Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Space Science

Interplanetary Superhighway 241

rotenberry writes "The current issue of Caltech's Engineering and Science magizine contains the article "Next Exit 0.5 Million Kilometers - A Caltech/JPL collaboration explores the 'Interplanetary Superhighway.'" which describes "...the Interplanetary Superhighway - 'a vast network of winding tunnels in space' that connects the sun, the planets, their moons, and a host of other destinations as well. But unlike the wormholes beloved of science-fiction writers, these things are real. In fact, they are already being used." However, it takes a very long time to get there."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Interplanetary Superhighway

Comments Filter:
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:06AM (#5465246) Journal
    Because all of these tunnels connect through Atlanta where there is a "change of plane".
  • by egg troll ( 515396 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:08AM (#5465259) Homepage Journal
    An Interplanetary highway, eh? Better head down to the pub, in a hurry!
  • by trmj ( 579410 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:08AM (#5465260) Journal
    ...getting the rights to the book title "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
  • by dreadknought ( 324674 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:09AM (#5465267)
    I wonder if this applies to the seven rules for spotting bogus science?
    • Bogus science? How about this?

      From the article:
      Ideally, a spacecraft at L4 or L5 will remain there indefinitely because when it falls off the cusp, the Coriolis effect--which makes it hard for you to walk on a moving merry-go-round--will swirl it into a long-lived orbit around that point.

      IIRC from physics classes, is the force making it hard to walk on a moving merry-go-round not the centripetal force?? I thought Coriolis was only a pseudo-force, not a real one.
      • by karlm ( 158591 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @03:13AM (#5465838) Homepage
        IIRC from physics classes, is the force making it hard to walk on a moving merry-go-round not the centripetal force?? I thought Coriolis was only a pseudo-force, not a real one.

        Ehh... you're 3/4 right. Centripetal force is real and coreolis force is "imaginary". Centripital force is force towards the center of rotation, keeping you from traveling in a streight line. Centripital force doesn't make it hard to walk on the merry-go-round; centripital force allows you to stay on the merry-go-round. You're thinking of the "imaginary" centrifugal force that appears to counter-act the centripital force you are applying with your feet.

        Centrifugal force and Coreolis force are both imaginary forces used as short hand for taking second time derrivatives (calclating accelerations) in rotating reference frames using polar coordinates . If you're spinning at a constant speed about the merry-go-round, you keep the same polar cooarinates when in fact, a lot of corce is acting on your body to keep it constantly changing direction at a fairly high rate. In the reference frame you ae always at rest, so you don't say that momentum change is balancing out the force you are using to keep yourself "still" in the rotating reference frame, you say that this imaginary "centrifugal" force is acting on you. The two statements are equivalent, but one is a technical gloss.

        Now suppose you try moving in relation to the rotating reference frame. You want to travel in a streight line in the polar coordinates. Well, since the frame of reference is rotating, a streight path in non-rotating space is a curved line in the rotating reference frame, and the amount of aparent curvature is dependent on speed of travel relative to the rotating reference frame. So when you try and walk in a streight line on the merry-go-round with out correcting for rotation, you more or less walk in a streight line in the non-rotating reference frame. In the rotating reference frame, your path is curved. The easiest way to do calculations is to make up frorces that would havepushed your path into that curved shape. It's all just short hand so that everything doesn't need to be translated to and from the stationary reference frame.

        Even at the equator, you experience the coreolis effect, it's just that your axis of rotation is parallel to the ground. At the equtor, running East appears to make you lighter, running West appears to make you heavier, jumping up appears to push you West, and dropping off a ledge appears to push you East. One explination of why thy always launch spacecraft in an eastwardly-traveling orbit is that that way the coreolis force helps, rather than hinders the spaceflight. In a non-rotating reference frame this is equivalent to saying that it already has a lot of speed in an easterly direction, so blasting off to the west actually means sloing down a lot rather than using the speed it already has due to traveling at the same speed as the ground.

        It's all equivalent, sometimes it's jsut easier to do the math one way. If nobody has done the math to figure out how the imaginary forces get added in in your situation, then you need to translate everything into a non-rotaing, non-accelerating frame of reference and do the calculatins and translate them back into your rotating frame of reference.

