This topic contains 33 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of Anna Villani Anna Villani 5 years, 9 months ago.

Big Problem with the Science in Episode 4

  • Avatar of Anna Villani

    I put the laughter in manslaughter.

    Avatar of

    Jeff — no problem bringing the heat to the story. Junkies are always welcome to get in there and tear it apart. I’m clearly held to a higher standard than a lot of scifi writers, because I use modern-day settings. Throw a typical intergalactic spaceship in the mix, maybe a few aliens that magically can talk like us, and presto — no more complaints. Make the main characters the same as you and I, however, watching cable and knocking back pizza, and now everything needs to be much more "realistic."

    However, check out the book "Unconventional Flying Objects" by Paul R. Hill. He’s a former engineer for NASA and the Air Force. He spent twenty-six years gathering observational data about UFOs, and formulated a theory as to their reported performance. As he says, UFOs obey, not defy, the laws of physics. 

    It was all I could do to keep up with this book, but you should have a much better time understanding the math considering your knowledge base. I wanted to base the alien Orbital on a logical, reasonable premise for acceleration, hovering, energy source, etc., and used this book for that basis. 

    Give it a read and then email me to let me know what you think (scott@scottsigler.net) or post it here. 

    Avatar of Joseph Cartwright

    the science of our forefathers has advanced to far beyond them that

    if they were to be here now they would see magic. 

    if you told them it possible to have wireless communication, they would 

    say it was not possible because of their rules and knowledge of their time.

    so the FDO is bringing in new ideas that make us stretch our imagination.

    Clarke, Asimov, Norton cae up with ideas that scientist of the time said

    was not ever going to happen. 

    Clarke designed our satelite systems and we still use them.

    its a book, Suspension of disbelief and the Magnanimous FDO will

    set it all right.

    Avatar of Mathis Wrenn

    that is part of my signature…..

    (signature starts here)The Platypus is a Semi-Aquatic Mammal

    "I have much respect for Delhome’s douchbaggery"

    -Scott Sigler

    Avatar of Wolf

    We all know how the FDO can alter time. Who’s to say he’s not from the future, writing history books to sell as fiction so he can make enough money to fix his time machine, which got a little busted up when he landed on a cow in the middle of a field somewhere in northern Michigan? 

     WOOF, WOOF

    Avatar of James 'Puke' Schmill

    It’s an alien probe thingy trying to kill us all! Why can’t it just hang in orbit where ever the hell it wants?

    It is fiction after all.

     

     

    http://www.freetalklive.com

    Avatar of Shirley Bruce

    Where did that website and radio program come from and why haven’t I heard about it before?????  Now that’s what I’m talking about – real beer!!!!!

    "Well. I’ll tell you what. You gonna kick it with me. Or I’m gonna kick you out. What you think of that?" Sister Mary Clarence 

    Avatar of Derek Sheldon

    OK. Realm of possibility…

    I guess I am just saying that the time frame seemed like a stretch and popped right out at me in the beginning of the book. Seems like the Achiles would be even worse than the knee.
    As far as the original topic the orbital, if Bill DeSmedt was an advisor then that’s good enough for me. He makes some pretty wild stuff sound convincing.

    Avatar of Tim Feely

    I try to follow the science the best I can. I should have listened to my Dad and taken those courses in college.

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

     Full size poodles rock!

    Thank you, George Hrab, for composing and performing the acoustic version of brainsbodyboth. Humorous yet poignant, and you gave me a theme song. I miss Ally <sigh>

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

     Don’t go insulting the noble platypus, sir!

    Thank you, George Hrab, for composing and performing the acoustic version of brainsbodyboth. Humorous yet poignant, and you gave me a theme song. I miss Ally <sigh>

    Avatar of Jeff Bearer

    I mean yes there is a problem with the word "Orbit" and I’ll let that go, you understand the point I’m trying to make on that one.  But the problem for me compounds itself, like I tried to explain.   The way the story reads,  it entered orbit around earth and happenstance put it over Perry’s hometown.  That is slick and awesome.

    But since such an orbit is not possible.  It takes the device a lot more work to stay in that spot.  And I fail to see a good strategic advantage for doing that. I have to chalk it up to not understanding a soon to be football loving alien race.

    sorry for being so anal.  This little thing took me out of the story, and I know you like trying to fix things like that.

