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From: m.driussi@genie.geis.com
Subject: (urth) a dog's life
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 98 02:53:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #3679491 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET01#

Hello Damien Broderick, and welcome aboard!

Way back when (deep in the archives?), I was arguing that the
world of "Tracking Song" was Mars-like if not Mars: the lesser
gravity, the two moons.  I also thought that the sky mirror was
really a sky mirror, put there in geostationary orbit by the space
beings to reflect more sunlight onto the apparently ice age-locked
world in order to warm the surface and melt the ice.  Fairly
standard terraforming stuff, from the 1995 textbook (and presumably
from popular sf long before then).

I sure hope the world is not, as you suggest, a tide-locked
satellite!  (Oh wait--you didn't say "satellite of a super jovian
world," which is what people always say when they are speculating
along these lines, hoping for a world like Titan, terraformed into
something more comfortable.)  Science seems to work against such
notions.  If world is orbiting a jovian, then it is also bathed in
steady radiation from Van Allen belts.  If orbiting a terrestrial
world, and tide-locked, then its day is bound to be too long (i.e.,
Luna's "day" is 28 days long); Roche Limit dictates how close in it
can come and not break up, yet the closer in, the larger the primary
looms (Luna looks plenty big now).  And, as you noted, it would seem
impossible for a satellite to have "moons" of its own, so these must
be reassigned to different orbits, meaning that for observers on the
"TS" world they will not behave as "moons" but as "planets."

(I've been doing a lot of research on "satellites of super jovians"
scenarios in the past year or so, FWIW . . . they first became
popular probably due to Rand Corporation study PLANETS FOR MAN in the
60s, but knowledge of our local jovians has increased much since then
and put some rather titanic gashes into the whole concept . . . )


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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