        It's kinda like special relativity. If you forget the formulas, you can re-derrive them by looking at everyhting in a stationary reference frame and looking at a photon clock and a photon yardstick and figuring out what apears to happen to one secodn and what appearsto happen to one meter and what appears to happen to one kg being acted upon by 1 Newton. It's just a lot easier if you remember the formulas Einstein derrived for you instead of having to transate everything to and from the stationary reference frame.

    • I wonder if this applies to the seven rules for spotting bogus science?

      Believe it or not, basic celestial mechanics still has several unsolved problems.

      For instance noone knows exactly how to model the formation of ring structures like the Kuiper Belt [](a ring of asteroids orbiting the sun), or Saturn's rings.

      If you don't believe me check out this link. []
  • huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by adamruck ( 638131 )
    dont the planets move around the sun at different rates? So how would it be possible to make a fixed structure to "drive" to a planet?
    • by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:30AM (#5465380)
      The structures aren't fixed. The basic idea is, though, that the most fuel-efficient way to get to another planet/moon is not just to wait until it's reached it's closest point and blast off, but to calculate when and where the gravity wormholes offer the most aid/least resistance. They are akin to the Lagrange points between the earth and the moon, where the pulls from the two sources create an area where the least resistance still keeps an object in place, sort of like a patch of dirt on an icy surface. (That's an analogy for what happens, not how it happens.)

      The thing about the wormholes is, though, that they're governed by non-linear dynamics, and are therefore extremely convoluted and difficult to calculate. But that doesn't imply that they're static, just that they're usually not the shortest distance between points A and B.

      • so what form do the structures actually take? Are we talking about something that can flex, or something rigid?
        • by LMCBoy ( 185365 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:28AM (#5465556) Homepage Journal
          It's not a material structure at all, and the parent poster shouldn't have called it a "wormhole", either. It's simply the least-energy trajectory from A to B through the Solar system, given the gravitational effects of the planets. The paths are always changing (quite chaotically), simply because the planets are in moion.

          NASA's been taking advantage of such "gravity assist" trajectories for a while. How do you get to Jupiter? Slingshot around Venus, flyby Earth twice, then you're on your way. It seems roundabout, but sometimes, paths like that are the easiest way.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            No, these are very different from normal gravity assist manuvers that have been used in many interplanetary missions. Those are still spliced together from ellipse like pieces, whereas these "superhighway" paths are simply not. Of course, 3rd body effects must usually be numerically calculated and accounted for in any real mission, but in this case they are part of the trajectory design to begin with.
      • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:23AM (#5465547)
        Just as if one wants to travel from England to NYC entirely by sail it is faster to sail south to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, then up the east coast of North America, because that way you are traveling with the currents and prevailing winds the whole way, rather than against them.

        These are even often refered to as "Highways on the Sea," and calling these "Interplanetary Superhighways" is no doubt derived from this.

        Of course there is no actual structure.

        The only real difference is that in space the "continents" are in continuous and *rapid* movement as well, and thus the "currents" and "winds" are in a constant state of flux.

        Other than *that* Mrs. Lincoln. . .

        • are probably a better analogy to this, but the highway one is familiar to more people. The other way it works is with the idea that the Lagrange points act like interchanges where manifolds to/from different places come close so you can easily exit one and enter another.

          WRT sailing routes from England to NYC, it really depends on your boat. Multi-hulls pioneered the southern passage because they are much faster on a reach or broad reach, and not quite as good to windward. Some modern overpowerd monohulls might be faster on the southern route, but it is more of a toss up.

          They don't really go into the details of the actual paths because of how hard it is to picture the multi-dimensional spaces that would make it clear. It is remarkable how everything changes with the third body in what seems like a simple system at first glance. I think I get some of the fundamentals intuitively. The "stable" manifold leading to L1 would be a group of orbits that tend to pump the spacecraft into more and more excentric orbits, while the "unstable" manifold leading to L2 does the oposite. On the other hand, the physics is reversible, so there are trajectories taking you toward the unstable L2 state and away from the stable L1.

          When they start talking about orbit transfers, you are trying to find where the systems from neighboring planets link together. This involves considering seperate 3-body problems of Sun-Spaceship-Planet for each planet where the manifolds of each system are rotating with the planets, and are only synchronized at certain times. They don't really say why the link ups are harder to find (or longer to wait for) for Earth/Mars than the outer planets. If I had to guess, it is probably related more to the scaling the the orbit distances and the planet masses. The Earth and Mars aren't that massive, but it still might be more related to the closer orbital periods.

