that can be taken advantage of. Slowly moving the rock in or out of 1AU and eventually intersecting the periods and place at L2. Drop it at the Moon so it bends to L1……<xox> has begun!

    If some government would like to take it upon themselves to make a test run (with thrusters on board but idle) I think the concept will prove itself. This would mean coming into the loop from the inside and other calculus needs figuring but it can de demonstrated. Now if we can just resist the impulse to hurtle and crash nto the moon…<xox>

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  18. 18. jack.123 11:45 pm 10/29/2009

    Still looking for water?How would they know,after the crash, if it came from Apophis or the Moon?The Soviet’s new nuclear space craft could be tested by making a trip to Apophis, landing,and connecting to it,and answering many questions,early enough to make a differance,since it appears Nasa has no interest,other than getting rid of it.

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  19. 19. Michael Hanlon 1:24 am 10/30/2009

    Perhaps the LCROSS would have been more fortuitously used had it been sent into a <xox> orbit? And it could still have been directed for a hit later. The first choice for <xox> is a translunar pole insertion. Either direction would work, North or South. What a waste if no data comes of the LCROSS impact. My way would have given us data on both questions, (Water on Moon and Is <xox> stable).

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  20. 20. jack.123 8:48 am 11/2/2009

    Michael-Did you read that the President of the U.S. is concidering a manned mission to an asteroid,now all that needs to be done is to convince him to go to Apophis!!!Jumping on it,during one of the closer passes would be just the ticket!!!Taking what’s needed with them,they could dig in,and have years to capture it,with new crews ariving,and going home every year or so.Dragging the fuel they need for the trips,back to Earth.Sure there are some problems to solve,but the next great leap for mankind is before us,I hope we don’t miss it.

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  21. 21. Michael Hanlon 12:20 am 11/3/2009

    I did not see that jack.123. Where did you learn this wonderful news?
    . Apophis is on the boards because it may hit the Earth thirty years from now (after getting an orbito-plasty from the Earth in twenty) Please keep in mind that there are over 6,000 NEO’s to choose from. Many come sooner, many are larger, and some have not been mentioned because they’ll never run into us! Those are the candidates to choose our first victim from. I intend to request that JPL includes a column or five actually (for the Lagrange Points) and have them calculate proximity to L-pts to help determine which will be a combination of Mass and nearness. Those L- pts data are crucial cause even if a rock isn’t going to hit us, if it passes through a L-point, well, there it is the easiest place to perform maneuvering efforts to it. And we know if we get the right one and maneuver it from a L-pt it ends up <xox>

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  22. 22. jack.123 3:01 am 11/3/2009

    Michael-Source, telegraph ( .Don’t know how reliable this is, story was short,still looking for more information about it,had seen other stories of same group of the President’s men ending some Nasa programs,with the money to be spent eleswhere,don’t recall the source on this,think it was Discovey.Perhapts Nasa would know more about this?Maybe someone has been reading the debate, of the subject, of capturing Apophis, although only three of us are talking about it.Be nice if other’s would join in.

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  23. 23. jack.123 3:58 am 11/3/2009

    Michael-when going to telegraph site input asteroid in search,many stories to be found there.Someone with far more influance than I should send letter to Norman Augistine,the President’s lead man on the subject.Sorry don’t have his address.

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  24. 24. jack.123 4:15 am 11/3/2009

    Michael-Go to (Scintific American|New telescope opens its eyes).Give me some feedback on an idea I have had for some fourty years ,also this telescope could helpfull for detecting NEO’s if ther’s ever any down time to look for them.

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  25. 25. Michael Hanlon 11:34 pm 11/3/2009

    jack.123, I wrote an open letter to the president at the failed Ares-1X Parachute Blog. Feel free to copy and paste it if you’d like to.

