Re: Universal Schelling points (was SPORT: Ready? . . . Break!)

Eric Watt Forste (
Mon, 10 Feb 1997 12:24:10 -0800

T. 0. Morrow writes:
>So I'm led to ask: Were you an intelligence wandering free and
>lonely in the galaxy, where would you head to meet others? What,
>in other words, constitutes a universal Schelling point?

Last time I checked this stuff out, I became fond of M87. It's the
largest known galaxy in the Virgo Supercluster, it's fairly close
to the center of gravity of the Virgo Supercluster, and it has a
monstrous jet of energy squirting out of it which would be fun to
investigate, and might be quite useful for high-energy physics
experiments, etc. (The Local Group of galaxies hangs out on the
edge of the Virgo Supercluster, for those of you who don't already
know.) One possible problem with M87 is that it is a giant elliptical,
and last time I looked into the astrophysics of galactic evolution,
there seemed to be reasons to believe that elliptical galaxies are not
as rich in the heavy elements (and might even be *carbon-poor*, horror
of horrors) as spiral galaxies. So perhaps M100 instead?

More recently, though, I've entered a more practical-minded phase,
so I spend a lot more time thinking about carbonaceous chondrites
(and short-period comets) in Earth-approaching orbits. 2100 Ra-Shalom
and so forth. I will be watching the NEAR mission to 433 Eros with
great interest: it will be interesting following a mission that's
being run from Johns Hopkins in Maryland and not from JPL in
Pasadena. The spirit of Clementine lives on! Speaking of Schelling
points, where can I find a list of known near-Earth objects ranked
by roundtrip delta-vee from Earth? I'm having trouble finding
references and my celestial mechanics is still inadequate to make
the task of calculating delta-vees WRT Earth from the raw orbital
elements anything but daunting. But I'm working on it. I should just
give in and get a copy of Dance of the Planets, I know.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++