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Old 14th January 2022, 10:02 AM   #1
Cainkane1
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Jules Verne wrote "From Earth to the Moon"

Verne envisioned a huge cannon firing a capsule onto the moon. Many years later a man named Jerry Bull envisioned a cannon putting satillilites into orbit and perhaps to other regions of outer space. Professor Bull made the mistake of designing and planning to build a cannon large enough to shell Israel and he was mysteriously shot dead.

Could a large cannon get us to the moon and perhaps even further?
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Old 14th January 2022, 10:20 AM   #2
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Yes, but anyone inside would end up as a smear on the back wall of the capsule.
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Old 14th January 2022, 11:14 AM   #3
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Yes, but anyone inside would end up as a smear on the back wall of the capsule.
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Old 14th January 2022, 12:17 PM   #4
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Old 14th January 2022, 12:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wollery View Post
Yes, but anyone inside would end up as a smear on the back wall of the capsule.
Not if you fill the capsule with salt water. The ballisto-naut would have to hold his breath fro just a few milliseconds.

If totally saturated, the smear would be on the front wall.
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Old 14th January 2022, 12:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
Not if you fill the capsule with salt water. The ballisto-naut would have to hold his breath fro just a few milliseconds.
Then the smears would be on the inside of their ribcage and skull.
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Old 14th January 2022, 01:38 PM   #7
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I vote we use Jeff Bezos and William Shatner to test the system.
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Old 14th January 2022, 01:52 PM   #8
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An electromagnetic acceleration system could have sufficiently low G force if the track was long enough - up the slope of the Kilimanjaro would be a possibility.
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Old 14th January 2022, 03:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cainkane1 View Post
Could a large cannon get us to the moon and perhaps even further?
Yes, if you make the barrel long enough.

Escape velocity of the Earth is ~11.2 km/s (25,000 mph). The human body can withstand 10g (98m/s) acceleration for a minute or so. At 10g it takes ~115 seconds (just under 2 minutes) to reach escape velocity. During this time the 'shell' will travel 648 km inside the barrel. So you need a cannon with a 648 km (403 mile) long barrel.

That might be doable with a railgun or maglev.
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Old 14th January 2022, 03:12 PM   #10
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Old 14th January 2022, 03:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
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Old 14th January 2022, 03:16 PM   #12
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Put the propellant inside the projectile and stabilise it with fins, then you won't need the long barrel.
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Old 14th January 2022, 05:26 PM   #13
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The other option is to use the cannon to launch supplies to the moon and other places. These must be able to withstand high G forces. Once these get close to the moon rockets can fire to slow them to land safely.

There could be huge problems to solve to build and run this cannon, but if it is achieved then supplies could be sent to the moon at low cost.
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Old 14th January 2022, 07:14 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wollery View Post
Yes, but anyone inside would end up as a smear on the back wall of the capsule.
Ad astra per aspera, whiners.
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Old 14th January 2022, 07:26 PM   #15
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Sounds like it would be easier to bring the moon to us. Didn't some famous Greek guy say, "Give me a lever and I can take a dump on your cannon"?
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Old 14th January 2022, 07:45 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ryan O'Dine View Post
Sounds like it would be easier to bring the moon to us. Didn't some famous Greek guy say, "Give me a lever and I can take a dump on your cannon"?
I think it was, "give me a long enough lever, and a fulcrum, and I can fling my poop to the moon."
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Old 14th January 2022, 08:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
An electromagnetic acceleration system could have sufficiently low G force if the track was long enough - up the slope of the Kilimanjaro would be a possibility.
Heinlein used Pikes Peak in "The Man Who Sold The Moon".
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Old 14th January 2022, 08:08 PM   #18
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Okay serious question. Where are NASA's white papers studying the possibility of launch guns, and rejecting them in favor of conventional rocketry?

Cainkane is doing a bang-up job of teaching his grandmother to suck eggs, but surely grandma has published at least one treatise on egg sucking by now.
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Old 14th January 2022, 08:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay serious question. Where are NASA's white papers studying the possibility of launch guns, and rejecting them in favor of conventional rocketry?

Cainkane is doing a bang-up job of teaching his grandmother to suck eggs, but surely grandma has published at least one treatise on egg sucking by now.
Someone who actually did some research might be able to give a more nuanced answer, but I think NASA was founded on the basis of rocketry. So such a paper would need to be a retrospective, "Could we have used gunnery instead?" or some precursor organization.
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Old 14th January 2022, 09:12 PM   #20
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I think it would be easier to attach a huge rope to the Moon and pull it toward Earth with a giant winch, or maybe just have enough people pull on it like a tug-o-war. Reel it in like a big fish!
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Old 14th January 2022, 09:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by gnome View Post
Someone who actually did some research might be able to give a more nuanced answer, but I think NASA was founded on the basis of rocketry. So such a paper would need to be a retrospective, "Could we have used gunnery instead?" or some precursor organization.
Is that really your considered opinion? NASA is too institutionally stupid to consider other launch technologies? NASA, ESA, JAXA? The Soviets and the Chinese? United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin?

Tell me you hate rocket scientists without telling me you hate rocket scientists.
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Old 14th January 2022, 10:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Put the propellant inside the projectile and stabilise it with fins, then you won't need the long barrel.
Yes, you would, because the projectile needs to push against the air behind it. You've described a rocket, and we all know they don't work in the vacuum of space.
Sheesh, I thought this was the science forum!
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Old 14th January 2022, 10:30 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Yes, you would, because the projectile needs to push against the air behind it. You've described a rocket, and we all know they don't work in the vacuum of space.
Sheesh, I thought this was the science forum!
you are one of those Aether-Skeptics, aren't you?
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Old 15th January 2022, 02:01 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Is that really your considered opinion? NASA is too institutionally stupid to consider other launch technologies? NASA, ESA, JAXA? The Soviets and the Chinese? United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin?