    So, nowbeyond the Boom or push away reactions to NEOs, I think we have added the Tactica of push to <xox>, just <xo, atour of the l2,4+5 pts and a push to a horseshoe orbit, assuring it stays away for hundreds of years. This is progress. As you count us, we need more to fally round those possibilities I’ve just stated.
    . We dodn’t ask for money. We ask only that a little more thought go into any decision which effects the future of billions of people and several generations to come when arriving at asteroid strategies.

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  26. 26. jack.123 2:05 am 11/4/2009

    Michael-Thank you for sending your letter.Not sure what your Tactica referance means?Its funny that fan clubs for something not real, like a movie,can have so many followers.Maybe Apophis needs a movie made about,if 2012 can gather such a following,maybe it can as well.

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  27. 27. Michael Hanlon 1:33 am 11/5/2009

    jack.123, I only have poor vision in one eye. The other has none. That means I have no depth perception (though I see deeply into some things). The Tactica of which you are curious was merely my mis-pointing of my left pinky at the ‘s’ key and hitting the ‘a’ by mistake. I apologize. If you recall I have apologized many times for your inability to make me do things perfectly. So, if you’d clean up your act, stop visiting that medical Marihoochie blog site, maybe apologies will be unnecessary, by then you’d be able to read my mind.
    .One has to admit though, Tactica has a nice ring to it.

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  28. 28. jack.123 2:00 am 11/5/2009

    Michael-There is a lot of stuff going on at the Tactica sites,but none of it is real, with all the battles going on,imangine my surprize when I finally figured it out,but you are right about the red shift,it could be a problem,But here close by, real time communication between here, Mars and Apophis would be nice.

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  29. 29. Michael Hanlon 9:55 pm 11/5/2009

    I went Feedback on JPL and asked if they could provide the proximity data for NEOs to the L2,3,4,5 pts (I see no need to know if something comes to L1 because thar means we’ll already know it as approaching Earth and Moon). I explained that if we had a nearness factor which included Mass, say a harvest benefit co-efficient, it would make it easier to decide which one to attempt a grab at first. When an orchard grower sets the pickers loose on the apple trees, he usually imposes quality guidelines on what is to be picked, giving his harvest a higher relative value.

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  30. 30. Michael Hanlon 2:13 am 11/11/2009

    If anyone is even visiting this site anymore (hi jack.123), hello and here’s a new idea. The rail gun idea has been gnawing at the incomplete idea part of my brain. Lately the guns are talked about shooting ferro-magnetic projectiles using sequenced N + S poles. My recollection of the early versions of the system may have been more usable and viable today. The design was to have a re=usable sled that reacted to the mag field and carried the object along with it until a certain point was reached and they separated. So. I was rehashing that system in my mind and it cross-referenced itself with the <xox> orbit!!
    .If we used our captured, controlled orbit rock as a sled, the system could act as a quasi-rail gun system (a gravity gun!!). We hang something on and as the combined thing/rock fell into either the Moon’s or the Earth’s ‘g’ well, gaining velocity until it was to a certain predetermined point (like the sled/projectile) and then separated, we could also be using <xox> as a 1st stage for interplanetary launches. Every 28 days a launch window at medium v’s straight ahead of the Moon. Seven days later, a high velocity launch window aft of the Earth. 7 more days and a window aft of the Moon. 7 days again and a high velocity window ahead of the Earth Those four launch windows at twelve window sets per year gets us the chance to shoot for almost anywhere in the solar system we want to head for with the first boost free of charge!

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  31. 31. jack.123 2:36 am 11/11/2009

    Michael-Yes it would work,you could also use it as a method of changing the direction of a asteroid,for every action there’s a reaction, with the rocks being thrown off being aimed for a for Earth orbit,early fuel for further capture operations,and other things.

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  32. 32. Michael Hanlon 8:12 pm 11/11/2009

    Yes, if we had our <xox> gun we could use it to assist in the harvest process. Just as long as we keep it pointed away from us. Another aspect of it is that when coming out of the L1 point if we knew we were to be altering our mass somewhere along the path, we could pick a different slingpath to account for it. Once the launch has been made, things go back to <xox>.

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  33. 33. jack.123 1:25 pm 11/13/2009

    Michael-11-13-09 Nasa announced that water has been found as a result of the Lcross mission,thought you would like to know.

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  34. 34. Michael Hanlon 10:34 pm 11/13/2009

    Another way to help visualize the <xox> orbit is to think of the positions of where the L1 point will be on sucessive 7 day intervals. The points will define a square in space with the Earth at it’s center .(The L-points defining the corners of the square) . Two of the square sides will run parallel to a tangent line to the Earth’s orbit path, one to the Sun side and the other opposite from it through the Earth. The other two sides will be bi-sected by that same tangent line with the moon being almost centered on that line fore and aft outside the square’s area.

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  35. 35. Michael Hanlon 1:42 pm 11/18/2009

    And the corners of the square are the obit/L1 intersection points

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  36. 36. Michael Hanlon 4:46 am 11/28/2009

    I mde boo-boo. The L1 intercept pts are the corner of a rectangle. When the two main masses are the same size, a square is formed. With the szable difference of Earth/Moon masses, the intercepst are an elongated rectagle. This also means I messed up on my timetable. The swing around the Moon section wouldn’t take 7 days but more like 4. Two from L1 to the far side and two from the far side back through L!.

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  37. 37. Michael Hanlon 3:32 am 12/18/2009

    Over at (?) plasma blackout during re-entry (search plasma blackout) A problem that will exist on the next generation manned space vehicle, Orion, is being discussed. One of the lead scientists has even joined the conversation. It’s like an online brainstorm session. He is looking for ways which will allow communication through the dense hypersonic plasma flow surrounding a returning space vehicle. Come on over and share ideas.

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  38. 38. Michael Hanlon 1:51 am 01/1/2010

    Yesterday in this venue, it was reported that the Russians are interested in moving 99924 Apophis from it’s current orbit! They have the heavy lifter expertise to launch an asteroid tug vessel. One space agency on board, three to go (USA, ESA and China) Happy New year and what a wonderful one it will be as the pieces fall into place. (See SciAm Observations 12-31-09 Russian Vague …)

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  39. 39. jack.123 4:57 am 01/1/2010

    Michael-Does the Russian heavy lifter have the same problem of punching a hole in the upper atmosphere that the Saturn 5 had in its last form when it put Skylab in orbit?But it shouldn’t be a problem if it used but a few times.

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  40. 40. Michael Hanlon 10:05 pm 01/3/2010

    Here’s an intermidiate step for the <xox> scheme to function more within the range of human endurance.
    Place a Magnetic Rail Launcher in orbit, both around the Earth and around the Moon.Use chemical boost to reach the altitudes of the ‘guns’. Use Solar to power the Rails. Use the rails to boost payloads up to the velocity of the passing rock. From the shallowness of an orbital level gravity well, the amount of acceleration to go from rail orbital speed up to rock orbital speed should be low. An added benefit is that the rails can also be used as ‘Catchers’ to intercept a rock separated payload at both ends. Just reverse the current flow direction and pulse sequencing and the rail acts as a ‘Stopper’ too. (sorry jack.123, at this stage no rails needed on the rock (but maybe later perhaps).
    So, now the cost of getting to the moon, once the infrastructure is in place is just about what Branson is using for Virgin Galactic. Next to nothing versus what NASA charges.

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  41. 41. Michael Hanlon 5:25 pm 01/11/2010

    Two months now and no response from JPL on the impact of 99942 Apophis’ approach to Venus in a few years. I don’t see why they don’t do it because it more than likely would mean it coming nowhere near Earth in 2029.

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  42. 42. jack.123 4:50 am 01/12/2010

    Michael-If Apophis does come close to us?Speaking of gravity wells.I was wondering where the Moon is during the close passes of Apophis in 2029,2036,and what effect that might have on its path?

