Prepositions in Space

Version 1.0
Copyright ©2017 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.

Two puzzles in the Égaré Series have been referenced by the Prepositions in Space puzzle for this challenge: Rock from the Sky and Orbital Deflection.  We have been offered four choices for answering the question: What is your explanation for the Impact Sight sculpture?

1. Insufficient Deflection

This alternative explanation seems to invoke a suborbital stratagem for asteroid Égaré known as skip-glide, in which a spacecraft uses aerodynamic lift in the upper atmosphere along with intervals of ballistic coasting to extend its range during reentry while reducing the heat load inflicted by air-friction.  However, an asteroid lacks the appropriate shape for a lift-to-drag ratio greater than unity.  Not only that but those coasting intervals in the coldness of space do nothing to burn off the asteroid's bulk by a factor of ten to match its remaining dimensions to those of the Impact Sight sculpture.

2. Deflection Shrapnel

Indeed, the explosive device described in the solution to Orbital Deflection is set off at a point within the bulk of
asteroid Égaré to produce thrust by a 'mass flow' at extremely high velocity in the opposite direction.  The materials in the ejecta include gases and solids comprising a minute fraction of the asteroid's mass -- an amount so small that even if all of it were solid and in one piece, it would not match the size of the Impact Sight sculpture.

3. Directional Preposition

In orbital mechanics, the vector Delta-v (∆V) has great prominence.  For mandating orbital changes at 'maneuvering nodes', one of three directions may be used ...

  • ∆V Tangential -- prograde or retrograde, ahead or behind
  • ∆V Radial -- in or out, toward or away from (the central body)
  • ∆V Normal -- what or what?

As lamented in the puzzle, some prepositions cannot be applied in space to designate directions.  That is especially unhandy for ∆V Normal, for which one might want to use above or below (the orbital plane).  Neither preposition makes sense in space.

Well, there is one way to take care of the matter: ∆V Normal -- north or south.

But caution is advised: If the wrong direction is chosen, the orbital inclination gets reduced, and the impact by Égaré will be far worse than that depicted in the Impact Sight sculpture

4. Something else entirely

This alternative explanation is the only choice left for our solution...

Égaré is not the imaginary model for the Impact Sight sculpture.

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