Back at the lab! Yes, I had fun on this page.

And hey, if you didn’t see it last week – New Vote Incentive!

More below!



Travel Restrictions


A while back, one of our commenters (I think it was Just_IDD, possibly others) had speculated on the possibility of using the Strike Gate to send Countdown to other planets. I kind of had to hold myself back from babbling all over the keyboard at that point, because yep, I’d been thinking about exactly the same thing. Mars, in particular. Sure, he could only stay for three minutes, but hey, three minutes on Mars? Hell yes. He wouldn’t even need an air supply. Just a closed suit to keep him from getting freeze-dried during his brief stay.

Maybe if Madison aimed him right and gave him a dust cloth, Countdown could pull the NASA rover Spirit out of the sand pit it got stuck in, wipe off the solar panels, and get the brave lil’ bot moving again.

(Side note: For purposes of our own clarity, Max-The-Artist and I have taken to using the Batman/Bruce system of nomenclature. When he’s armored up, he’s Countdown. When the helmet’s off – such as on this page – he’s Max.)

We’re going with the postulate that the Strike Gate is not, strictly speaking, limited by distance. But we are going to try to stick to physics except where it starts getting out of hand (direction of travel, increased potential energy if teleported to a higher altitude, etc. We’ll include that stuff if it makes a neat scene, but not if it bogs things down.)

Sigh. Dad, I miss you so much. As an astrophysicist, you’d have had fun with this.

Anyway. From what I’ve been able to determine, even if the team timed things properly and waited until Mars and Earth were lined up on the same side of the Sun, the difference in the two planets’ rate of travel is still 21,129 KPH. Bit much for the Strike Gate’s Kinetic Boost mechanism to handle.

As it happens, despite being further away from the sun than Earth, Mars actually orbits the sun slower than the Earth. Using averages for a moment, and reducing it to kilometers-per-second, the Earth travels at 30KPS, and Mars travels at 24KPS. (Let’s ignore planetary rotational speeds for now.) So that should mean that there is a moment when the two planets are perfectly aligned, relatively speaking.

But I still think it would be like standing on the roof of a car going at 30MPH and just as you pass a car going 24MPH, you try to step across. Sure, the two vehicles are lined up for an instant. But you’re still going to take a 6MPH stumble, because momentum. Kinetic energy. That’s why jumping off the floor of a falling elevator will not save your ass when it hits. You may have changed your position relative to the elevator, but it – and you – are still plummeting downward at a far greater rate than you can possibly overcome by jumping.

So for right now, Mars is out. Maybe. Get to work, Marissa. You want Barsoom (and a Dejah Thoris outfit?)

Better science the shit out of that Kinetic Boost mechanism.

— Bob out


Nice review of our first book by James Blundell of Pipedream Comics! Thanks, James!