Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Asteroid Belt: Not as Dense as Advertised

This is a scene that is repeated over and over again in movies, books, games and any other area where science fiction has a place. Our protagonists are in a ship, it's being pursued hotly by some alien doom vessel trying to destroy them, and their only chance at escape/survival is to dive into the asteroid belt and hope that the alien pilot can't keep up with the many collisions and flying rocks! Basically, flying through a scene that looks very much like this:

This scene has one very large mistake in it: space is very, very big. There are two consequences of this; the first is that it is unlikely that one will find an entire asteroid belt that is full enough of rocks to have this scene at all, but there will be more on this later. The second consequence is that most space flight "chases" are going to be taking place with the ships light seconds apart, with the chasing ship firing, and then waiting to see if the shot hit or not. There is a small subset of people who might enjoy that type of scene, and this is the type of person who likes submarine thrillers; who waits on pins and needles to see if the shot fired hits and if the ship was detected soon enough for the enemy to get their own firing solution. But for most people, having 20 minutes of movie waiting to detect an explosion five light minutes away would be pretty boring.

The truth of the matter is, although the asteroid belt is a comparatively densely packed part of space, there just aren't that many rocks in there. The entire asteroid belt of our solar system is only 4% the mass of the Earth's moon! Even more interesting, more than half of the total mass is contained in the four largest asteroids. What this means is that a spacecraft is not very likely to find an asteroid, let alone have to dodge around one. According to Alan Stern of Space Daily, there is a less than 1 in 1,000,000,000 (billion) chance that a ballistic trajectory satellite would hit even one of them when passing through the asteroid belt. To give some perspective on the amount of rock this is, if one were to smash up all the rocky planets in the solar system and place them in the asteroid belt, there would be 10,000 times as much rock as is in the belt right now. This would only bring a ship up to a 1 in 100,000, chance of hitting something when passing through the asteroid belts, assuming that the size distribution was similar to what it is now, and that the ship doesn't dodge. So, the odds of hitting a rock in the asteroid belt with a ballistic ship are similar to the odds of throwing a rock in the ocean and randomly hitting a whale. This would seem to be an unreasonable amount of rocky material to have in a single system. Real asteroid belts are hard to tell apart from the rest of the system from the inside.

So, the moral here is that if a chase scene of this type is needed, have it be near a planet. Maybe a moon broke up, maybe they've been dragging rocks nearby for mining purposes, maybe the planet just has unusually thick rings. But having an entire asteroid belt this dense is over the top.


  1. Most sci-fi these days is nothing more than science fantasy. Not only is "flying" through an asteroid field absurd, but there are no aerodynamics in space, like you had in Star Wars.

  2. ray ban sunglasses, http://www.raybansunglassesonline.in.net/
    true religion jeans, http://www.truereligionjean.in.net/
    michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkors-outlets.us.com/
    coach handbags, http://www.coachhandbagsoutletonline.us.com/
    mbt shoes, http://www.mbtshoesoutlet.us.com/
    tiffany and co jewelry, http://www.tiffanyandco.in.net/
    tiffany outlet, http://www.tiffany-outlet.us.com/
    louis vuitton, http://www.borselouisvuittonoutlet.it/
    ugg outlet, http://www.uggsoutlet.us.org/
    north face outlet, http://www.thenorthface.me/
    michael kors outlet, http://www.michaelkorsusa.us/
    hermes outlet, http://www.hermesoutletstore.us.com/
    soccer jerseys, http://www.cheapsoccerjersey.net/
    ugg boots, http://www.uggboot.com.co/
    ugg boots, http://www.uggbootsclearance.in.net/
    ghd hair straighteners, http://www.ghdhairstraightenerssale.co.uk/
    oakley sunglasses wholesale, http://www.oakleysunglasses-wholesale.us.com/
    montblanc pens, http://www.montblanc-pens.com.co/
    coach outlet, http://www.coachoutletstoreonline.in.net/
    michael kors handbags, http://www.michaelkorshandbagsoutletstore.us.com/
    ed hardy clothing, http://www.edhardy.us.com/
    karen millen dresses, http://www.karenmillendressesoutlets.co.uk/
    cheap oakley sunglasses, http://www.cheapoakleysunglassess.us.com/
    ralph lauren shirts, http://www.poloralphlaurenshirts.us.com/
    jordan shoes, http://www.jordan-shoes.us.com/
    adidas outlet store, http://www.adidasoutletstore.us.com/
    lebron james shoes, http://www.lebronjamesshoes.in.net/
    cheap wedding dresses, http://www.cheap-weddingdresses.net/

  3. Gaming world where everyone entertained with games like Run 3 unblocked or Run 4 unblocked or Run unblocked . The adventure racing game as Car Racing Games or game that a lot of people like the Super Mario Unblocked or Donkey Kong Unblocked is also very attractive. Have fun!

  4. head soccer is young children dream of scoring goals, creating their own celebrations, making headlines, baffling opponents, being superstars and virtually ruling the game with a lot of games head soccer unblockedhead soccer 2 or soccer heads and Big Head Soccer . Big Head Football or big head basketball and unblocked games are also famous games.

  5. your post's Personal privacy over-blog.com/ Setting is Public then just we can utilize it.choose Official Website the picture which you want suches DIRECT 4LIKER DOWNLOAD OFFICIAL TUTORIAL - PC, APK, IPHONE as from below either for cover photos or for 4Liker an account images. After choosing click the SUBMIT button.Currently 4Liker App enter the ID message ID as well as link below.

  6. When I think of the brand name Thule, I generally zohosites.com/ think of bike shelfs. So, needless to say, I was rather shocked Website when I found out that they likewise made infant strollers, specifically high quality strollers.Top Rated Convertible Car Seats 2017 Reviewed The Child Jogger Top X3 stroller is one of the highest possible ranked stroller.