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  43. 43. Michael Hanlon 1:07 am 01/17/2010

    jack.123, remember the adjustment made to the prediction (risk assessment) for the 30′s done due to the German kid’s consideration that in 2029 99942Apophis will pass through our zone of stationary satellites? Those possible encounters with such small masses demanded the rethinking. The position of the moon has been well accounted for.
    If, however, we garnish a wage stipend from the heavens for having bombarded us so many times in the past by taking an asteroid into an <xox> orbit, then that or those objects will require that a recalc be performed.

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  44. 44. jack.123 3:39 am 01/17/2010

    Have the Russians said any more about Apophis?I have seen little response from other nations about this,I wonder if someone like Hilton or Trump would like to place a hotel there once it has been captured?

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  45. 45. Michael Hanlon 4:36 am 01/19/2010

    There have been cryptic ?non-java? input attempts at stephen Covey’s Ramblings on the future of humanity blog site (just yahoo search on that title and it’ll come up a hit for the link. I have made a connection to a friend in the UK who got access to the ESA site and forwarded a message for me the other day. Am awaiting replies on that front. Jack.123, I wish I had a link or email to contact you or contact me at and I will pass on info about a Chicago conference Steve alerted me to. Or I’ll post it here tomorrow. Strike that. I got a second net window open and copied the link::

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  46. 46. Michael Hanlon 1:15 am 01/27/2010

    And now we find out that the US budget to contribute to the search for NEOs is only $4million!

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  47. 47. jack.123 11:55 am 01/27/2010

    Michael-It amazing with all the money being wasted on other things,that something so important to the defense of nation our is being overlooked.I had thought the obtaining rare elements was very important to the military.Thats strange when just a few of the small NEOs if captured,would provide what we need for years to come.Plus it would be great to practice on the little ones while preparing for the bigger ones,but that would do little good if we don’t see them coming.I had my couputer crash and lost all my links to most of the sites we had been disussing.You had said in the past that you wanted too figure out a way too exchange email adresses and you could send me some of the links that way,or just post some of the links here.I not sure but didn’t Stephen Covey have a phone number?Maybe that is a way we could get in touch,and I was wondering how your research on magnetrons was going?Still looking for a way through the plasma?I was wondering do plasma’s have a wave function,perhapts there would be a way to cancel the plasma’s wave briefly so a message could get through?Have you heard any more about what the Russians plans are for Apophis?

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  48. 48. Michael Hanlon 3:14 am 01/31/2010

    Sorry to hear about the porno viruses taking out your Processor (just kidding) Most of the links we’ve discussed are still available through wikipedia, Nasa’s site (thru them JPL) and Stephen’s.
    A nice one was
    for a lot of equations
    There was the b612 foundation for the space gravity tug

    And now some news on getting to orbit. I believe the force to delta x craft to space can be drawn fron… well, go to stephen’s rambling blog to read about it. It is based on Ancient Greek Technology!
    Sorry for typos. I’m not checking this posting.

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  49. 49. jack.123 7:41 pm 02/28/2010

    Thanks Michael,getting Card’s books soon, their on the way,I will be reading them,and will respond at this sight when I am through .Haven’t heard anything new for awhile about Apophis how about you?That thing that happened on Jupiter,nobody knows what it was or whats next,but I think we should be watching closely,if it was a comet there should be more pieces,and we should be able to see those pieces unless their coming from the direction of the sun.And that’s not the only funny thing going on, how about that recent asteroid collision,Hubble took some pretty photo’s of it, and there’s that object that increased in brightness million’s fold some time ago.I haven’t heard about that for awhile,a connection maybe?If you heard or know anything about these things, please respond?

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  50. 50. jack.123 8:15 am 04/6/2010

    How ya doing Michael?Haven’t heard from you in awhile,read Cards book Enders Game.There wasn’t much about now reading Speaker For The Dead,hopefully there will more on the this second book.With us now knowing that plants use intanglement,its not a far streach that insects may be doing the same.IF your not to busy drop me a line?By the I finally found a job.

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