Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Elephants as rocket fuel

To demonstrate how much rocket fuel it takes to get to orbit, YouTube user Maxim Sachs created an animation that replaces standard fuel components such as RP-1, LH2 and LOX with Asian elephants. I didn't check his math but I also didn't count the elephants. The folks at Yahoo/finance took this further by making an infographic comparing the New Shepard, Mercury Atlas, Titan 2 and Falcon 9 to the Saturn V.  For a few milliseconds, I wanted to create a similar diagram for hobby motors. Then I realised that I'd have to compute the mass of generalized chunks of elephant flesh, which would not be recognizable on an infographic. I'm glad that crazy thought didn't last long.