  7. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. Game 2018 Download Free

  8. This really is information that is often required by your browser furthermore kept in the computers RAM to reduce enough time that it takes for your method to respond to a specific page demand. However online data furthermore sites are now being frequently updated instantly making sure that clearing each cache or short-term la red data does stop your browser off loading a out-of-date page, file, or image. It also helps you to dramatically enhance the rate and gratification of the browser as this time it's a smaller stack of information to find thru for each simply click.friv games are remarkably popular through hardcore players, consequently, bring a distinctive mention too. Of all online games, battling video games will be the most well-known video gaming. Based on the development observed in will internets gambling field, typical players take pleasure in primary creating choices video games additionally less specialized 3D designs video games. Ordinary avid gamers just like even more sophisticated video games.There is certainly one online browser video game particularly that gives an amazing encounter, and that video game naturally try RuneScape. RuneScape try a battle video game, that is occur a medieval fantasy dimension, full of other warriors then monsters. It is possible to struggle everyone then every thing worldwide, then happen to be the many kingdoms ready. There are numerous great features towards the video game, and also this try likely how it's that a huge online video gaming community about it. It is said to possess over 10 billion active customers per month, with more than 156 billion RuneScape reports start, rendering it an archive breaking complimentary video game.you can play for free friv games on friv.run/ and frive.link/ for free .You can visit the relevant blog of friv games or even get a hold of computer technology maintain to web browser to operate ones reinstallation process.Board video games usually are undeniable faves online, that can easily be ostensibly internet animated sorts from accepted video games concerning your true to life like chess, dominoes, and so on. As evident in label by itself, puzzle video games are generally a well known game created using performing a puzzle.Did You Start Friv.Run/Frive For Passion Or Money?Online video games are a lot dissimilar to offline video games.Online free friv games  data packets that keep advise selected to a particular customer or even blog. The goal of all data should keep your browsing session, customization adjustment, alongside reach advise. Over a length of time, all data can greatly slowdown your internet browser and may cause bugs and also mistakes. Here are some how to eliminate snacks minus inside your browsing suffer from. In Order To troubleshoot ones internet browser or even reinstall internet browser computer software.Many friv games players online, then create methods and methods to overcome adversaries, which means that your player can evolve then increase the ranks.The Cache is per folder on your computer whenever specific data is kept temporarily

  9. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.
    Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke Video Episode

  10. I Love your website design, colour. I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.
    alleppey houseboat booking

  11. Replies
    1. A popular transmitida novelas online novela diária da é ou baixe gratuitamente em qualidade Full a partir de múltiplos.

  12. Get Packers and Movers Jaipur List of Top Reliable, 100% Affordable, Verified and Secured Service Provider. Get Free ###Packers and Movers Jaipur Price Quotation instantly and Save Cost and Time. Packers and Movers Jaipur ✔✔✔Reviews and Compare Charges for household Shifting, Home/Office Relocation, ***Car Transportation, Pet Relocation, Bike SHifting @ Packers And Movers Jaipur

  13. Vidroh Star Plus serial Wiki: Vidrohi Serial Wikipedia Vidroh (Vidrohi) serial
    is the latest Star Plus upcoming show and will bring fresh new content for the viewers ...
    Kundali Bhagya

  14. DramaCool is korean tv show website which provides latest
    kshows and kissasian with eng sub online free in hd quality


  15. Pinoy Channele bringing you best videos from all over Filipino entertainment, sports,
    news, politics, technology, music, covering all Latest Tv Replay Show of Pinoy Teleserye.

    The Legal Wives

  16. Dance + Season 6: Latest & Full Episodes of Dance + online on Disney+ Hotstar.
    Binge watch episodes of Dance + entire season 6 only on Disney+ Hotstar.

    Pandya Store

  17. Zindagi Mere Ghar Aana (Star Plus) Cast and Crew, Roles, Release Date, Trailer.
    Zindagi Mere Ghar Aana is a Star-Plus tv show. This tv show was produced by.

    Pandya Store

  18. Today's episode starts with Kanta getting emotional. Anuj asks Kanta
    what happened. Devika asks Kanta if she said anything wrong. Anupama asks

    Anupama Online

  19. Asian Embed This site is a free entertainment platform where you can stream the latest and past Asian shows such as Korean,
    Taiwanese and Japanese dramas and movies with English subtitles and in high quality

  20. Watch and download Korean drama, movies, Kshow and other Asian
    dramas with english subtitles online free. Dramacool for everyone!


  21. I got to learn a few excellent stuff here. Certainly reading bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how much efforts
    you place here to create this such magnificent informative content site.
    Naagin 6 Online

  22. KissAsian is the best website to Korean dramas and movies online free with
    English Subtitles and Dubbed. This website Chris Gayle, movies of genres ...



  23. Kepala Bergetar Tonton Malasian Dramas dan Download Live Malay Telefilem, Dfm2u Malay Dramas. MyFlm4u Terkini Gempak Episode

  24. It’s one of the simplest—and most useful—3D printer initiatives you can begin with. With the Creatbot F1000’s big construct volume of a thousand x a thousand x a thousand mm, the large-scale printing potentialities are restricted only by your imagination. The new auto-rising twin extrusion system with the maximum temperature of 420 °C is supplied with interchangeable nozzles — you can use use|you must use} brass, stainless or martensite metal, or ruby nozzles relying in your project. The Idea Shop presents 5 sorts of|several varieties of|various varieties of} 3D printers for users select from|to choose from}, with variations in materials, value point, durability, printing velocity, and overall finish. Use this information choose on} which printer will finest fit your project. To print a model on the library's 3d printers, House Shoes for Men it should be exported as a Stereolithography file, with an STL extension (.stl).