## Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

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EchoRomulus
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### Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

I heard on the science channel a telephone pole sized missile launched into space, given a gravitational tug or two, along with a small engine to direct it, could slam into the moon with the force of a nuclear explosion with no radiation.

I added "putting a telephone pole into orbit" to my bucket list. How much would that cost? Also, are there any actual laws against it?
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Izawwlgood
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Deva
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Costs \$5000 per pound to launch objects via rocket to orbital outposts. (Source. Mentioned a possible \$250 per pound method in the article.)

Disagrees on average weight. Saw 1200 pounds, 700 pounds, and 900 pounds.

Rocket
5000 * 1200 = \$6,000,000
5000 * 700 = \$3,500,000
5000 * 900 = \$4,500,000

Space Gun
250 * 1200 = \$300,000
250 * 700 = \$175,000
250 * 900 = \$225,000

Estimated \$10000 per pound here.

Did not check laws thoroughly. Holds you responsible for damages caused, however. Noticed nothing further regarding non-weapons.
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EchoRomulus
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.
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speising
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

well, the moons escape velocity is 2.38km/s, a 600kg object with that speed would yield 1699mj if i got my magnitudes right, the smallest nuke has 42000mj according to wikipedia, so, not quite.

edit: spelling

cphite
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Dr. Willpower
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

I don't believe that drawing was intentional, and why would it not be there anymore? I guess the rover's track will not disappear so quickly from the surface

Copper Bezel
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

It was very likely not intentional, just the tracks left by what the rover happened to be doing at the time. I'm going to assume that EchoRomulus was referring to the chance that the tracks would be leveled by wind or dust storms.

Dr. Willpower, that's interesting - I didn't realize that the Outer Space Treaty banned all weapons testing in space, rather than just nuclear testing. That's the bit we mostly hear about.

It's not anything anyone's unaware of, but the link is requisite - there's LCROSS. While it was referred to as "bombing the moon," it was an entirely kinetic "explosive." Still just 1/5 the yield of the smallest nukes.
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speising
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Dr. Willpower wrote:
Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

the question is what the un could actually do, in the event that a private enterprise violated this treaty. anyway, if i read this correctly, and the treaty should actually have teeth, it looks like a major obstacle to a comercial exploitation of outer space.

Tass
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Deva wrote:Costs \$5000 per pound to launch objects via rocket to orbital outposts. (Source. Mentioned a possible \$250 per pound method in the article.)

Disagrees on average weight. Saw 1200 pounds, 700 pounds, and 900 pounds.

Rocket
5000 * 1200 = \$6,000,000
5000 * 700 = \$3,500,000
5000 * 900 = \$4,500,000

Space Gun
250 * 1200 = \$300,000
250 * 700 = \$175,000
250 * 900 = \$225,000

Estimated \$10000 per pound here.

Did not check laws thoroughly. Holds you responsible for damages caused, however. Noticed nothing further regarding non-weapons.

You need more than LEO, you need escape velocity. That is more expensive.

speising wrote:well, the moons escape velocity is 2.38km/s, a 600kg object with that speed would yield 1699mj if i got my magnitudes right, the smallest nuke has 42000mj according to wikipedia, so, not quite.

edit: spelling

The OP talked about doing a couple of gravity assists first. If we swing it by Jupiter and into a retrograde solar orbit then it would hit with MUCH more force.

Deva
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Tass wrote:
Deva wrote:Numbers

You need more than LEO, you need escape velocity. That is more expensive.

Approximated the cost for "putting a telephone pole into orbit", not lunar bombardment. Submits Low Earth Orbit as a valid orbit. (Explains the \$10000/pound figure, possibly.)
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speising
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Tass wrote:
speising wrote:well, the moons escape velocity is 2.38km/s, a 600kg object with that speed would yield 1699mj if i got my magnitudes right, the smallest nuke has 42000mj according to wikipedia, so, not quite.

edit: spelling

The OP talked about doing a couple of gravity assists first. If we swing it by Jupiter and into a retrograde solar orbit then it would hit with MUCH more force.

ah, didn't understand the bit about "gravitational tugs"

gmalivuk
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Tass wrote:You need more than LEO, you need escape velocity. That is more expensive.
Only by about 50%, which is less than the difference between low and high telephone-pole mass estimates.
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firechicago
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

It's worth noting that the 42,000 MJ figure is for a nuclear artillery shell which actually had a slightly lower yield than the largest conventional bunker-busters in the current US arsenal. At .1kT, it was a full three orders of magnitude smaller than the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so using it as your benchmark for "the force of a nuclear explosion" is a bit like saying that an area of half a square kilometer is "as big as a country" because it's bigger than the Vatican.

cphite
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Dr. Willpower wrote:
cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

If you have the money and the means to launch telephone pole sized rods into space and slam them into the moon, you surely have the money to bribe one of the several nations that haven't signed the treaty to let you launch from their land. Aside from publicly condemning you, there isn't anything the UN could do about it.

Tass
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

cphite wrote:
Dr. Willpower wrote:
cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

If you have the money and the means to launch telephone pole sized rods into space and slam them into the moon, you surely have the money to bribe one of the several nations that haven't signed the treaty to let you launch from their land. Aside from publicly condemning you, there isn't anything the UN could do about it.

Buying a standard launch vehicle from one of the usual launch providers legally and bribing an illicit launch against a UN treaty from a country likely with no prior space program would carry a price tag that is orders of magnitude different.
Last edited by Tass on Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Dr. Willpower
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Copper Bezel wrote:Dr. Willpower, that's interesting - I didn't realize that the Outer Space Treaty banned all weapons testing in space, rather than just nuclear testing. That's the bit we mostly hear about.