    Jeff Bearer

    – Junkie since Earth Core Episode 5 

    – Host of Craft Beer Radio – http://www.craftbeerradio.com

    Avatar of

    It’s completely about semantics. Let me explain why I feel that way:

    1) So it looks like the big issue here is the definition of the word "orbit," correct? You’re hinging all of your statements upon a specific definition of that word. If I’m following this correctly, and I use the words "the object hovered over the same spot at an altitude of 40 miles" instead of the words "geostationary orbit," than all of this would be moot? If that is the case, then yes, it’s semantics, because we’re debating the definition of a word, not the ability for the fictional object to maintain a position. 

    2) And if I also read what you’re saying, if this object is using some form of propulsion to get the job done, then it’s not a real "orbit."  Or rather, it’s not a truly sustainable orbit (i.e. it can orbit, but would either crash or fly away, eventually), for as I’m reading your stance, the only true sustainable orbit can not include thrust or bouyancy to maintain a position. So if I’m reading that right (and I might be reading it wrong, granted), it’s again the definition of an orbit that stipulates it can’t be aided by thrust or other vectors.

    <<If you move in closer to the earth,  you still are travelling the same
    speed 17,000 mph, but your linear distance to get back to your starting
    point is shorter so the orbit takes less than 24 hours.>>

    If you wanted maintain a fixed position relative to one spot, and you moved closer to the Earth, why wouldn’t you slow down? That’s like saying that if you’re tailing someone who is driving 60MPH, and you’re going 60MPH, that if they slow down to 40MPH you would slam into them — which you would, unless you do the most common sense thing in the world and adjust your relative speed. Ergo, if you are in orbit (sorry, if you are "hovering"), and you move closer to the Earth, you reduce speed to maintain a fixed location over one spot. This requires energy — and, of course, it’s impossible to do this, because no energy source could ever allow the object to sustain a position through " the thick atmosphere at 100 ft." Which in itself doesn’t aid the discussion, as the object is fighting with the atmosphere at 40 miles, not 100 feet. 

    SUMMARY AS I UNDERSTAND IT:

    Things can maintain a fixed orbit relative to one spot on the Earth, but once inside of 17,000, miles (or away from the equator), they are using some form of thrust and are, therefore, no longer "orbiting."

    <<Who would want to read about Pellippe Dossey and his soccer accident that blew out his knees anyway.>>

    True

    <<Just say it’s there to take over and turn the Lions into a winning franchise and I’ll be good.>>

    Dude, I write scifi/horror, not fantasy. Nothing can turn the Lions into a winning franchise.

    Avatar of

    Keep in mind Perry isn’t going to the pros, and doesn’t need full mobility or range of motion. "Completely heal" might be a stretch, the guy just needs to get around to get the job done. Timeline is the book begins six weeks after Dew shoots Perry in INFECTED. Add to that the best doctors in the world working on him (see further episodes), and it seemed within the range of possibility he’s up and around.

    Avatar of Anna Villani

    it must be right. If that’s not how it is now that’s how it will be once the Ascention begins. 

    I put the laughter in manslaughter.

    Avatar of Jeff Bearer

    There is no Z chromosone in orbital physics,  if he comes back and explains it better i’ll relent.

    oh wait you are talking about perry,  nevermind.

    Jeff Bearer

    – Junkie since Earth Core Episode 5

    – Host of Craft Beer Radio – http://www.craftbeerradio.com

    Avatar of Jeff Bearer

    I don’t feel that it’s a case of semantics but rather a case of physics.  And all I’m trying to do is to help you improve on what I feel is an un-realistic description of the phenomenon.

    If an object is in a LEO at 160 miles up, and that same object drops to 80 miles, but falls no further, you’re saying it is no longer "in orbit?" What would you call it, then?

    No an object can orbit at any altitude.  The key is that orbiting objects are in free fall.   They are being pulled into the earth by gravity, but as a coincidence of their speed, they keep missing the earth.  If you were at 100 ft over the surface, and traveling around 17,000 mph you would be in orbit.  The earth would be pulling you down, but by the time you dropped the 100 ft, you traveled around the earth, and the earth curved away another 100 ft.   If you are traveling any faster, you would gain altitude and eventually head off into space.  if you were going any slower you would lose altitude and crash into the earth.  All of this is ignoring the drag, friction and energy it would take to move something at 17,000 mph through the thick atmosphere at 100 ft.

