Grant's Zubrin Statites for Celestia

Here are the elements for a pair of Zubrin statite mirrors, hovering permanently over the Martian night side and illuminating the poles. (I've represented the mirrors by a pair of flattened spheres - thanks for the suggestion, Selden.) They're at the distance from the planet suggested by Zubrin - even at that distance, their areal density must be just 4g/sq.m, equivalent to a micron and a half thick sheet of aluminium, so bringing them in closer just isn't an option.

I've spun them slowly to keep them flat - it's clear that Selden is right and you couldn't hang anything from such filmy things without inducing distortions. So they have to be precessed to keep pace with Mars' movement around the Sun - maybe Mars-based lasers could be used to fine tune their position and precession?

If you play with this model, you'll notice the mirrors rising and falling relative to Mars - this is an artefact of the orbit I've used to keep them precisely on the Mars-Sun line, but it may well be realistic, too. As Mars approaches perihelion, the mirrors would be driven outwards ( unless they were reefed in some way); at aphelion they'd fall inwards again. Their tilt would need fine adjustment (those lasers again!) to maintain stability and the direction of the reflected light.

A more unfortunate artefact is the libration of the mirrors in longitude - tilting east and west as they follow Mars around the Sun. This is definitely unrealistic, but I can't think of a way to get rid of it, given that Celestia supports only constant rotation and precession rates at present.




  • mirror.3ds
  • empty.3ds
  • statite.ssc See also:

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