My science fiction novel Dominion is set to be published in November by Double Dragon Publishing. The new book cover art gets updated only so often on the publisher’s website, but I’m anticipating my cover to be up relatively soon. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I figured I’d throw out some of the basic science of travel to the Moon. It’s been quite a while since I’ve looked at the manuscript, but basically let’s look at how long it’s taken us in the past. Apollo 11 reached lunar orbit in about 52 hours. So, it was multiple days. But after achieving escape velocity, these spacecraft stop burning fuel. They stop accelerating. That’s when you can see the astronauts in a microgravity environment. And without getting too technical, those astronauts who appear to be in “Zero G” environments are actually experiencing gravitational effects. Anything within our solar system is experiencing the gravitational effects of the Sun. However, the effects are very small, microcosmic(!).
Of course, acceleration is the key. In my novel Dominion, I figured out how long it would take my spaceships to travel to the Moon under different accelerations. Remember, if the spacecraft travels at 1 G, the equivalent force is what we experience pulling us toward the center of mass of Earth. And we can handle it just fine, thank you. However, also note that the spacecraft has to accelerate at 1 G to the halfway point to the Moon, then turn around and decelerate at 1 G the rest of the way.
I’ll have to check my notes, but I believe it was about 1 day at 1 G. But in my novel, my space rescue team is typically pressed for time. They use accelerations greater than 1 G. But how much? Think of a roller coaster. It would be difficult to experience some of those accelerations for extended periods of time. Anyway, I think I push 3 G. And that cuts the travel time to the Moon to a matter of two or three hours.
Note to any physics majors reading this: I understand that “deceleration” is not a valid term in physics. The correct term is negative acceleration. It has something to do with vectors but that’s getting too technical for me at the moment.
Woo hoo! A three-hour business trip. This is sounding more like it! Once lunar mining operations get set up, there’ll be travel back and forth between the Moon and Earth because business management knows that to be effective they have to use the principles of gemba. That’s a Japanese term for “being at the scene of the action.” It means that a factory manager cannot be an effective manager unless that manager is actually walking the floor of the factory. Believe me, it’s true. And so investors on Earth will want firsthand confirmation that their investments are paying off.
So there you have some insight into how long it will take to travel to the Moon in the year 2075. It’s interesting to note that as I approach middle age, this is the first time in my life that I was actually using the full complement of my education in the field of mathematics. Hooray for math!