The EM Drive and Growing Tails.

The internet is such a massive thing. So much information smacking us upside the head second by second. It’s nice when two disparate things seem to gel.

The first thing that caught my eye was the new buzz about the EM Drive. How amazingly cool would that be? Finally a breakthrough in getting our butts around space at a speed we can stomach to some degree. (we’ll just leave the issue of our stomachs in space alone for now). In case you’re living in a black hole, here’s the scuttle about the EM Drive (click on the image).



That has my inner-geek all kinds of happy. But then, a few days later I’m squirreling on Twitter and I found this.

Robot Michelangelo Hand

Photo from UKTimes Post by Ian Allison.

So I’m reading this and the plot bunnies are exploding in my head. I recently finished reading The Science of BattleStar Galactica (because who wouldn’t want to read that, right?) and I was fascinated by, well, pretty much all of it. A nice refresher course for all the stuff I’d forgotten or just never learned in the first place, but the bit on artificial gravity in space intrigued me.

There are issues with anything we can try to do to create gravity. One of the most widely used methods in fiction (besides a scientific breakthrough allowing for an artificial gravity generator) is that of using centrifugal force. You make a big ring in space, and it has to be REALLY big, and you spin it. Easy, right?

Not so much. First, you have to get the thing spinning at just the right constant speed. Too slow and your crew is puking due to space sickness. Too fast and now you’re puking due to motion sickness. But even when you hit the sweet spot, there this thing called the Coriolis Effect that will *STILL* wreak havoc with your inner ear. What you see may tell you you’re standing in a stationary environment but your inner ear knows better.

Ok, so lets just ditch gravity for now. We’re in space, after all. Suddenly having a prehensile tail becomes seriously useful. Those transhumanists might be on to something. Besides, freeing up all your arms and legs but anchoring with a tail leaves you free for other pursuits, or should I say, passions? *wink, wink, nod, nod*

Leaving the practical applications aside, you also have the fact that if something is possible, someone is going to do it. It’s human nature. It’s what we do. It’s why we need to get off this planet before we self-destruct. We have to spread out so we can’t annihilate the entire race with our inherent stupidity.

So there it is. That’s how I got from EM Drives to humans with tails. Hope everyone is enjoying their day, or night, or whatever.  Make it a good one!

Sabine Red

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