Could You Attach Rockets To The Earth To Change The Direction Of The Planet?

Gizmo j

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Nov 9, 2013
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I was thinking of extremely large rockets attached all around the earth that would basically turn the whole planet into a ship.

Possible?
 

sdifox

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Go watch The Wandering Earth. Bonus point, it's a Chinese movie so you can learn Chinese at the same time.
 
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Perknose

Forum Director & Omnipotent Overlord
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Wouldn't that disturb the turtles? I mean, we all just sit around and take it for granted while they hold the whole damn thing up.
 
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feralkid

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I was thinking of extremely large rockets attached all around the earth that would basically turn the whole planet into a ship.

Possible?
It's been done...why do you think the ocean's near the shore?
 

IronWing

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Jul 20, 2001
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If one cabled two ships together and sent them off in opposite directions, could we cut the earth in half with a giant cable saw?
 

[DHT]Osiris

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I was thinking of extremely large rockets attached all around the earth that would basically turn the whole planet into a ship.

Possible?
Yes, you would need a large amount of thrust and fuel though.

Very rough calculations assisted by chatgpt tells me you need an approximate delta-v of 12346m/s, and we don't have the technology to accomplish that with the earth's mass, so the fuel requirements are a bit redundant (it would require more fuel than the earth has the capacity to generate). Chat block below:
hypothetical question: how much thrust would be needed to move the mass of the earth until it reached the escape velocity of the sun, assuming no gravity assists from other orbital bodies.
Calculating this would involve quite a bit of physics. Here's a simplified explanation:
  1. You'll first need to find the escape velocity of Earth from the Sun. The formula for escape velocity is v = sqrt((2*G*M)/r) where G is the gravitational constant (6.674 x 10-11 N(m/kg)2), M is the mass of the sun (1.989 x 1030 kg), and r is the distance from the center of the sun to the center of the Earth (average is about 1.496 x 1011 m).
  2. With this velocity, you could then calculate the kinetic energy needed to reach that velocity using the formula KE = 0.5*m*v^2 where m is the mass of the Earth (5.972 x 10^24 kg) and v is the escape velocity you just calculated.
  3. This kinetic energy is effectively the 'thrust' needed to move the Earth to escape velocity. However, it's not as simple as just applying this energy all at once - you'd have to apply it in a way that doesn't cause the Earth to break apart. This would likely involve a continuous application of force over a period of time, which complicates the calculation considerably.
Please note that this is an extremely simplified explanation and the actual calculation would be much more complex, taking into account factors like the Earth's rotation, the distribution of mass within the Earth, the effect on the Earth's orbit as the thrust is applied, etc. I would recommend consulting with a physicist for a more detailed and accurate calculation.
If you need help with these kinds of calculations, I can assist you with the coding aspect of it. For example, we could create a Python program to perform the calculations based on the formulas I just mentioned. Would you like me to do that??
AI-generated content may be incorrect
Can you give a very rough approximation of the delta-v requirements?
Let's approximate this with a simple physics calculation. We'll need to calculate the escape velocity of Earth from the Sun, then determine the change in velocity (delta-v) required for Earth to reach this speed.
  1. Calculate the escape velocity using the formula v = sqrt((2*G*M)/r), where:
    • G is the gravitational constant (6.674 x 10-11 N(m/kg)2)
    • M is the mass of the Sun (1.989 x 10^30 kg)
    • r is the distance from the center of the Sun to the center of the Earth (1.496 x 10^11 m on average)
  2. Find the delta-v by subtracting Earth's current orbital speed around the Sun from the escape velocity. Earth's average orbital speed is about 29.78 km/s.
Here's a Python code snippet that does these calculations:
import math

# Constants
G = 6.674 * (10 ** -11) # Gravitational constant in N(m/kg)^2
M = 1.989 * (10 ** 30) # Mass of the Sun in kg
r = 1.496 * (10 ** 11) # Average distance from Sun to Earth in m
v_current = 29.78 * (10 ** 3) # Current velocity of Earth in m/s

# Calculate escape velocity
v_escape = math.sqrt((2 * G * M) / r)

# Calculate delta-v
delta_v = v_escape - v_current

# Convert to km/s
delta_v = delta_v / (10 ** 3)

print(f"The required delta-v is approximately {delta_v:.2f} km/s.")

