11 March 2012

Hot Topic: Battlemechs Dropped from Orbit

This happens in the cartoons, and in the occasional Battletech scenario, where a battlesuit/battlemech drops from orbit; these folks say it will get a little bit warm on the way down.

Journal of Physics Special Topics
P2_7 Mobile Suit Gundam: Falling From Space

R. Hall, A. West, M. McHugh, J. Blake,
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH.
November 30, 2011
Abstract
This paper explores the upper limits of the active cooling system on board a Mobile Suit from the Gundam series as it goes through atmospheric re-entry. A Mobile Suit falling through the Earth’s atmosphere experiences drag forces of nearly 10,000 kN. The increase in temperature due to the resistive drag forces felt upon re-entry would require an active cooling system with an output of 112MW which is over 37 times greater than known power outputs on board Mobile Suits.

That's going to go over 30 on the heat scale. I also see they don't take into account any heat generated by deceleration, which means either more heat, or a very sudden stop. ;-)

The full article is a short exploration into some fun physics - find it here.

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