[ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun May 20 13:44:27 UTC 2012

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
[mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
...Subject: Re: [ExI] De-Orbiting Gold

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. -- Anders Sandberg,

In addition, if you go the aero-braking route, you still need some sort of
propulsion method to do the final deceleration, if you want that sphere of
gold to land in some particular location, rather than in the sea somewhere.
If propulsion, you need some kind of thrust vector control and a
stabilization system, such as a gyro and a power source to run it, and a
guidance system, and it wouldn't be at all easy to do.  It could be done,
but you wouldn't go up and get gold on orbit probably, not with currently
existing technology.

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