[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun May 20 06:52:59 UTC 2012

>... On Behalf Of Kelly Anderson
Subject: Re: [ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

>...Ok, so maybe I'm not a rocket scientist... but what would happen if you
had say a one meter diameter ball of solid gold, perhaps covered with a
three meter thick coating of copper (total 7 meters), and you just
decelerated it as much as possible and dropped it into the middle of the
Sahara Dessert. Ok, so you would have a huge hole, maybe a dead camel,
possibly a bit of a mess to clean up.. but why wouldn't something relatively
simple like that work? You make the copper thick enough and the reentry
wouldn't even heat the gold up.

>...This isn't the same as retrieving a sensitive satellite, it's a big dang
ball of gold... unhurt by being jostled around, crushed or even broken
apart, come on?!?

>...You would design the trajectory for the minimal speed of reentry as
possible, and the heating seems like it could be kept under control somehow.
What am I missing here?  -Kelly

Kelly in order to drop this device in a particular place, you need a lot of
delta V.  For the system you describe, I will do a calc in my head, the gold
sphere is about half a cubic meter, that's about 10 tons, and the copper is
about 400 cubic meters, that's another 4000 tons, so the mass of the fuel to
get a minimum delta V for a controlled reentry is enormous.  Then you take
into account this thing is going to create a huge crater and mostly vaporize
on impact.  Then the desert for some distance around will be have a slightly
elevated concentration of gold in it.

This particular scheme wouldn't work, but keep thinking, there might be some
way to get this done.  Not by dropping a huge ball with copper however.


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