rockym93 dot net

archive · tags · feed

Orbital Analogy

11 July 201306:29PMthings

So I have a problem, and his name is Bob Kerman.

Bob has been stuck on the surface of Kerbin's moon for 3 days now. Despite my best efforts, he's been unable to match orbits with the command module which brought him, and even if he could, his maneuvering jets are empty. His puny tinfoil capsule is utterly incapable of atmospheric re-entry. And the unmanned rescue rocket that we sent out there to get him had to be turned back when it was discovered that it was not, in fact, unmanned at all, and thus had no actual room for Bob.

Tragic though this is, it's Bob's problem, not mine. Or it would be his problem, if he required oxygen, water, or food to survive. Which apparently he does not.

No. My problem lies in the fact that I've been up until 3am most nights trying to solve Bob's problem. Which wouldn't necessarily be bad, except that I'm going to Melbourne in about four days, which is two more hours ahead, and by that point I'll be getting up by like, 2pm. Which is obviously less than ideal.

(Fun fact while we're on the topic of time zones: If you were to map my sleep schedule to a normal sleep schedule and see what time zone I was in, it'd be somewhere in the middle east. It's like I'm jetlagged, without having even been anywhere interesting.*)

All my attempts so far to pull myself away from the compulsive simulation in which Bob resides have been futile. Clearly, another approach is needed. Cue the analogy!**

In Kerbal Space Program, as in reality, modifying your orbits works kinda counterintuitively. Any thrust you apply where you are now won't change your current orbital radius, but rather the radius on the opposite side of your current position. This means that most maneuvers require significant pre- planning, and by the time you hit the point where you need to be somewhere else, it's far too late to do anything about it.

Likewise, by the time I realise that it's three in the morning and Bob is still pacing the same stretch of lithosphere, it's too late to do anything about it. I need to act at the other end of my sleep cycle. Ideally, I never get to 3am in the first place because I'm too damn tired. Basically, I'm going to have to start setting my alarm clock. During the break. Eugh. And even that might not be enough.

Because there's another factor to consider! When you're in space, you don't just have to choose the right time to thrust. You also have to have enough delta-v: enough potential change in velocity. Enough fuel. And my current alarm clock switches off far too easily to make any significant dent in my... sleep... orbit. Perhaps I need an elaborate arrangement of cascading alarms. Or maybe (and here's an idea) I need something to get up for. Because as tired as I feel, I never have problems waking up for actual serious commitments (though I have no such issue sleeping through social engagements apparently).

Aw, peas. I guess it's time to start scheduling things for 9am.

Or maybe I should just go to bed?

*Adapting the process outlined here as an approach to tackling actual real jetlag will be left as an exercise to the reader. Tip: It probably won't actually work that well, but the metaphor was just too clever to pass up. Sorry in advance if you take my moronic advice.

**No but actually, I don't see why metaphors get such a bad rap. That was a genuinely useful problem solving tool. I guess because they tend to get hyperextended. Like joints. Bendy, painful joints, with wordy bones and all-too-easily stretched metaphors for ligaments. Oh god, I'm doing it again, aren't I?

< The search is complete. Duelling Playlists >