[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold
anders at aleph.se
Sun May 20 10:12:21 UTC 2012
On 20/05/2012 07:15, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> 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.
As Spike pointed out, the big problem is that you still need delta-v to
change the orbit into an Earth-intersector. LEO orbital velocity is
around 7.8 km/s, so it is going to be a few km/s. Also, if you don't
like vaporised gold you need to reduce it to near zero in the end.
Aerobraking can deal with up to 3 km/s, so if you put your gold in a
wing with some automated control and give it some hefty parachute you
might be able to shave some km/s off.
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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