## 769ORBITAL ODDITY (Sorry but it's a poem)

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• Mar 8, 2005
I wrote this based upon the hypothesis put forth by Arthur C. Clarke
in his "Space Odyssey" series. Does anyone remember the 70,000 km
tall towers spaced along the equator? With a great bridge joining
them at the 35,000 km level? A fascinating thought, this "ring
around the world". My poem however, deals with the phenomenon on a
lesser scale (one also proposed by Clarke), and also entails a
science lesson! -Clint.

ORBITAL ODDITY

Clint Wilson

Since boring science lectures make the teachers look like jerks,
I will explain in simple terms just how an orbit works.
If I throw a heavy rock as straight and swiftly as I can,
It'll arc toward the ground because I'm just a mortal man.
But what if I could throw it all the way to the nearest town?
It would still arc down and finally land upon the ground.
But what if I could throw the rock for many, many a mile?
It would still arc to the ground after just a little while.
But what if I could throw it past the city of my birth?
That arc might start to match the curvature of planet Earth.
Let me explain simply without using fancy diction.
I'd have to throw it out in space where there's very little friction.
But as the rock fell all the night and all the live long day,
It could never hit the moving ground that always curved away.
Round and round it orbits from my super throwing power,
At 7 km per second which is 25 thousand per hour.
The higher I am when I throw it, the longer my satellite takes,
To go all the way around, and the bigger circle that it makes.
Now I'll throw from 35 thousand, 8 hundred kilometers high,
And I'll throw it opposite from the way the sun goes cross the sky.
Keep in mind it now takes 24 hours to go `round,
Which means it's always right above the same spot on the ground.
This is very easy; can you feel your brain absorb it?
This is what we call a geostationary orbit.
As far as orbits go this is my very favorite kind,
Now here's a thing that's surely going to blow your freakin' mind!
Take a great long coil of rope of indestructible strength,
One just over 70 thousand kilometers in length,
And fly it to a geostationary point above the planet,
You will need a mighty powerful rocket vessel damn it.
Meanwhile a little over 35 thousand kilometers down,
Telescopes can watch you from the same spot on the ground.
This is now the time to amaze your scientific friends,
By uncoiling the rope simultaneously from both of its knotted ends.
The lower end will fall to Earth as gravity pulls it down,
While the upper end falls upward like it's being flung from a merry-
go-round.
Watch the rope uncoiling downward at a speedy pace,
While the upper end keeps falling upward into outer space.
The rope uncoils over 70 thousand kilometers long,
Trying to rip itself in two, I told you it has to be strong!
The high end uncoils straight out from the planetary merry-go-round,
While the knot tied in the lower end thumps lightly to the ground.
What a thing for some old country bumpkin farmer guy,
To walk into his field and find a rope there hanging from the sky.
If he is a guy like me who likes to dream and rhyme,
He might sit down, write a poem about it, and then have himself a
climb!
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