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Power-User
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Fore! Astronauts to Make Longest Drive in History

03/01/2006 10:31 AM

Move over John Daly! In September of 2006, Russian astronauts plan to drive a golf ball from the International Space Station (ISS) into Earth's orbit. The drive is part of a joint commercial venture between the Russian space agency and Element 21 Golf Company. The club of choice is a gold-plated, six-iron, made out of the same scandium alloy used to build the station. The ball is expected to orbit Earth for about four years, beaming its location to Earth-bound computers using global positioning transmitters, before succumbing to the Earth's gravity and burning up in the atmosphere.

However, all are not pleased with the venture. There is some fear that if the ball stays in the same plane as the space station it could collide with the ISS on a subsequent orbit.

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#1

is this really a smart thing to do?

03/01/2006 12:01 PM

As an engineer, I dislike this idea immensely....I am imagining the havoc I have wreaked on the golf course with errant balls...sounds like a setup for self-imposed disaster to me......

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The Engineer
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#2
In reply to #1

Re:is this really a smart thing to do?

03/01/2006 1:47 PM

Ah, but that is the beuty of space, there are no hooks or slices. Just never ending drives... that crash into communication satellites, destroying the solar panels and knocking them out of the sky. Ok, I see your point.

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Anonymous Poster
#3
In reply to #2

Re:is this really a smart thing to do?

03/01/2006 1:57 PM

This raises a practical question. Would the ball be travelling like fast enough to be doing any damage. It seems like it would slow down over time, or would it already be going at some crazy speed based on teh orbiting speed of the station, at which point how would it even be able to catch up?

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The Engineer
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#4
In reply to #3

Re:is this really a smart thing to do?

03/01/2006 2:22 PM

I guess I'm not sure how much atmosphere is at that orbit to slow it down, but I'm guessing not much. I think if it hits something, it will be a different satellite. There are hundreds of them now, just waiting for a golf ball to come along and smash them.

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#5

Murphy's Law

03/01/2006 5:30 PM

Whatever satellite that is key to some daily function that lies in an orbit lower than the space station will inevitably be hit qnd disabled, if the the golfer swinging manages to miss all the vulnerable parts of the space station itself.

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Guru
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#6

is this really a smart thing to do?

03/02/2006 8:22 AM

Just read an article about concerns by NASA on the large amount of debris accumulating in low earth orbit, and now someone is adding "un-necessary" debris. What next? Some American will undoubtedly have to swat the longest home run ever, then a bowler will come along, and..... There are two private companies working on taking rich passengers on the ultimate joy ride. What will they start leaving up there. Time for anti-littering laws and fines. but, who will enforce them?

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Anonymous Poster
#7
In reply to #6

Re:is this really a smart thing to do?

03/06/2006 9:36 AM

Star Troopers, of course!

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