Monday, 17 May 2010

The cordless gravity bungee-jump moonhole perpetual motion machine thing

In anticipation of the commercial age of space travel, when I was at school I came up with the idea of a cordless bungee-jump tourist attraction on the moon. The idea was that, once the early adopters had spent enough money to make holidays to the moon viable, some space-age subsidiary of Chessington World of Adventures or some such would drill a hole straight through the middle of the moon to provide the first complete-recoil, gravity-driven, cordless bungee jump.

The idea was that, in jumping down the hole – drilled in a straight line from a designated zenith point on the surface, right through the exact centre of the moon to the corresponding, polar-opposite nadir point – the subject would, subject to the usual rules of gravity, force and motion, bounce between the poles in a theoretically endless, reciprocal bungee jump, the elastic so beloved by antipodeans replaced by gravity. I anticipated helpful Redcoats handing out sandwiches at either end as the lunar jumper came flying out, only to be snapped back whence he or she came.

Even at the time of its conception, I was pretty sure the theory of a cordless gravity bungee-jump moonhole perpetual motion machine must be a load of nonsense. That intuition has not faded with the years. Unfortunately, such visions (there were many) would normally come to me as a tangent from the main body of discussion during physics lessons. Consequently, in the places of my brain where I should have had a sound grounding in the hard sciences with which to understand why the endless moon bungee is as much pony as it sounds, all I have is memories of gazing out the glazing, imagining Richard Branson in a spacesuit holding out a BLT.

So come on then, astrophysics community, why is the idea of the cordless gravity bungee-jump moonhole perpetual motion machine a load of nonsense? We all know it is, but why? And I don’t need some ass pointing out the marketing difficulties of persuading somebody to jump down a bottomless pit, or some side-show distraction about the logistics of designing an accurate drilling machine to be transported 238,857 miles and recalibrated in an environment one sixth of the gravity to that in which it was designed and built. In the words of my erstwhile mentor, D'uh!

I want the science of the cordless gravity bungee-jump moonhole perpetual motion machine, and I want it with corroborating citations from Wikipedia. If scientists cannot proffer an option, I shall have no option but to embrace religion, with its counter-intuitive, yet all-encompassing, devil-in-the-middle-of-the-moon-with-a-really-sharp-trident explanations.

Shall I start the bidding? Ahem, entropy. (For those who haven’t a clue what the hell I’m talking about, let’s just say you and I could form a club.)

Answers in the comments section please. The winner with the most convincing explanation wins a first-class seat on my very first commercial night flight to Venus. Hurrah!


  1. Flight to Venus? A planet full of women and pop psychology? That's a scary prospect but count me in.

  2. Ah, Mr Highwayman, good to see you back. Raises the tone a bit, you should have seen the rabble hanging around here the other day. Honestly, the language!