    The problem is that the probe can’t be travelling 17,000 miles per hour and hover over the oak tree.  The math and science just do not work out.   To be fixed at a point in space over the tree you would be traveling at some speed less than 17,000mph  and at that point gravity wins and will pull you into the earth.  For the object to stay in that place it needs to have thrust or buoyancy like a helicopter, jetpack, balloon, or some exotic alien propulsion system.  I’d stay away from anti-gravity as it’s more fantasy than science fiction according to what I’ve heard scientists say about it.

    What is the exact distance at which an object stops orbiting and starts hovering?

    It is not tied to altitude, it has to do with how it’s overcoming the pull of gravity.  Orbiting means it’s in freefall around an object, hovering means that a force is being applied in an equal and opposite direction to gravity to keep it up.

    "Geo" means "Earth," "stationary" means "unmoving." Just because something doesn’t fit the current definition of geostationary doesn’t mean it is not geostationary.

    It 100% is geostationary,  I have no argument there,  just appending orbit to that word is my issue.

    If that point is over the equator at 26.000 miles, you call it geostationary; that some object fixed above a non-equatorial point that is below 26,000 miles, you say it is not geostationary.

    Correct,   If you are in a geostationary orbit at 26,000 miles the amount of time it takes you to orbit the earth at 17,000 miles per hour and get back to your starting point is 24 hours.  Coincidentally the earth takes 24 hours to rotate, so if you are over the equator and look down you will see the same palm tree the entire time.

    If you are not on the equator, your direction of travel and the direction of rotation won’t line up and the ground beneath you will move in some form or another.

    If you move in closer to the earth,  you still are travelling the same speed 17,000 mph, but your linear distance to get back to your starting point is shorter so the orbit takes less than 24 hours.  If you moved farther away from the earth, the opposite happens and it would take greater than 24 hours to make one orbit.

    It gets back to the size and gravitational pull of the earth dictate how fast you have to go to stay in orbit and unless you change the size or mass of the earth, you are stuck with 17,000 mph as the speed for orbiting  (mostly).

    If you are a sniper, and the range of your weapon is 1,000 yards, it does you no good to be undetectable at 3,000 yards
    No arguments here.

    As for Brazil, the Congo, etc.,
    I only brought that up for fun.  Who would want to read about Pellippe Dossey and his soccer accident that blew out his knees anyway.

    An object moving in orbit is highly detectable.

    So then why is your probe in "orbit"?  The story reads that it fell into a random geosync orbit, which just happened to be over Michigan.  It’s a great way to explain why there.   It’s simple, efficient, and logical.  But since such an orbit is not possible, it’s not random any more that it’s over Michigan, it’s determined to stay there, and not having a good reason bugs the hell out of me.

    I wish your proposed orbit was possible,  because it fits so well into the story.  But alas, I have to call bullshit on the premise.  Just say it’s there to take over and turn the Lions into a winning franchise and I’ll be good.

    Jeff Bearer

    - Junkie since Earth Core Episode 5 

    - Host of Craft Beer Radio – http://www.craftbeerradio.com

    Avatar of Derek Sheldon

    If he says… oh, let’s say… a severed Achilles Tendon can completely heal in a month, to the point where it is hardly worth mentioning in the sequel, then it just can alright!

    Avatar of Mathis Wrenn

    If Scott says the Sky is the color of rotten pumpernikle…. then thats what I’ll believe..

    The Platypus is a Semi-Aquatic Mammal

    "I have much respect for Delhome’s douchbaggery"

    -Scott Sigler

    Avatar of Wolf

     it was because Scott said so. 

    WOOF, WOOF

    Avatar of Mathis Wrenn

    I would take science lessons from Scott Sigler anyday….

    The Platypus is a Semi-Aquatic Mammal

    "I have much respect for Delhome’s douchbaggery"

    -Scott Sigler

    Avatar of

    I’m home now with a bit more time to respond.

    From reading your post, your biggest issue seems to be with semantics. A low-earth orbit (LEO) is 120-1.240 miles above the Earth, depending on your source for the definition. Many define this at 160 miles instead of 120.

    What you’re saying is that because the object mentioned in the story is below the standard definition of an "orbit," it can’t be in orbit, right? It has to be "hovering." That’s a case of semantics. So, let’s address this first. If an object is in a LEO at 160 miles up, and that same object drops to 80 miles, but falls no further, you’re saying it is no longer "in orbit?" What would you call it, then?

