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Hop's Blog

Travel on airless worlds

17 Jun 2014, 17:02 UTC
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

When we get to other worlds how will we get from point A to B? There are no roads on Ceres. No rivers or oceans on the moon. No airports on Enceladus or even air for an airplane to glide on.Until transportation infrastructure is built, suborbital hops seem the way to go. A suborbital hop is an ellipse with a focus at the body center. But with much of the ellipse below surface.For a suborbital hop from A to B, how much velocity is needed? At what angle should we leave the body's surface? At what angle and velocity do we return?Points A and B are two points in a Lambert Space Triangle. The triangle's third point C is the body's center.Two of the sides are radii of a spherical body so the triangle is isosceles.A point's distance from one focus plus distance to second focus is a constant, 2a. 2a is the ellipse's major axis. Since A and B are equidistant to the first focus, they're also equidistant to the second focus. Points A & B, the planet and ellipse are all symmetric about the ellipse's axis.The payload returns to the body at the same angle and velocity it ...