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Subject: Imaginary worlds rss

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Steve
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My son was given a piece of homework to create and describe an imaginary world this weekend. Not sure what his teacher will make of this concept but he decided on an Aerostat balloon station floating in the atmosphere of Jupiter!

To be fair he misunderstood some of the finer concepts, such as having the aerostat rotate to generate artificial gravity for the inhabitants, rather than some means of gravity reduction necessary in the high acceleration gravitational well of the Jovian atmosphere. Nevertheless I thought it was a creative concept for a 9-year-old.

Who knows, he could be part of the generation that eventually colonizes the solar system and this wonderful game will doubtless be fondly remembered as the impetus behind that drive. Thanks Phil for this wonderful game.
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James Ross
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The mysteries about how we evolved should not distract us from the indisputable fact that we did evolve. -- Jerry A. Coyne
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Is your son a Mensa member?

That is one damn impressive concept for a nine year old to come up with by himself. Kudos to your son!
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Steve
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No - just a regular player of High Frontier. We only play basic, and generally the three of us (he has an 11-year-old brother) work together to achieve some arbitrary exploration and settlement goal. Last game we established our first aerostat. I also explained Bernal spheres and got them keen on the idea of trying out HF:Colonization, which I have yet to purchase.
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Dom Rougier
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There is an Arthur C Clarke short story on the subject, which is worth reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Meeting_with_Medusa
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Wulf Corbett
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I remember reading Meeting with Medusa in some magazine or another - lovely story!

Great to hear the game sunk in so much as to prove useful - even a class test proves it does both educate and entertain!
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Jeff Chamberlain
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andrewdoull wrote:
Does the aerostat have to rotate? I would have thought that since the aerostat isn't in free fall, you'd experience gravity normally (just in the same way that planes are not migrogravity environments). Not sure what the Gs would be at a point where air pressure could keep an aerostat floating however.


I think that is part of the reason Saturn has an aerostat in the game and Jupiter does not. The force of gravity from Saturn at the top of Saturn's atmosphere is close to 1g, while the force of gravity at the top of Jupiter's clouds is close to 2.5g.

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Steve
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And this morning he asked me what are Lagrange points. Oh the joy.
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Steve
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Domfluff wrote:
There is an Arthur C Clarke short story on the subject, which is worth reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Meeting_with_Medusa

I'd forgotten about that story. Thanks for the reminder.
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Phil Eklund
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Klintus Fang wrote:
andrewdoull wrote:
Does the aerostat have to rotate? I would have thought that since the aerostat isn't in free fall, you'd experience gravity normally (just in the same way that planes are not migrogravity environments). Not sure what the Gs would be at a point where air pressure could keep an aerostat floating however.


I think that is part of the reason Saturn has an aerostat in the game and Jupiter does not. The force of gravity from Saturn at the top of Saturn's atmosphere is close to 1g, while the force of gravity at the top of Jupiter's clouds is close to 2.5g.



Hello Steve, just to say that I am heartened that a boardgame can inspire interest in the universe, and exploration of the boundaries both of the frontier and what is possible.

I agree with Andy and Jeff that artificial gravity is unnecessary in an aerostat, and the aerostats in Venus & Saturn experience Earth normal gravity (and Earth normal atmospheric pressures). The atmosphere is very thin compared to the radius of a terrestrial planet like Venus or Earth, so anything suspended in the atmosphere is going to experience gravity at almost (over 95%) of the gravity on the surface. And one is not in orbit, so there is no weightlessness. One rotates as the planet rotates, and is buffeted by high winds (the source for these winds is a bit of a mystery on the aerostat planets in the game, by the way. If they are solar powered, they should be weaker the farther out one goes, but it seems the other way around).

Finally I agree with Jeff about Jupiter. Even if one could contend with the high radiation, catastrophic teravolt lightning danger, and the ridiculous delta-v, the fact that gravity is 2.5X Earth normal is going to be a severe handicap to aerostat operations in the Jovian atmosphere.
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Steve
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In my son's defence, the aerostat was not intended for human habitation, but was to be populated with aliens.
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Craig C
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slashing wrote:
In my son's defence, the aerostat was not intended for human habitation, but was to be populated with aliens.


Since your son came up with something that involves actual science and not Call of Duty or tweeting, his idea is just fine without worrying about the details, I say.
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Mike Dommett
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That's awesome. Perhaps it is time to introduce my 8 year old to it. He'd be very pleased, having admired the poster map when it was pinned on the wall in our kitchen for a few months .
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Luke Stirling
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Hopkins wrote:
That's awesome. Perhaps it is time to introduce my 8 year old to it. He'd be very pleased, having admired the poster map when it was pinned on the wall in our kitchen for a few months .

At first I thought about how loathe I'd be to stick pins into a High Frontier map. But then if it inspires an 8 year old to get interested in the game (and hopefully, by extension, science) then I guess that's a small price to pay.
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Mike Dommett
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paralipsis wrote:
At first I thought about how loathe I'd be to stick pins into a High Frontier map. But then if it inspires an 8 year old to get interested in the game (and hopefully, by extension, science) then I guess that's a small price to pay.

I must confess: I imprecisely used a common phrase there. I actually used white tac to stick it to the wall. However, the card is quite heavy so it had a tendency to want to roll back up and, occasionally, it would come away from the wall. The poster was sited above my knife magnets and, one unfortunate morning, I came downstairs to discover that it had come unstuck and drooped over my razer sharp Messermeister 9" chef's knife which made a clean slice of about 8cm... I was most annoyed, especially as I had foreseen such an event but decided to take my chances!

Still, since the cut was clean and straight, so a bit of invisible tape made a reasonable repair. It has now been replaced by a Colonization version anyway .
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