          To me, it is just fascinating that there can be so much to investigate and study in the pure mathematics of a few simple equations. Most of this was just about the near equilibrium equations for uncontrolled objects. The slingshot trajectories represent another group of solutions that have some special characteristics. Very cool stuff. It really points the way for a lot of robotic missions over the coming centuries. With solar power, the fact that it take a long time to get there doesn't matter as much as the fact that you can keep manuvering for new missions long after the initial mission planning.

        • Aren't these just Hohmann orbits? Didn't any of you folks read "Interplanetary Flight" when you young?
      • Good description.

        Unfortunately, when they introduced words like "superhighway" and "wormhole", it just added hype, while making the subject only more confusing.
      • Akin to Lagrange points?

        A set of five of these balance points, called Lagrange or libration points, exist between every pair of massive bodies--the sun and its planets, the planets and their moons, and so on. -- from the article.

      • Use the Parker-Sochacki solution to the Picard iteration []. The orbital positions [] and therefore the gravity field [and thus the derivatives] become a simple matter of additions and multiplications, and everything comes out as a polynomial function of time.

        The original method was published in Neural Computing.

    • The paths are not actually fixed...they're just calculated at a fixed point in time (i.e. they calculate to find that you need to be at starting point a at time t in order to 'catch the tube' to get to endpoint b)
    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dackroyd ( 468778 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:04AM (#5465503) Homepage
      So how would it be possible to make a fixed structure to "drive" to a planet?

      It's not. You have to constantly calculate where the low energy paths will be and and then choose one that will take you where you want to.

      When the planets move around these paths will change and to get to the same place you may have to take a different 'route' for journeys that start at different times.

      Calling it a 'network of tunnels' is a poor simile, lets see if I can do any better. It's more like a set of deep valleys connected to each other over a small rise. The valleys are formed by the gravity of the planets and moons, and the layout of the valleys change as the planets move around.

      To get from point A to point B, you can either use lots of energy to go in a straight line up and down the deep sides of the valley or if you follow the bottoms of the valleys and aim carefully at the connection between different valleys you can use less energy to move.

      As space is frictionless, not only do you have to spend a lot of energy to get up the side of the valley (ie getting the spaceship up to speed for the journey), you also have to spend a lot of energy to stop from rolling on past where you want to go to (ie slow the spaceship down once it there). This is a problem if you want to send a probe to go and look at several planet/moons in a mission and spend a reasonable amount of time around each one. If you just accelerate/decelerate to get to and from each orbit you'll need a lot of fuel.

      What's cool about this is that if you want to, you can bounce around within the valley so long as you don't roll at the low connection to another valley. This means that the spaceship/satellite could stay in one orbit around a moon for a while, and then when the time comes to move on, it can fire its rocket for a very short time just to aim at the low connection to the next valley. This will then make the ship move into orbit around the next planet/moon and it will be in a stable orbit around that until it decides to move on again.
      • Re:huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The 'network of tunnels' analogy is actually quite fitting. There are manifold surfaces in space which, once you are on them, you automatically fall to a destination lagrange point. That is where that analogy comes from.

        (Of course, the manifolds do not just have coordinates in space but have required velocities at those coordinates. But once you are "on" the manifold in the sense of being in the right place with the right velocity, then it works exactly like a tunnel connecting you to somewhere else because you simply "fall" there without having to do anything else.)
    • (Hint: the article never makes any reference to any kind of "fixed structure".)
  • Uh yeah... (Score:1, Funny)

    by ObviousGuy ( 578567 )
    We can't even build a highway from Seattle to Honolulu. How about thinking globally and acting a locally?
  • by weston ( 16146 ) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:11AM (#5465275) Homepage
    That's what this is. You don't get quite the comfy ride in the back of a Vogon Space Cruiser or anything, but it's still hitchiking.

    Now if only I could get a free ride to the Midwest or East Coast this way.
  • by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:12AM (#5465281) Journal
    Of course it takes a long time... you forgot rule #1... the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line... err... is it a curved line? no... wait... ahh screw it...

    Ok... it's a friday night... I'm sitting at home, with nothing better to do than try and be a smartass on slashdot... Oh lord, I've wasted my life...
    • Bend space (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, the shortest distance is a straight line. But if you can bend space so that the straight line between two points is shorter, it won't take as long to get there!