    Now let’s look at geostationary orbits. Again, this is semantics. With the standard definition of a geostationary, it has to be "way the fuck out there." But say you’re a scientist, and you discover something 40 miles above a fixed point on the Earth. For the sake of this discussion, you can’t argue with the object or give it logic as to why it can’t exist, because it does. What do you call this this object’s positioning? What is the exact distance at which an object stops orbiting and starts hovering? 

    The object is over a fixed point on the Earth, yet it is not touching the Earth or supported by any object connected to the Earth. That’s geostationary. Call it something else if you like, but it’s still an object over one fixed point on the Earth. "Geo" means "Earth," "stationary" means "unmoving." Just because something doesn’t fit the current definition of geostationary doesn’t mean it is not geostationary. 

    As for an orbit having to "go around" the Earth, your own example is at odds with the statement in the way you present it.  The very geostationary orbit you described, the object does not "go around" the Earth at all, it is fixed over one point. As that point revolves, so too does the ojbect above it. Therefore, an orbital object can be over one point, we just haven’t seen it anywhere else other than the equator. Again, this is semantics.  An object can be fixed over one point. If that point is over the equator at 26.000 miles, you call it geostationary; that some object fixed above a non-equatorial point that is below 26,000 miles, you say it is not geostationary.

    Polar orbits are a horrible idea. Humans are technologically superior to deer, but that doesn’t mean we can crash through the woods and our superiority means the deer can’t see us. The orbital object has technology superior to ours, that doesn’t mean it can jet all over the sky and not be seen. If you want to stay hidden, the best course of action is to find a hiding spot your prey does not know about, then do not move. There’s no arguing this. Ask any hunter, stalker, sniper or soldier in the world — your best chance at staying completely undetected is to find your abmush point and then not move. Why? Because when you move, you are detectable. An object moving in orbit is highly detectable. An object in a polar orbit is highly detectible, even for something that has excellent camolflauge. 

    Plus you’re also getting ahead of the story. There is a reason the object can’t be 120, 180, or 500 miles above  the surface. Again, we go back to an ambush point. If you are a sniper, and the range of your weapon is 1,000 yards, it does you no good to be undetectable at 3,000 yards out if you have to move 2,000 yards closer before your weapon is effective. You need to be at 1,000 yards, or your weapon simply won’t do the job. So if you combine a weapon’s range with the need to be undetected, you arrive a simple logical assupmtion — you need to arrive at a point equal to or less than your weaon’s maximum distance, arrive undetected, and then remain stationary.

    As for Brazil, the Congo, etc., you’ve already stated that a geostationary orbit can only be 26,000 miles up. If your weapon is ineffective at 26,000 miles up, than Brazil, Congo, etc. is the same as any other point on the planet — which is to say, it is useless. If you have the technololgy to "hover" at 40 miles up, than the inverse of that logic occurs, which is to say that any location on the planet will work just fine. 

    The bottom line here is that you’re applying our tech and materials to this problem, which is why you think it would work better as a balloon. Here’s one of my favorite lists of things scientists confidentely described as "impossible: My favorite quote from this: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." – Lord Kelvin

    The Wright Brothers proved him wrong wrong just eight years later.

    Avatar of Thomas Dillon

    I’ve completed listening to the entire story today.  Be patient. Scott has answered. 

    btw… awesome job Scott! the book is outstanding. 

    Avatar of Jordan Willis

    G-Man

    In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies.

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

     
    Thank you, George Hrab, for composing and performing the acoustic version of brainsbodyboth. Humorous yet poignant, and you gave me a theme song. I miss Ally <sigh>

    Avatar of Mathis Wrenn

    the story is cool… so boo woo….

    The Platypus is a Semi-Aquatic Mammal

    "I have much respect for Delhome’s douchbaggery"

    -Scott Sigler

    Avatar of Chris Rogers

    You got something against poodles? Seriously funny shiz…

    Avatar of Liam McCoy

    Gravity is probably very yummy, if you think about it.

    Avatar of john bennett

    hell if it taste like chicken,bring me chicken!

                                                        rodney carigton

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

      *Perhaps* he should have used hovering instead, but that’s nit picking, even for me. The point you fail to mention is that aliens may not think like us. They are, by definition, alien!

