ROTFLOL! And 7 years later, a tiny little satellite was broadcasting images back to Earth. One pixel at a time.[/size]
Thanks Jaiman, I enjoyed your comments.
From the 1957 comments to now where it’s possible for an X-Prize. Just think: an “X” prize for Mars, where they set a course from one area of the planet to another. You launch your vehicle and race car and get it to a pre-destined start line. A moderator sets the start and the finish. Any country or indiviual can participate. Start! Then you control it from earth and see who gets to the finish first! And maybe along the way you’re supposed to collect Y number of samples no more than Z distance apart!
In theory we can actually do this now - build a race track on another planet!
Ahahahahahh! That is a crazy idea. I like it.
It carries an unusual difficulty, too… reaction time!
When our orbits bring us closest together, we’re still 4 light-minutes away. Farthest gives us a 20 minute delay.
So either they’d be slower than any snail race…
I’d prefer a rough course, over a bulldozed track, because it gets a lot more fun, but a track could get some spectacular crashes.
Or we could have the race site 3D mapped Just takes orbiters to take zoomed-in shots, from dozens and hundreds of miles apart, and you get great parallax. More complete if it’s different orbits - looking from every angle. Compters could put together a fairly detailed map. Sponsors/teams could each come up with their own maps (their own orbiters), or it’d be shared to level the playing field.
A few possible versions come to mind:
1) The most hilarious version would be for each driver to look at a 3D map on a display, and guessing where it is at any moment, moving a marker with a mouse or Wii kind of thingy. They’d be crashing on the rugged the landscape, falling into craters and canyons, driving off mountains, wandering wildly off course, and maybe never recovering. And, in the rarest cases, crashing into each other! (One for the highlight reel).
a) So a driver/team could be out of the race for months or years.
b) Or strings of replacement rovers could be sent. (Maybe a sponsor would just buy his pick, or send spares of their own design of racing rovers, like in Earth racing).
Now, no government would pay that kind of money…
But a planet full of sports fans would raise enough cash easy! (PayPerView, PPV plus advertizing, PPV, with advertizing broadcasts after (and after the betting). and maybe even fund-raising. Matches with donation race teams vs. big-sponsor teams, even charaties could get into it - they’d take a percentage of donations..You could even have a tax on Vegas-type betting for each event!) (Sponsors could be billionaires, organizations, groups, corporations, and donation-driven efforts).
2) They’d watch a 3D game simulation, based on their steering, braking, throttle. But they wouldn’t get to see any of the delayed footage.
3) They’d watch a 3D game simulation, based on their steering, et.al. and they get to see the delayed footage, and the feeds would update the simulation. So they’d keep finding themselves on the wrong patch of terrain, possibly upside down, and constantly trying to recover.
4) Dangit! I type so slowly (to avoid repetitive stress coming back), that I sometimes forget parts).
But yeah, stuff like that.
The rovers would have all sorts of robot arms that could be used for getting themselves off their side (or top), or for pushing themselves out of a ditch. And maybe they’d be allowed legs, to climb out with, which would be a bitch to control, on uneven terrain, even with the help of software.
There’d have to be lots of cameras: Each Rover would have it’s own POV cameras. Camera Rovers (with news crews’ competing to get the best footage - an event in itself!). Perhaps airplanes with massive wings. Or blimps filled with something that manages to be lighter than the ultra-thin atmosphere (so the gas inside would have to be very thin, too - but it would work, because the atmosphere wouldn’t be crushing the ballon. Orbiters - zoomed in from various orbits.
No oxygen, so electric. They might have to stop for solar-cell recharge. (And the sunlight is much much weaker, too. More that a person might guess - light spreads out spherically, so its strength drops off proportional to the square of the distance). The recharge timing would depend on how much hill climbing the driver would do, how much accelerating, and all that kind of stuff. This would mean that team-designed rovers would be looking for the best designs for their solar cells. Your panels might gather more sun, but make it harder to get up after a tip-over. And a tipover would always break off a chunk of panel! And non-panel cars would try to bash into a panel car’s panels, if it gets the chance. Of course you can only recharge during the Martian daytime, with Noon giving you the fastest charge. Also in races that last days, you’d have to time it, so you run out at the wrong time!
No 3D game software is going to be perfect - versus reality. Especially based on orbital shots. So in the sponsor/team races, each team would design their own simulation & control software! (Even if based off of the shared maps or pictures).
As the technology improves, there’d be the same old debates about “What is cheating?”, and so on. “Today’s races are so much faster…”
And I wish it would start now! What a boost for developing space tech!
This is what I meant about the wild possibilities of strict plausibility. In Hollywood, they might take this idea, and when their tech guy brings up the speed of light, they might choose to pretend it doesn’t exist. But listening to the tech guy at the writing stages can get you cooler or weirder stuff to write about. (Science fiction writers could, but most hate the process, because their stuff goes past a lot of decisions makers who might screw it all up).
“But our viewers would never think of light speed, most of them are stupid.” Oh really? It wouldn’t bug them, even at the back of their mind, after they’ve seen “sattelite delays” in live interviews? And we’ve got internet, now… that nitpick will spread.