      Space-folding technology is still a work in progress, though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. But they're talking about the lowest energy path between 2 points
    • rule #1... the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line

      But it seems the path of least resistance is curved... Following gravity ripples where it cancels.
      • Blockquoth the poster:

        rule #1... the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line
        ... but if the spacetime metric is not flat, the "straight" line might be curved... (Think great circles on the surface of spheres.)
        • Perhaps you always thought that General Relativity was a complicated idea that you never would have a hope of understanding. This post is the most succinct and clear description of (a large portion of) it that I have ever seen.

          The above statement is fundamentally the way the universe works. There is gravity (modulo quantum gravity :-) because both of these statements are basically true.

          You move towards a mass because it distorts spacetime so that the "straight line" you're travelling in actually goes towards the mass.

    • Ok, I'll bite. Yes, the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. That's because a straight line is *THE* path between the two points with the shortest distance. (You can have some fun with equivalence classes if there's more than of of 'em;) A straight line on a 3-d sphere goes through the sphere, not on the surface. A straight line on a 2-d surface of a sphere will not look straight when projected onto a flat map. A straight line on a Mercator projection is not the shortest distance on the represented 2d-surface, but does have the advantage that you can pick a heading, stay on it, and get there eventually.
  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:14AM (#5465288)
    The project is a failture from the start...what good is it when this "highway" doesn't deliver porn?
  • "The Universe is big. Really big. You might think that it is a long way to the chemist, but that is nothing comapred to the universe."
  • how this works (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What this is about is mapping out stable and semi-stable manifolds (paths) in space between planets. That is there are places in the solar system if you put an object, it will naturally draft toward certain other positions. For NASA, JPL, etc. The important paths are those linking the planets and other destinations of interest hense the high way metaphor (which is just a metaphor, not even a precise one at that. A embeded manifold is the precise mathematical term) These manifolds are created by the interaction of the planets and because of that can be thought as fixed relative to them, or as moving with them. (Which is why manifold is more precise term sense it does not denote fixed position nor one dimensionalness)
  • by PissedOffGuy ( 612092 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:19AM (#5465314)
    it's talking about how the gravity wells of planets make for low-energy paths from place to place, like how we choose to launch a mars probe when earth and mars are at certain positions relative to each other, maybe using the moon along the way. a well-known concept but the article has lots of flashy language.
    • by Heisenbug ( 122836 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:50AM (#5465456)
      I am not a rocket scientist, but I think this article uses flashy language because it's talking about something way more complicated than using the moon along the way. They mention, for example, that the Earth to Mars path is much harder to figure out than Jupiter to Saturn (and I got the impression that it would take thousands of years).

      This isn't just a way to get from planet to planet using less fuel -- it's a way to get around using no more than a shove in the right direction, starting from between the Earth and Moon and ending up anywhere you want. That's not your father's rocket science, and it's bloody cool -- flashy language or not.
      • Thanks Heisenburg! It's good to know some people appreciate our work []. It's bloody hard to explain to NASA managers, much less the general public. This article is a sort of first attempt.

        Although I guess I am in some sense a "rocket scientist," I think the truly cool aspect of the work is the light that it sheds on the mechanisms of "interplanetary cross-fertilization." This understanding contributes to fields such as astrobiology, for example, where comet impact rates are key for determining the delivery of water to the Earth and impact ejecta exchange rates are important for investigating the transportation of microbes between Mars and Earth.

        By the way, the fastest that a piece of impact ejecta has been able to get between Earth and Mars in any simulation is 10,000 years. This would be a piece of debris which, due to nonlinear effects, repeately encountered Mars and Earth with just the right geometry that it made the trip in the fastest time. The average transit time for bits of debries is a few million years.

    • by p3d0 ( 42270 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:15AM (#5465523)
      The article says a whole lot more than that, my dear whore. It has a lot of cool ideas if you would take the time to skim it.

      They have discovered a new type of route throughout the solar system, besides the conic sections typically used today, requiring orders of magnitude less energy. They can also predict up to 100 orbits into the future, with multiple ports of call on the itinerary, which is much more sophisticated than the simple slingshot method you're alluding to.

      They are using chaos theory and orbital instability to their advantage. That is something most certainly not done in traditional conic orbital maneuvers, which are of such a short duration and simple nature that chaos and instability don't enter into it.

