December 21, 2005

Astrodynamics

No, it's not the Jetson's dog dancing. It is about traveling to heavenly bodies. If I had a few million bucks to burn on rocket fuel I would take this class on the Basics of Interplanetary Flight. I read a book on it years ago but the math was beyond me at the time and now the book is stuck in storage. Still, I learned about Hohmann transfer orbits and minimum energy trajectories and the intricacies of guiding nuclear missiles (the complicated part is your target is moving while the missile is in flight). I'll quote the description of the class here because the URL will probably go bad at some point in the foreseeable future. Probably the unforeseeable future too -- but I digress. The class:

Basics of Interplanetary Flight
Description:
E/078 noncredit / $395 7 sessions Jan 19-Mar 2 Thurs 7-10 pm Dave Doody

Art Center at Night is pleased to offer an extraordinary opportunity to study the fundamentals of robotic space flight with Caltech/JPL senior engineer Dave Doody, Lead Engineer of Flight Operations for Cassini Realtime Operations.

Many of today's technological advances, from cell phones and medical devices to music and imaging CD and DVD systems, have developmental roots on the edges of robotic space flight exploration. Understanding these roots can help smart designers stay abreast of advancing technology and may plant the seeds for future products. In this seven-week workshop, you will explore how space travel influences design and, conversely, how design influences space travel. You'll also examine how spacecraft work, why flying to Mars is different than flying to Amsterdam, and how the ability to "sense" infrared, ultraviolet and Gamma rays affects space exploration and design. We live on a rare and fragile planet, and this course will provide a wide-angle perspective of our universe that will fuel future product, transportation and entertainment design projects. Class discussions will be enhanced by ongoing Q&A, brainstorming, one or two "guest star" appearances, and in-class demonstrations. No prerequisite.

Class meets at Art Center's South Campus.

I mean, obviously I can appreciate the subject, but I think they're exaggerating the impect of interplanetary travel on everyday life.

Posted by thom at December 21, 2005 01:24 AM
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