1st SDC Goldberg Prize

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najab

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Reading the "Russia to measure ISS mass" thread I realised two things: (1) This forum is full of geeks; and (2) we Geeks love Geek Humor.<p>That said, I hearby announce the Goldberg prize. Named after everyone's favorite 'inventor' Rube Goldberg, the objective of this first competition is to devise the most innovative way to determine the mass of the ISS. Entries must use valid principles of Physics to determine the mass as precisely and exactly as possible. Marks will be deducted for use of unobtanium, extra points are awarded for identifying the shortcomings of the method and suggesting ways to increase the accuracy.<p>Well, there's your challenge. The winner will be decided by acclaimation (or, more likely, it will erupt into another flame war). Ladies and Gentlemen - start your thought processes!</p></p>
 
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najab

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My idea: Build a fleet of satellite telescopes and launch them out to Pluto orbit. Set them up as a very large baseline interferometer and use it to measure the wobble induced on the Earth by the ISS. The shortcoming of this method is that there may be other objects in a similar orbit which would also perturb the Earth, so I propose a large Lunar laser to destroy all objects in the same orbital plane.
 
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najab

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silylene had posted in the other thread:<br /><br />We could measure the mass by relativistic frame drag, if we put an atomic clock on the space station, and then compare to a reference atomic clock.<br />
 
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davf

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And would you call the "Laser" the 'Alan Parson's Project'??? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> Is it just me, or is everyone sounding a little punch drunk after the forum crash? I kind of like it, though...
 
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CalliArcale

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Yes! Embrace your geekness! <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /><br /><br />Since wildly impractical "solutions" are obviously permissable, here's mine:<br /><br />Send space shuttles up to dismantle the ISS and bring it down, piece by piece. During this time, no thruster firings or waste dumps will be permitted, no resupply will occur, and it has to be done fast so the ISS's orbit doesn't decay. Weigh the pieces on Earth. Add them all up. There's your total.<br /><br />Drawbacks: the ISS will be useless afterwards, the CAIB recommendations as well as pretty much all of the previous Shuttle flight rules will have to be tossed out the window, and I think the crew will probably run out of consumables and starve long before the project is finished (and if they don't, they'll probably be pretty pissed by the time the Zvezda module is done being weighed). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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Leovinus

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How to measure the mass of the ISS.<br /><br />1) Attach a rocket motor to the Russian end along the main axis.<br />2) Suspend a lab mouse in mid-air at the farthest end of the Destiny lab.<br />3) Fire the rocket motor.<br />4) Measure the diameter of the splat on the wall in the Russian module. The bigger the splat, the smaller the mass of the ISS. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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dan_casale

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A mouse splat table will have to be developed. Mice will have to be kept on a very controlled diet so that their splatability will not be a rogue data element.<br /><br />I'm sure that PETA will want to be involved in the study.
 
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bobw

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I've got an idea for a measurement that doesn't require that you know the mass of the progress in advance. If you know the thrust and measure the strength of the GRAVITY WAVES emitted by the accelerating mass you can get an answer for total mass. Undock and measure them again during the retro burn for the mass of the progress. Maybe some future version like Super-LIGO 7 will be able to do it the job. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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alek_a

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Go to the SETI forum and politely ask the members to inquire with their alien couterparts what is the mass of the ISS. Add that they dont have to ask that if they had an anal probe scheduled for that day.
 
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semiliterate

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I'll take a crack at it...<br /><br />Send up a 1 km cable (mass per unit length measured) and a 100,000 kg counterweight. Attach cable to ISS and spin the tethered system. Once the system have reach equilibrium, send a "crawler" with a very precise accelerometer up and down the tether. Measure the "gravity gradient" to find the center of rotation. Simple math gets you the mass of the ISS.<br /><br />Drawback: ISS is not built to withstand spinning, so it would probably break apart. And since spinning a tethered system have not yet been attempted we could have the cable wrapping around the ISS till the counterweight crashes into it. Also, the artificial gravity will mess up all those precious 0-g experiments.<br /><br />_____<br /><br />1 post down ... 999,999 to go<br /><br />
 
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silylene old

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<i>silylene had posted in the other thread: <br /><br />We could measure the mass by relativistic frame drag, if we put an atomic clock on the space station, and then compare to a reference atomic clock. </i><br /><br />Thank you najaB. I was wondering if my geeky humor was going unnoticed. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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silylene old

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Am I allowed a second submission?<br /><br /><b>Second submission:</b><br />We will measure the mass of the ISS by determining its neutrino "shadow" as the ISS transits between our neutrino emitter and our neutrino detector.<br /><br />First, we need a reliable luminous source of neutrinos which are being emitted with a known neutrino flux. I reject the use of the sun as a neutrino source, because we wish to do nighttime measurements, and working during the day would absolutely interefere with surfing.<br /><br />Our neutrino source will be a nuclear reactor, located on the moon. To maximize the neutrino emission, this reactor will be of the Chernobyl design, minus the protective pile cover plate (which, as we know, serves only a placebo in the event of a pile meltdown).<br /><br />Our neutrino detector will be located 3000 meter deep underwater, off of Maui. This is a great location, as the surf is wonderful, and the ocean depths would shield the detector from stray radiation.<br /><br />During nights with a visible moon, the lunar-Chernobyl reactor will be directly overhead, spewing neutrinos directly towards our underwater detector off Maui. Measurements will be taken to establish a statistically secure baseline as a function of angular altitude. We plan to ignore taking measurements while the moon is below the horizon, because those will be evenings set aside for partying.<br /><br />We will then measure neutrino flux measurements as the ISS passes directly (transits) between the lunar-Chernobyl and Maui. The distinct neutrino shadow caused by the ISS transit will be proportional to the ISS-mass, and calculable with knowledge of the neutrino-nucleon inelastic cross sections according to the equations published by K. Hagiwara et al., Phys. Rev. D 66 (Review of Particle Physics 2002) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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Though I'm not myself a surfer, I applaud your proposal, as it takes into account the highly important needs of the research team for therapeutic stress relief. <img src="/images/icons/tongue.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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