  • by krray ( 605395 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:23AM (#5465344)
    When do the tolls go into place? Would we have to STOP even though the system will probably automated? We do have to be human sometime and make it counter-productive...
  • In other news the board of McDonalds collectively wet themselves with excitement at the though of the enormous expansion in drive thru's
  • Now you'd have to watch for asteroids passing near any of the L1 / L2 (maybe L3, too? The article doesn't mention it, though, and it would be hard to observe) points of Earth-Sun, in addition to just watching what comes near the Earth/moon system itself.
  • Here is a project I would love to support.

    Massive amounts of numbers to be crunched, tons of routes to be discovered, and all by lowly computers with nothing better to do.

    Proving that some ungodly number of ProcHours can figure out a RC-72 bit key is meaningless to me.

    This is the sort of science humanity is interested in. Onward to Mars []!

  • Poincare Conjecture (Score:3, Informative)

    by Professor_Quail ( 610443 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:42AM (#5465426) Homepage
    I read the article and understood most of what they were talking about...but I knew I had heard something related to this before.

    The Poincare Conjecture []

    IIRC, solving this problem should make some major advances in this 'tube-theory'. Can anyone explain how though?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      IIRC, the Poincare conjecture has to do with being able to map the number of 3-dimensional simply connected (no holes ala the donut), compact (think finite expanse, although that isn't correct; the definition of compact is a bit more technical), boundaryless (maybe) manifolds (surfaces) to the 3 sphere.

      The article has nothing to do with this. The article is simply discussing searching for trajectories whihc minimize the energy to get from A to B. The tube/wormhole terminology seems awful, if not incorrect (wormholes are very different beasts).
  • by RumGunner ( 457733 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:47AM (#5465447) Homepage
    Like most Amerikans, I want it all, and I want it NOW.

    Plus, those gravitational speed ups are slowing down the planet! Eventually, we'll suck up so much momentum to cause the earth to stop revolving around the sun, and we'll burn up!

    Act now to fight the destruction of our gravitational resources!
    • This might seem like a joke, but in the very end it is a point. It's like the atmosphere or the oceans. Since there's a lot of it it doesn't matter if we dumt this and that into it.

      Hopefully we'll find other ways to explore the space before we slow down so much that we crash into the sun. :)
  • Gravity drive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @12:48AM (#5465451) Homepage Journal
    Is like driving a ballon, wasting a very little energy to go to up or down the next "wind" that goes in the rigth direction. With gravity forces, inertia, and a bit of calculus to find where is the best moment to start the ride, you can go very far without wasting combustible or whatever you use to move, just letting gravity to do their job.

    Bus, as far I understand, that "highway" must be very dinamic, is like saying that in a year, 6 months and 3 days there should be a "road" to Pluton, but if you try this every other moment it will be very costly or the trip will last 4 months more.

    And, well, this "highway" is beloved as well for good hard sci fi writers, taking advantage of gravity to do "impossible" tricks is very used, and is funny to see everyone surprised in the story of that kind of tricks

  • Lagrange Points (Score:3, Informative)

    by LuxFX ( 220822 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:03AM (#5465496) Homepage Journal
    This technique uses a concept called a Lagrange Point, where gravity from multiple bodies (usually in a orbiting situation) cancel each other out -- which results in a place where a parked object can sit and stay in place in relation to the orbiting system.

    This technique is used to keep the SOHO [] sun observation satellite at Lagrangian point 1 [] in the earth/sun system, so that it keeps a constant view of the sun.

    The concept behind this is extended in this instance to reveal tunnels which offer the 'path of least resistance.'

    In fact, this has been discussed [] on Slashdot before. Slashdot users have also discussed Lagrangian points in relations to one [] or both [] of Earth's sub-moons.

    • Re:Lagrange Points (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @02:37AM (#5465738) Homepage
      But these are Lagrange Points for systems with more than 2 bodies. They're extremely dynamic and move along some very convoluted and lengthy paths. If you stick your ship in one at the right time, then you basically get taken for a free ride courtesy of Gravity, Inc. But the "tens of thousands of years" needed for an Earth-Mars trip doesn't strike me as being particularly useful anytime soon. Maybe for moving large asteroids out amongst the gas giants, but in this neighborhood the free ride just isn't worth the wait.

      Evidently the research is more immediately useful for the techniques learned in complex multi-body interacting systems problems, which fluid dynamics guys are also fascinated in.

