Re: A case for the eradication of unmanned Mars missions

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Fri, 10 Dec 1999 16:58:03 -0800 (PST)

> Now if the capture cable was bungi cord, with the other end attached to an
> outbound vehicle, you could catch one and launch one at the same time. :-)
> Hmmm. A bungi cord launch system? Setting aside the excessive complexity
> of a simultaneous capture and launch arrangement, I wonder if this has any
> merit. It certainly is elegant in its simplicity.

The sport of cycling currently uses this idea in an event called the "Madison" (from which Madison Square Garden got its name--cycling was a very popular sport earlier in the century). Two cyclists compete as a team racing around a circular track, but only the lead rider of the team counts, so one rider takes 2 or 3 hard laps while eir teammate relaxes uptrack, then they switch. To accomplish the switch, the new rider (currently going slowly) reaches an arm back for the fast rider approaching him from behind, then the fast rider slings the slow rider into center track, simultaneously speeding em up and slowing emself down. The newly slung rider now becomes the lead rider (the laps he skipped are ignored). All this is done on a track full of other such teams doing the same thing, on bikes with fixed gears and no brakes.

At any rate, the idea does have merit.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC