Monday, April 20, 2009
In the last post I talked about vacationing on Venus, for the people who would prefer to vacation somewhere bit cooler than the melting point of lead The Kuiper belt (pronounced like Viper) offers an average temperature of 50K or -369 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature substances that would normally be a gas like methane are solid, leading to great fun.
Have an Interplanetary Snowball Fight.
Although most of the attention goes to the Kuiper belt’s dwarf planets like Pluto and Xena, there are over 70,000 minor planetary bodies in the belt, any number of them might form a binary system.
If you choose the right binary system, you can stand on one while a friend stands on the other. If the body is small enough you could throw a snowball fast enough so it achieved escape velocity. With a good aim you could hit your friend on the other minor planet.
After some practice you can have some really fancy throws and place your snowball into a sub-orbit of the body your friend is standing on so that it goes around the planetoid and hits them from behind. If you get your timing just right you could hit them in the front and back at the same exact time.
Building a mile high Snowman.
If you’re interested in doing something a little more creative, you can build a huge snowman. Simply find three Kuiper object, one roughly ½ a mile in diameter, one 2/6th a mile and one 1/6 a mile and stack them on top of each other. Their mutual gravity will keep them together but they won’t have enough gravity to collapse. Find a few darker objects that were ejected from the inner solar system for eyes and some bits from a smashed Kuiper object for a nose and arms and you’ve got a snowman that will last for a few centuries at least.
Things to talk to your travel agent about.
Make sure you book a fast ship. At the speed the Apollo spacecraft went to the Moon it would take roughly 95 to 158 years to reach the Kuiper belt, depending on which part you wished to visit. If you don’t mind spending 190 to 316 years traveling this is fine, but if you have other plans (and a normal lifespan) you might want to consider something a little speedier.
The Kuiper belt has water in the form of ice (as well as hydrocarbons like methane and ammonia) but little else in the way of amenities so make sure your travel arrangements include the little things, like air and food.
If you liked this post, you may enjoy reading the rest of the Space Tourism series.
Space Tourism Series
Venus: Not just for Lovers
Mars: For the Adventurous
Titan: Extreme Surfing
Ganymede: A Great Place For Scuba Diving
Moon: Tranquility Base