Please note that this is a very rough approximation. The actual delta-v required would likely be higher due to factors such as gravitational drag and the need to overcome Earth's own gravitational field..
AI-generated content may be incorrect
What are the results of that calculation? I don't have a python installation on-hand.
I apologize for the oversight. As an AI, I don't have the ability to run Python code. However, I can walk you through the steps of the calculation:
  1. First, we calculate the escape velocity using the formula v = sqrt((2*G*M)/r).
Given the values:
  • G (gravitational constant) = 6.674 x 10-11 N(m/kg)2
  • M (mass of the sun) = 1.989 x 10^30 kg
  • r (distance from the center of the sun to the center of the Earth) = 1.496 x 10^11 m
The calculation would be v = sqrt((2*6.674*10^-11*1.989*10^30)/(1.496*10^11)).
  1. Then we calculate delta-v by subtracting Earth's current orbital speed around the Sun from the escape velocity.
Given that Earth's average orbital speed is about 29.78 km/s, the calculation would be delta_v = v_escape - 29.78*10^3.
  1. The result would be the required delta-v in m/s. To convert it to km/s, we would divide the result by 10^3.
Please note that this is a rough approximation and the actual delta-v required would likely be higher due to factors such as gravitational drag and the need to overcome Earth's own gravitational field. For a more accurate calculation, it would be best to consult with a physicist or use a physics simulation software..
AI-generated content may be incorrect
I ended up with a delta-v of roughly 12346m/s, what would be the fuel requirements to move the mass of the earth to that speed with any current technology that could generate that delta-v?
The fuel requirements for such a large scale operation would be astronomical and currently not feasible with our existing technology.
The most efficient propulsion method we currently have for space travel is the ion thruster, which has a specific impulse (a measure of fuel efficiency) of about 3000 to 5000 seconds. However, ion thrusters are currently only capable of producing very small amounts of thrust, so while they are efficient, they are also slow.
Let's take a look at how we might calculate the fuel requirements, though, for the sake of argument. The rocket equation, also known as Tsiolkovsky's equation, is used to calculate the delta-v (change in velocity) of a rocket. The equation is:
delta-v = Isp * g * ln(m0 / m1)
where:
  • Isp is the specific impulse of the rocket (in seconds)
  • g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s²)
  • ln is the natural logarithm
  • m0 is the initial total mass (including fuel)
  • m1 is the final mass (after the fuel has been burned)
Rearranging the equation to solve for m0, we get:
m0 = m1 * e^(delta-v / (Isp * g))
where e is the base of the natural logarithm.
If we plug in the values we have (using the upper limit of ion thruster efficiency, 5000 seconds, for Isp), we get:
m0 = 5.972 x 10^24 kg * e^(12346 m/s / (5000 s * 9.81 m/s²))
We can then subtract m1 (the mass of the Earth) from m0 to find the mass of the fuel required.
Please note that this calculation is purely hypothetical and not currently feasible with our technology or resources. It also doesn't take into account the practical aspects of trying to apply that much thrust to a planet, or the effects that it would have on the planet itself..
 
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pete6032

Diamond Member
Dec 3, 2010
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Every morning when I get up I do 100 jumping jacks in the exact same spot. I think eventually the cumulative force of me jumping on that one spot could change the orbit of the earth.
 
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Nov 29, 2006
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What if all the people in the world gathered in say Mexico ,and bent over with our asses facing the same direction and farted in unison?
 

WelshBloke

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I'm going to say no. The earth isn't a rigid body. I'm going to say, given the forces needed, it's going to behave more like a fluid than a solid when you apply that amount of thrust to it.
It's not a sphere like a glass marble that you could glue jets to, attach jets big enough to move the earth and they are just going to zoom off with maybe a little chunk of rock attached.

Hope no one's smoking!
👀
 

WelshBloke

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Jan 12, 2005
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If one cabled two ships together and sent them off in opposite directions, could we cut the earth in half with a giant cable saw?
I'm sure that there's a 2000ad storyline like that.
Mysterious robot appears on earth that ignores everyone and just travels in a straight line across the planet. There's lots of speculation about what it wants or is doing.
Turns out that it's got a big ass laser blasting out and it's cutting the Earth in half because it's owner (in a space ship approaching Earth) isn't good about steering around things!
 

nOOky

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Aug 17, 2004
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I'm wondering why we'd want to reverse the rotation of the Earth. The Earth is already moving 67,000 MPH in it's orbit around Sol. Within our galaxy which itself is moving around1.3 million MPH. In about 4 billion years the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy, if Sol hasn't burned up and folks on Earth are around to look up that might be interesting. I think we have bigger fish to fry in out lives.
 

sdifox

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I'm wondering why we'd want to reverse the rotation of the Earth. The Earth is already moving 67,000 MPH in it's orbit around Sol. Within our galaxy which itself is moving around1.3 million MPH. In about 4 billion years the Milky Way will collide with the Andromeda galaxy, if Sol hasn't burned up and folks on Earth are around to look up that might be interesting. I think we have bigger fish to fry in out lives.
like learning astronomy, in Chinese.
 
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You'd have to bring the moon along with us or the tides would get all screwed up and mess up the ocean/coastal ecosystems where most people live.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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You don't think increasing Earth's speed will do that anyway?
Well, that's fair - you'd have to bring the sun along too so there's a source of heat/light.

Or some kind of micro-sun in a not-quite-48 hour periodic orbit of the earth (about 6300km, to simulate day/night cycles, seasons, and such.) Not sure how much power output it would need at that distance. If I remember my square/cube rules right it would only need to output like 1/600,000,000th of the suns energy but I'm not sure I'm doing that right so don't quote me.

For that matter I guess we could replace the moon with a similarly closer/smaller gravitational anomaly of some kind.
 
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nakedfrog

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Apr 3, 2001
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I'm sure that there's a 2000ad storyline like that.
Mysterious robot appears on earth that ignores everyone and just travels in a straight line across the planet. There's lots of speculation about what it wants or is doing.
Turns out that it's got a big ass laser blasting out and it's cutting the Earth in half because it's owner (in a space ship approaching Earth) isn't good about steering around things!
Right up there with demolishing Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass.
 

[DHT]Osiris

Lifer
Dec 15, 2015
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I'm going to say no. The earth isn't a rigid body. I'm going to say, given the forces needed, it's going to behave more like a fluid than a solid when you apply that amount of thrust to it.
It's not a sphere like a glass marble that you could glue jets to, attach jets big enough to move the earth and they are just going to zoom off with maybe a little chunk of rock attached.


👀
You have to apply the appropriate lsp, it'll take forever to accelerate (like actual centuries) but it can work with efficient engines. You are correct in that the amount of thrust required to move at an appreciable amount of acceleration, they'll just shear off whatever platform they're attached to.
You'd have to bring the moon along with us or the tides would get all screwed up and mess up the ocean/coastal ecosystems where most people live.
Another benefit of moving slow enough, our orbital bodies come with us.