Please do not confuse my ability to wiki, with me being an expert on the subject (har har).
Upon rereading, it appears to not explicitly ban non-nuclear weapons. (According to another page, the russians had an orbital bombardment satellite that was not in violation of this treaty). But it does ban military establishments.

So I guess you could probably pull this off without any serious consequences.

Hat me, bro

speising
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

or, just disguise it a Science!, like LCROSS did.

EchoRomulus
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

But it should be moving at at last the earth's escape velocity, 11.2km/s.

So I got 3.7 Terajoules....which I am 99.975% sure is wrong for a 600 KG object.

Anyone else get the right answer?
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gmalivuk
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

EchoRomulus wrote:But it should be moving at at last the earth's escape velocity, 11.2km/s.
No, because something that leaves the surface of Earth at that velocity will be traveling at less than 1.5km/s by the time it reaches the orbit of the Moon (though of course if it hits the Moon itself it will be sped up some by the Moon's own gravity, to about 2.8km/s if I've calculated things correctly).

So I got 3.7 Terajoules....which I am 99.975% sure is wrong for a 600 KG object.

Anyone else get the right answer?
I got 37GJ, suggesting that you added a 0 or two while doing your calculation.
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EchoRomulus
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Things slow down in empty space?
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speising
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

EchoRomulus wrote:Things slow down in empty space?

it's not empty. there are gravitons in it.

gmalivuk
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

They slow down for the same reason that a ball you throw up in the air slows down: Earth's gravity.

Escape velocity just means the velocity something needs at Earth's surface in order to eventually escape its gravitational influence entirely, but it still slows down as it ascends, just like things moving more slowly do.
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cphite
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Tass wrote:
cphite wrote:
Dr. Willpower wrote:
cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

If you have the money and the means to launch telephone pole sized rods into space and slam them into the moon, you surely have the money to bribe one of the several nations that haven't signed the treaty to let you launch from their land. Aside from publicly condemning you, there isn't anything the UN could do about it.

Buying a standard launch vehicle from one of the usual launch providers legally and bribing an illicit launch against a UN treaty from a country likely with no prior space program would carry a price tag that is orders of magnitude different.

Ever hear of North Korea? They have successfully launched items into space, and the regime running the place is just that special level of bat-shit-crazy where the idea of chucking something at the moon would probably sound like a great idea...

The fact that it goes against a UN treaty would mean very little to a country that isn't signed into the treaty.

Tass
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

cphite wrote:
Tass wrote:
cphite wrote:
Dr. Willpower wrote:
cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

If you have the money and the means to launch telephone pole sized rods into space and slam them into the moon, you surely have the money to bribe one of the several nations that haven't signed the treaty to let you launch from their land. Aside from publicly condemning you, there isn't anything the UN could do about it.

Buying a standard launch vehicle from one of the usual launch providers legally and bribing an illicit launch against a UN treaty from a country likely with no prior space program would carry a price tag that is orders of magnitude different.

Ever hear of North Korea? They have successfully launched items into space, and the regime running the place is just that special level of bat-shit-crazy where the idea of chucking something at the moon would probably sound like a great idea...

The fact that it goes against a UN treaty would mean very little to a country that isn't signed into the treaty.

But it is still going to cost a lot of money compared to buying a Falcon or Ariane.

cphite
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### Re: Telephone poles and nuclear bombs.

Tass wrote:
cphite wrote:
Tass wrote:
cphite wrote:
Dr. Willpower wrote:
cphite wrote:
EchoRomulus wrote:So I could probably do it if I win the lottery.

...brings up an interesting question. Would I be liable for damages to the moon? I mean....I don't think there are any vandalism laws for space.

We DID draw a penis on Mars afterall..Doubtful it's still there but we did do it.

Liable to whom? Nobody owns the moon. You might get into trouble launching a rocket from whatever country you launch, but there are no laws against vandalizing the moon.

Yeah, but you're forgetting that space treaty which makes celestial objects property of the globe. You'd basically have the UN to answer to. I think if all you did was change the lunar surface there wouldn't be too much repercussion. Then again, there is an explicit clause against testing weapons in space, so you could probably fall into violation of that treaty. I'm not sure how the US works, but breaking an international treaty might not be a good idea.

If you have the money and the means to launch telephone pole sized rods into space and slam them into the moon, you surely have the money to bribe one of the several nations that haven't signed the treaty to let you launch from their land. Aside from publicly condemning you, there isn't anything the UN could do about it.

Buying a standard launch vehicle from one of the usual launch providers legally and bribing an illicit launch against a UN treaty from a country likely with no prior space program would carry a price tag that is orders of magnitude different.

Ever hear of North Korea? They have successfully launched items into space, and the regime running the place is just that special level of bat-shit-crazy where the idea of chucking something at the moon would probably sound like a great idea...

The fact that it goes against a UN treaty would mean very little to a country that isn't signed into the treaty.

But it is still going to cost a lot of money compared to buying a Falcon or Ariane.

Okay, fine... so for budgetary reasons, you purchase the vehicle in a country that has an active space program, under false pretenses...

In most countries the only real legal issue is getting authorization to launch something into space. Once you have that - again, you're probably going to want to lie about your intentions - you just have to keep quiet about what you're doing. This is where hiring quality henchmen becomes important. Once you've launched, it's too late. You'll probably have a hell of a time getting authorization to launch something ever again, but unless your country has laws on the books that actually forbid what you did, you're probably not going to face much more than some bad publicity.