Tell me you hate rocket scientists without telling me you hate rocket scientists.
That's a different question isn't it? Your first question suggested that NASA initially chose between different technologies. I think it was more of a case of, "Hey, these rockets are useful, let's make NASA to do something with them."

Rather than "OK, we're making NASA now. Should we use that rocketry or something else?"
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Old 15th January 2022, 03:03 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
I think it would be easier to attach a huge rope to the Moon and pull it toward Earth with a giant winch, or maybe just have enough people pull on it like a tug-o-war. Reel it in like a big fish!
Skyhook.
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Old 15th January 2022, 03:39 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Is that really your considered opinion? NASA is too institutionally stupid to consider other launch technologies? NASA, ESA, JAXA? The Soviets and the Chinese? United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin?

Tell me you hate rocket scientists without telling me you hate rocket scientists.
A thread about one alternative being explored, even got to a testing stage: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=355280
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Old 15th January 2022, 07:31 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
A thread about one alternative being explored, even got to a testing stage: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=355280
In that thread I posted a link that gave lot of background to Gerald Bull's Space Gun. Here it is again for your edification and enjoyment:

http://www.astronautix.com/a/abriefh...rpproject.html

It answers many but not all of the questions raised in both that and this thread.
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Old 15th January 2022, 08:45 AM   #28
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In the H.G. Welles 1936 film "Things To Come" the moon cannon was described as "A lot of guns inside each other that are fired by electricity." That seems to be the way they get around the extreme acceleration problem.
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Old 15th January 2022, 09:35 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Put the propellant inside the projectile and stabilise it with fins, then you won't need the long barrel.
Unfortunately the tyranny that is the Rocket Equation sets in. Plus there's the problem with inefficient use of the potential chemical energy of the fuel.
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Old 15th January 2022, 09:35 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
In the H.G. Welles 1936 film "Things To Come" the moon cannon was described as "A lot of guns inside each other that are fired by electricity." That seems to be the way they get around the extreme acceleration problem.
I don't see how that works, acceleration is change in velocity divided by time taken. If you have a large change in velocity over a short time frame you get a large acceleration.

The method of producing the acceleration is irrelevant.
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Old 15th January 2022, 09:39 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
I think it would be easier to attach a huge rope to the Moon and pull it toward Earth with a giant winch, or maybe just have enough people pull on it like a tug-o-war. Reel it in like a big fish!
At the risk of de-snarking your excellent post, that's a really good idea, just not using the moon as an anchor. Build a really strong cable connection from the equator to a mass parked in Clarke Orbit and run cable cars up and down.


Ah, if only I could copyright the title "Murder on the Orbital Express"...
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Old 15th January 2022, 09:46 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by wollery View Post
I don't see how that works, acceleration is change in velocity divided by time taken. If you have a large change in velocity over a short time frame you get a large acceleration.

The method of producing the acceleration is irrelevant.
A conventional cannon will accelerate the projectile very rapidly at the start, and then the acceleration rate will decrease as the projectile proceeds up the barrel.
An electric cannon could use continuous acceleration over its' whole length, so that the peak acceleration is less for the same final velocity.

As shown in the film the gun is still so short that the crew would not have survived, but the principle is still sound.
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Old 15th January 2022, 09:46 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Pope130 View Post
In the H.G. Welles 1936 film "Things To Come" the moon cannon was described as "A lot of guns inside each other that are fired by electricity." That seems to be the way they get around the extreme acceleration problem.
Got an explanation for how that works? As described, it doesn't address reducing acceleration at all.

ETA: I see you later post attempts to explain it. Note that the numbers for that idea have already been posted in the thread. The "cannon" needs to be 100s of miles long to get in to ranges humans can tolerate.

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Old 15th January 2022, 09:54 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
At the risk of de-snarking your excellent post, that's a really good idea, just not using the moon as an anchor. Build a really strong cable connection from the equator to a mass parked in Clarke Orbit and run cable cars up and down.

Ah, if only I could copyright the title "Murder on the Orbital Express"...
Not sure if I'm missing your own snarkiness but, space elevators are simply not something to be promoting now. Unfortunately the subject has been colored by a scam company that started in 2003 and spread a ton of lies about how practical space elevators were and how soon they could be delivered. Having said that, the wikipedia article you cited doesn't repeat any of those lies.
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Old 15th January 2022, 10:31 AM   #35
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Is there some idiotic rule that says astronauts have to survive?

I kind of like the idea of putting french fries in the payload and having potato chips at the other end. So what if you have astronaut chips, too?
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Old 15th January 2022, 03:16 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Not sure if I'm missing your own snarkiness but, space elevators are simply not something to be promoting now. Unfortunately the subject has been colored by a scam company that started in 2003 and spread a ton of lies about how practical space elevators were and how soon they could be delivered. Having said that, the wikipedia article you cited doesn't repeat any of those lies.
Only a little.... But I was replying to shemp.

Basically beanstalks are less of a science problem, and more of an engineering one. One a suitable material for the cable is synthesised in gigametre quantities.....
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Old Yesterday, 05:44 AM   #37
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Randolph Carter went by ship.
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Old Yesterday, 05:47 AM   #38
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Man, you should have seen us on the way to Venus walking on the Milky Way, it was quite a day.
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Old Today, 12:28 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay serious question. Where are NASA's white papers studying the possibility of launch guns, and rejecting them in favor of conventional rocketry?
As mentioned in this thread, the HARP project was successfully sending projectiles into space back in the 60s. Then they stopped, mostly for political and financial reasons.
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