Slightly Bemused: Moon Shot


A full moon, known as the “Flower Moon”, rising behind the Temple of Poseidon, before a lunar eclipse in Cape Sounion, near Athens, Greece earlier this week

Slightly Bemused writes:

Maybe my mother was right, and I should have stayed away from gardening. The flowers have not sprouted, and I feel a little lost as to what to do.

Of course, some of them had to be strewn, so maybe the birds got them. I can hope.

I woke up early the other day. Missed the sunrise, but I got the sunset. And missed the whole super flower blood moon due to low skies. But I was able to alert my family, and particularly those in the US got to see it.

I reckon that when they finally get to send another manned mission to the moon they must do it so at some point they are in a lunar eclipse. I mean, seriously, what would the Earth look like from there at that point? From the Moon’s point of view it would be a solar eclipse, so would it be like one from here? Would you get more total darkness without an atmosphere to refract the light? Would you get a better view of the corona? Perhaps more importantly, what about the ‘diamond ring’ blast of light as totality starts to come to a close?

Of course, then would be a later trip during an Earth-based solar eclipse, and from the Moon the Earth falls into the Moon’s shadow. Would it become a ‘blood Earth’? Likely not, as the ‘blood’ effect here is in part from refraction of light around the Moon and through our atmosphere, but who knows for sure? A picture from the Moon would answer all that.

I must admit to being excited by the idea of new manned missions to our close partner in celestial crime. Hopefully less politically fraught than the first ones, the advances we have made offer a huge opportunity. Back then when we first went there we did not know what to expect. Now, we are growing plants in it’s soil.

There is a TV series based on the idea that the Soviet Union landed first on the lunar surface. Interesting from the point of ‘what if?’, with Apollo craft becoming the mainstay of trips up and down. Also the Shuttle, but let’s not worry about why that won’t work. But there was a fun comment when, against a potential move by the Soviets against the US base, what might they use to defend themselves. One guy says ‘use golf clubs? Lord knows there are enough of them up there!’

So what was the longest golf drive ever? Probably not the one on the Moon. Alan Shepard tried several times, missing the ball on his first few tries. The constraints of his suit meant that the classic view of a clean swing could not pertain, and in his own book he reckons he was lucky to even hit the ball, holding it one-handed and unable to see it as he swung. I think they reckoned it went about 40 yards, which is not so impressive as first reported.

I do remember though that one pundit reckoned that, assuming all else is equal but a good golfer could stand and play without a suit, he might hit the ball for about 3 miles. One heck of a shot! The same pundit, whose name I sadly do not recall, also looked at the odds of the classical ‘hit it all the way round’ shot. The idea is that you hit a shot, and in the Moon’s low gravity it goes the whole way around the satellite and hits you in the back of the head. Not likely, he said. While theoretically possible to hit the ball hard enough to make an orbit, the initial thunk would raise it to an altitude higher than the driver’s head (several hundred metres, if I recall right), and to gain one full orbit would likely not align with where the ‘take off point’ was, much as Yuri Gagarin’s flight did not, though that was somewhat controlled.

I still think the best drive was Jack O’Neill’s when he tried through the wormhole and was interrupted. “Right in the middle of my backswing!”

So for curiosity’s sake, should they try with another sport, next time we send people up there? How far could you puck a sliotar, for example? That could be some long puck indeed! Who knows, but if they manage, will the GAA allow a new Lunar team to join the League?

Slightly Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.

Pic: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

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5 thoughts on “Slightly Bemused: Moon Shot

  1. Janet, dreams of an alternate universe

    what a beautiful image, sorry about your seeds, it can take a few weeks !

  2. Lush

    Goodness, that was an interesting tangent Slightly.
    I hear you on the seeds, I too am ‘ot the most forunate when it come to gardening.
    But now I have 800 sq metres of garden, I have room to experiment, and learn.

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