    Thank you, George Hrab, for composing and performing the acoustic version of brainsbodyboth. Humorous yet poignant, and you gave me a theme song. I miss Ally <sigh>

    Avatar of Jeff Bearer

    Oh I’ll keep listening and reading when the book arrives.   I just wanted to air the stuff out.  It seems a poor design decision by aliens to want to hover over Michigan even if it has the technology to do so.  Much more "expensve" than orbiting 

    Your point 2 however just may have some merit,  maybe I’ll let this one slide.  

    The terms geosyncronous and orbit might be better if they were replaced with hovering.  And maybe a bit more on why it uses that method to hide.

    I only criticize because I love.  

    Jeff Bearer

    – Junkie since Earth Core Episode 5

    – Host of Craft Beer Radio – http://www.craftbeerradio.com

    Avatar of Ryan Thomsen

    It is a probe that travels for hundreds (thousands?) of years through the galaxy. I am assuming some pretty kick ass alien tech allows it to sit where it damn well pleases. Assuming it can crawl up to the slow speed of light for travel (why not) that implies some pretty damn powerful engines for a beer keg. Toss in the ability to make course corrections at any high speed and you have a propulsion device capable of some pretty serious force.

    It is capable of creating machines that control human thought and building stargates (oh yeah let the lawsuits begin). Lets assume it can hold position.

    As for that exact spot…. Maybe it likes oak trees.

    poodles can fly, for a short time, if tossed from a high enough building.

    Avatar of

    1) Keep listening and/or reading. This is only Episode #4.

    2) A big part of hunting is not being seen. A big part of not being seen is not moving. No matter how good your camolflauge is, if you’re moving, something is going to see you. There is a reason deer blinds don’t move around.

    Avatar of Jeff Bearer

    Hey Scott, and all.  I didn’t see this mentioned on the Contagious forum, and I didn’t see a search so I might of missed something.

    In episode 4 you reveal us to the machine that is in orbit droping little nasties on us.    In order to isolate the story to the Michigan, Indiana, Ohio areas you said that it was in a geostationary orbit which just happened to be over that guys oak tree.   Of which I thought was a fantastic tool to get us to look up at the probe.

    However, there are two flaws, a minor one you could over come, but  physics really fucks up your story in a bad way.   You simply can’t have a geostationary orbit over Northern Indiana.  This blows this shit out of the premise of why the infections are isolated to this area.

    First off the minor error.  A geostationary orbit is way the fuck out there. just a tad more than 50 miles. They are actually just over 26,000 miles up.  The International Space Station orbits at 217 miles and it orbits the earth once every 90 minutes.   In order for the period of the orbt to take 24 hours,  it has to be much, much much higher.  It would be easy to fix that and just change your number in the book.  Also, and I’m not sure about this next part, but "Experts" on internet seem to say that the lowest height that would be considered orbiting is 150km or 93 miles.

    Geostationary orbits can only be achieved on the equator.   An orbit has to go around the diameter of the planet,  If you wanted to circle around the planet at 41 degrees north latitude you would need constant thrust to keep you there.  Otherwise you would just spiral down and crash into the earth.  Any orbit that goes over 41 degrees north will also go over 41 degrees south.   And the probe would see most of the planet in it’s orbit.   It would need another reason to pick Michigan/Indiana/Ohio as the beach head.

    Polar orbits would be most efficient for the probe becase it would be able to map the entire planet every few days and pick the absolute best spot where no people would know until the star destroyers are deployed.

    I suppose the probe could have a alien propulsion system that can keep it over Michigan. But it does not seem very efficient.  What is the reaon why you would expend extra energy to stay over Michican, when you could orbit the whole planet, or do a geostationary over the equator for free?

    A thought is to put it inside the atmosphere,  make the thing boyant so it can float like a baloon.  However it’s going to blow in the jetstream and would also need lots of energy and a particular reason to stay over Michican.  This method would make it less problematic getting the capsules to the surface without them burning up on entry at orbital speeds. 

    If the probe is indeed going to be in orbit,  It’s orbit is going to take it all over the world unless you move the setting of the whole trilogy to Brazi, Congo, or Indonesia where a geostationary orbit will be parked over some guys palm tree.

    All in all it boils down to you need a new reason why this thing likes the midwest so much.

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