Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Navigation in Space

I don't know much about this subject and most of these thoughts are things that just came to me as I was thinking about it.

Aircraft have flight management systems to determine how/where to go and in the most economical ways, etc. I can only assume that the same goes for space. The biggest differences being that on earth we travel and we have gravitational constants that are known, and we can estimate different things like drag, etc, we have to determine where we are with respect to other aircraft in order to stay safe (I believe this is ADS-B stuff, correct me if I'm wrong). In space you have to worry about other aircraft (assuming space gets busy out there), still, but now you have to calculate where you're going to be at different times, where other planets are going to be (this is for long distance space travel). Gravity of each of those planets, using our current systems we can determine what speeds we need to increase/decrease to in each phase of our travel (I won't call it flight, because to me that implies aerodynamics and dealing with things like drag/etc),so we can miss a planet, all together, or avoid the most of it's gravity, also we could use them to our advantage to make turns while maintaining forward thrust only (don't waste fuel on pushing side to side). Obviously my last post Absolute time plays a part in this whole mess, if we don't have a constant time wherever we are, calculating these things will get very tricky.

Some of the upcoming posts are a bit inspired by Elon Musk's big ideas, If you don't know who he is take a look at his wikipedia page, I think some of the goals he has are amazing, and I agree that we as a society need to start focusing our efforts on big ideas, and not on the next fart app. A collegue and I have been chatting about space travel and how amazing it would be to make it to Mars, so we started looking into it, I don't know much of anything about it, but who knows, maybe I'll learn something, and maybe you will too.Either way, knowing more about a wider range of technologies makes us better as a human race, fart apps, don't. 

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