Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Physics Question for My Next Book "Mindscape"

I'm hard at work on the sequel to Excelsior, and I'm putting out a call to all of my readers with a strong background in science and physics. I'm actually looking for people I can consult with in the future as well, so you could say this is a kind of casting call for people who might like to help me with science-related inquiries and get published credit for their help.

Here's how it works. I have a hypothetical scenario for you, and you need to tell me what would happen. Also, please mention any credentials you have to back you up, e.g. a Masters Degree in Physics, or Studied Physics in University, etc.

The more impressive your credentials and the more accurate your description of what would happen, the higher I'm going to put you on my list of consultants. What's in it for you? Credit in the acknowledgements of this and future books. Oh, and that warm fuzzy feeling you'll get from helping me.

Here's the scenario:

Two missiles are up in space moving at 0.3C (C= the speed of light) with a mass of 10,000 kg each. One is aimed at Earth. Another one is aimed at the Moon. What will happen when each one hits? These missiles do not have energy shields or any other special protection--maybe some advanced heat shielding and alloys, but nothing too far from current technology.

I'll get you started with a note about the scale of the impact we're talking about--according to Einstein's equation for relativistic kinetic energy ( see this calculator here: to make your life easier ), the missiles will each impart 54518643148869730000 joules of energy. Google the conversion from joules to megatons to give you a nice reference point and you'll further find that is equivalent to a blast rated at 13030 megatons. The biggest nuclear weapon ever detonated weighed in at around 50 megatons, and the global nuclear arsenal is estimated at 7000 megatons. The missiles don't have payloads, so don't worry about that (not like they need them!).

I could tell you what I think will happen based on my research, but I don't want to feed you any ideas. Let's see who has the most accurate scenario and the best supporting arguments for it. The discussion should be very interesting! Go ahead and post your ideas in the comments below.