Comment Of The Week

I’d love to stick around and take part in this debate about global warming, sorry, climate change. Unfortunately, I can’t, as I’m off the the Moon for a few days. Doubtless you’re wondering how I’m going to get there. Easy: I’m going to drive.

I’ve got a ’96 Toyota Camry. It’s got about 180,000 miles on it by now, but I reckon it’s still good for 0-60 in ten seconds. I’ve also got a computer model. (Actually, it’s an Excel spreadsheet, but it’s running on a computer, so it’s a computer model.) Extrapolating from my data points (both of them!) my computer model says my car should reach 120 after 20 seconds, 180 after 30 seconds and so on. (You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?) Things add up pretty quickly and after 50 minutes I’ll reach orbital velocity (about 18,000 mph) and escape velocity (25,000 mph) after about an hour and a quarter. I’m in my way!

I’ll reach midpoint – 120,000 miles – after about three-and-a-half hours, by which time I’ll be doing about 70,000 mph. Applying the brakes I’ll then decelerate at the same rate I’ve previously accelerated, for a gentle touch down on the Moon about seven hours after I started. Not bad for a ’96 Camry. I just can’t understand why NASA didn’t think of it.

Anyway, I’ve got a computer model and the science behind it was settled by Newton in the seventeenth century. Now, where are my car keys?

-commenter Robert Sealey at Samizdata


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