  • Home? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Discordantus ( 654486 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:26AM (#5465553)
    Home, home on LaGrange,
    Where the space debris always collects,
    We possess, so it seems, two of Man's greatest dreams:
    Solar power and zero-gee sex.

    I am truly sorry for that one...
  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:29AM (#5465559) Journal
    Raise your hand if your first reaction to this article was to try to find a copy of Ltool...
  • Some day... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoraLives ( 622001 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:30AM (#5465561)
    Some day, somebody is going to grapple a surprisingly large freely-orbiting body of mostly nickel-iron, with perhaps some very valuable other transition metals in there too.

    It'll get nudged this way and land in the back yard of the lucky (corporation, government, fill in the blank) via these EXACT orbital pathways.

    When it does, you can tell the grandchildren, "Bah, that's OLD news. We were talking about it on slashdot before your PARENTS were even born."

  • by ehudokai ( 585897 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:43AM (#5465596)

    ... is that for the most part we have too much information in our heads, but no common sense to use it. This article does a wonderful job of illustrating, in a relitively reasonable manner, how we can do a lot of work traveling between planets without expending much energy!


    They have managed to move beyond their meager geekness and actually apply concepts that come from Lagrange, chaos theory, etc... and use them to better mankind and also explain previously unexplained phenomena.

    I know way too many nerds who cannot do this for the life of them. They have lots of knowledge, but they are useless!!!

    A bit of a rant... I know, but it's frustrating to read all the comments by idiots who can't even read the article before they reply...

  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @01:55AM (#5465624)
    Here is a previous discussion [] of this subject.

  • oh dear (Score:5, Funny)

    by gid13 ( 620803 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @02:37AM (#5465737)
    you know you've been reading too much slashdot when you think it says "...these things are real. In fact, they are already being SUED"
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by breon.halling ( 235909 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @02:40AM (#5465749)

    A Caltech/JPL collaboration explores the 'Interplanetary Superhighway.'" which describes "...the Interplanetary Superhighway..."

    Am I the only one who finds this redundant?!?! =P

  • by Donovan Leitch of the album Cosmic Wheels, 1973)
    I was impressed like everyone when man began to fly
    out of earthly regions to planets in the sky
    with total media coverage we watched the heroes land
    as ceremoniously they disturbed the cosmic sand

    I awe with admiration we listened to the talk
    such pride felt they, such joy to be upon the moon to walk
    my romantic vision shattered when it was explained to me
    spacemen wear old diapers in which they shit and pee


    oh the intergalactic laxative will get you from here to there
    relieve you and believe me without a worry or care
    if shitting is your problem when you're out there in the stars
    the intergalactic laxative will get you from here to mars

    they don't partake like you and I of beefy burger mush
    their food is specially prepared to dissolve into slush
    absorbed my multi-fibres in the super diaper suit
    otherwise the slush would trickle down inside the boot

    you may well ask now what becomes of liquid they consume
    a pipe is led from penis head to a unit in the room
    the water is recirculated, filtered for re-use
    in case of anti-gravity, pee gets on the loose

    wherever man has conquered on the quest for frontiers new
    I'm glad he's always had to do the no. one and two
    it makes it all so ordinary just like you and me
    to know the greatest heroes they had to shit and pee!
  • by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Saturday March 08, 2003 @09:44AM (#5466649) Homepage
    All the math makes me brain spin, but it would be seriously cool to have a linux-based "navigator".. give it the current date and your position and find the nearest routes to Jupiter.

    You know I wonder if this idea opens the thoughts for an interplantary positioning system (IPS)... in order to know where you get off, you'd have to know where you are.
  • Where's my flying car. I want a flying CAR! This gives new meaning to the name "Disney World".
  • by rosewood ( 99925 ) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Saturday March 08, 2003 @10:23AM (#5466754) Homepage Journal
    With this stuff [] talked about in another slashdot article, it seems that I could just use my super-human blood to hold my breath as I walk the distance and never get tired!
  • Cant wait till the Vogons have to explode the earth to make way for the new piece of the interplanetary superhighway.

  • Interview with Martin Lo [], author of LTool (Libration Point Mission Design Tool) talks about new cusp of using advanced mathematics in real-world engineering.

    This link I gleaned and posted on Slashdot the last time we had an article about this. There are actually several interesting papers about this on the net, look for Lo in xarchiv and elsewhere I think. Downloaded a whole bunch last time.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan