Turbo Boosting on the Moon

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Turbo Boosting on the Moon

Post by Michael Pajaro » Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:24 pm

WARNING: MAJOR GEEK FACTOR

We all know what KITT looks like jumping over another car. The nose shoots up in the air, he arches over the other vehicle, then comes down nose-first on his front wheels. Why does KITT land front-first? The short answer is that the car is front-heavy because of the engine, and so KITT starts falling forward in mid-air.

However, our old science lessons tell us that in a vacuum, objects fall at the same rate regardless of weight. I think what happens with KITT (or any stunt car) is that the air underneath him creates friction, and that pushes the rear of the car upward. The air at least partially causes KITT to rotate around his center of gravity, which is towards the front of the car.

So what would happen on the moon? For one thing, with lower gravity KITT should easily be able to jump the length of a football field. But would he still land on his front wheels? There is no air to cause KITT to pivot, but at the same time the natural parabolic path of the two axles would create an airborn arch (assuming KITT launched off a ramp).

The other consideration is that when the front wheels of a car leave a ramp, they begin falling while the rear wheels are still on the ramp. That creates a bit of a faling-forward rotation which would have KITT land on his front wheels. The faster KITT left the ramp, the less time difference between the front and rear wheels leaving the ramp and therefore the less rotational velocity; but as KITT goes faster, he also jumps higher, leaving more time for him to fall forward.

Bottom line question for those with too much time ontheir hands: what is the difference between jumping a car off a ramp on the earth, versus doing it on the moon?
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Post by Sith » Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:47 pm

Well, being in space, his engine would likely fry itself rather quickly without air. ;)

But lets not get into too much detail. hehe

I think if KITT's jump was a certain height, he may even reach a point where he becomes stuck in orbit. Especially if his forward velocity is far greater than the gravitational field. And I remember reading that the moon's 'pull' only really kicks in within a few metres of the surface.

But like you said Mike, on Earth gravity greatly affects the distribution of weight on the car. Therefore in near zero-G environments, I can see KITT's rear wheels overtaking his front, as the weight would be unlikely to shift to the front. Thus he ending up in an endless forward somersault.

This is often seen with astronauts who practice in zero-G aircraft. Performing somersaults with ease, and with no gravity or air acting on their momentum, the somersault would likely be never ending.

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:56 pm

This isn't a near 0-g situation... The moon's gravity is about 1/6 of Earth, which is still plenty of force to affect objects. It's a zero-atmosphere issue. (definitely a problem for his main engine! Maybe he could go to an all-electric mode.)

And the escape velocity of the moon is about 3000mph (4800kph), so even KITT would trouble breaking into orbit.
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Post by Sith » Tue Jan 27, 2004 8:15 pm

bah, he throws stats at me. lol ;)

That escape velocity figure sounds pretty high to me, but never mind.

Thats actually got me thinking to another point. Without air resistance, how much would that affect KITT's top speed?

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Post by knightshade » Tue Jan 27, 2004 8:24 pm

Sith wrote:bah, he throws stats at me. lol ;)


Thats actually got me thinking to another point. Without air resistance, how much would that affect KITT's top speed?



I'm sure that not having air resistance would help with the speed, but probably do a number on his ability to manuveur at high speeds. And then there's the issue of how much traction he could get in a low gravity environment. I'm guessing he might end up spinning his wheels a lot :wink:

I'm not sure what to make of the whole nose first thing. I'm sure I'll be thinking about all night though. ::grumble grumble::

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Post by Darknight » Tue Jan 27, 2004 10:28 pm

Ahhh...this is better. The board has lacked somewhat in these technical questions for a while.

If KITT were to turboboost on the moon, using the Earth's calibration, it's very likely that he would flip backwards.

I say that because his front always rises first, and the rear follows. On Earth, there's enough gravity to control the rate of rise for the front end, while the rear is about to begin its ascent. On the moon, however, with 1/6th of the Earth's gravity, the height required for a 30* trajectory on Earth would be 63.26" on the front end before the rear ever lifted. The amount of energy required to lift an object to that height on Earth would lift the same object to 379.6" on the moon. Given that an 82 T/A was only 189.8" long, that's exactly enough to lift KITT's front end to a height twice that of his own length (assuming he's the same length as a stock T/A, which is another question altogether).

Now, keeping in mind that KITT is still calibrated for Earth's gravitational field, and remembering that his front end always rises first on Earth, giving him that parabolic trajectory, when the thrust from the front end engaged on the moon with enough power to lift the front end by itself to a height twice KITT's length, it would literally pivot on his rear axle and turn straight over onto his top.

It's the split second difference in timing between the firing of the front and the rear that causes this situation.
In short, without altering his settings, a turboboost meant for 30* on Earth would equal 180* on the moon, due to the equivalent of lifting the front with 6 times more force before the rear gets a chance to catch up. A 180* turboboost, of course, would equal a backward flip.

The other side of the question is this: what would KITT do to recalibrate his trajectory settings? Well, he could lower his thrust factor by 6, shorten the time span between front and rear takeoff, or (in my opinion the simplest) just set both ends to rise at once. That would result in both ends landing at nearly the same time, which would also increase the height of jump that he could withstand, because the landing shock would be distributed throughout all four wheels, rather than the front two taking all the initial shock.

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Post by sarfraz » Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:05 am

..but would landing on the front axle really matter considering the moons gravitational pull is only 1/6 of Earths? surely the landing speed (teminal velocity?? :lol: ) wouldn't be that large as there isn't a significant pull to bring the car down that fast.

Aerodynamics and drag would be removed as the moon has no atmosphere. So although KITT could theoritically reach stupidily high speeds, theres no possible way of creating aerodynamic downforce to keep the car glued to the surface....unless you have a rocket mounted on the roof forcing the car down :twisted:

Interesting though, how does this all factor in when you consider the trajectory guidance mechanism. Theortically, KITT could launch at a steep angle and shoot off the moon. Whether the force generated from this is significant to clear the gravitational pull is unclear as we don't know how powerfull and effective this system is and how much more speed can be generated as drag is removed from the equation. Put it this way, I've heard that there is space junk orbiting the earth (under no propulsion) that has the possibility of causing serious damage as they are travelling at high speed.

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Post by Darknight » Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:27 am

Terminal velocity is the speed at which the resistance of the atmosphere equals the accelerational force (though not the inertial force, or the object would stop in midair) of a falling object, thus preventing the object from accelerating further. Gravity, in the absence of an atmosphere, accelerates objects at an exponential rate. A 1lb object on Earth would begin accelerating at 32ft/sec/sec until the atmosphere leveled it off. On the moon, it would likely be 1/6th of the initial 32ft/sec/sec acceleration rate, so let's say it was 5.33ft/sec/sec.

You're right that it would be a relatively easy task for KITT, on the small jumps, but on the high jumps, he could potentially reach a higher velocity before touching down. It just depends on the amount of time he has to accelerate. The high jumps would give him more time, and only then would the lack of an atmosphere increase his landing velocity. Either way, landing on all 4 tires at once would be more stable than the nose dives we see him take on many occasions.

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Post by dragonball1957 » Wed Jan 28, 2004 11:49 am

first of all , I dont Even think Turboboost will even work .

Because I remember Back in Junior HS , my Science Teacher was saying something about Oxygen In space ; not enough or lack of it . And u Needed the oxygen to start a Fire in space . since theres none . I dont think the Turboboost Rockets would even Fire .

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Post by sarfraz » Wed Jan 28, 2004 1:56 pm

dragonball1957, you've hit the point exactly. In Big Iron, KITT says that there isn't enough air for turbo-boost combustion, which is why they used the air within the car. So in order for this to all work, KITT would need to carry a very big oxygen tank.

DK, your right. I total forgot that without air, there isn't any resistance to create the terminal velocity....damn slip of the mind :roll: ...and I used the air argument to state that there was no vertical drag....doh!!!

Still, we now face the problem of KITT needing to carry the oxygen to create the combustion that creates the jump motion...

EDIT:.... however considering the case from Big Iron, it does seem like KITT is quite efficient at using air for combustion. There isn't that much volume of air within the car, yet KITT was able to use it all to create one huge turbo-boost.

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Post by dragonball1957 » Wed Jan 28, 2004 2:44 pm

yea, only if kitt uses the air in the vehicle like he did in Season 2 , last episode in that season .

Kitt and Michel were traped under tons of soil dumped on them by some tractertrailers .

they used the air in side but kitt warned micheal to hold his breath until they blasted out , and if it failed Micheal would suffacate (spelling) .


but either way , if that techniqe was done in space micheal would for sure die . Theres no more air to replace the used up air in space . micheal will eventualy stop holding his breath .

There is one way kitt COULD turboboost . But it doesnt Involve rockets at all .

If anyone ever seen speed racer , he could jump using some kind of ski like devices that were under the car . when He pushed a button (forgot the name) the ski's would shoot down on the ground while the car was moving making it jump in mid air ,

if kitt did that in space thatwould mean he would Take off Leveled and Land Leveled .

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Post by sarfraz » Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:34 pm

Speed racer jumping? I think they were pnuematic rams on each corner of the car which created the lift....well thats what it looked like in the revival cartoon in the early 1990's.

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Post by dragonball1957 » Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:39 pm

yea something like that .



they looked like ski's to me though . lol :lol:

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:26 pm

Great discussions... We'd have to allow some cheat to let KITT's engine or Turbo Boost work without air intake, but we could work around it.

The one idea that has my head spinning is if KITT would do a back flip. I'm not sure we can simply say that a 30 degree elevation on earth means 180 degrees on the moon. I don't think it's a linear correlation between force and angular displacement. For one thing, although KITT weighs less on the moon, his mass is the same. So the force of a turbo boost would have the same initial effect regardless of where KITT is. What would change is the opposing force of gravity, which is not always directly against the angular momentum.

Still, I'm wondering if you increased the turbo boost force, at some point would it be enough to make KITT back flip? Assuming the thrusters are in front of KITT's center of mass, I'm starting to think that he would. I'm still not sure about that though.

Some of these posts are hinting at Part II of my question, which I'll get to once I figure out this air-resistance thing.
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Post by sarfraz » Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:53 pm

Yeah, the initial effect would be the same, but as there is no air resistance, speed would be greatly increased. Its like trying to run under-water. Your using alot of energy on the same mass, but as the drag created from the water is so high, you don't move that quickly. As the fluid in which the mass is moving becomes less dense (from liquid to gas), the resistance also becomes less. This works to the point that getting rid of the fluid (be that liquid or gas) gives you no opposing resistance. That means in space (vacuum), a brick is as aerodynamic as a spear. This is becuase aerodynamics has no effect as there is no fluid for the body to move through. That should help you understand air resistance, Mike.

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Wed Jan 28, 2004 6:31 pm

Oh, I agree completely about the effect of air resistance on KITT's spin. I just don't think it's an exact relationship of 1/6 gravity = 6 times the rotation.

If you were to drop KITT completely horizontally from a high crane on earth, his front end should begin to fall forward because of the extra engine weight and the effect of the air pressing up against him. If you dropped him on the moon, he should land on all four wheels at the same time because the weight distribution doesn't matter any more.

Ignore the turbo boost for a moment: what happens if KITT drives off a ramp? On earth, the same thing happens; his front end falls forward. How much of that is caused by wind resistance, and how much by the natural parabolic motion of the axles? Suppose we created a giant vaccum in an indoor lab. Same gravity, just no air. If KITT drove off a ramp, how would his motion be different?
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Post by Darknight » Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:37 pm

Mike, you are right that the relationship between thrust and angle isn't that linear. A 30* launch with 6 times less gravity would probably not literally result in a 180* launch. Yet, given the basic information, I was extrapolating an answer that I think is close to the truth. For example, it would only take 1/3 of the Earth's gravity to make a 30* launch roughly a 90* launch. Anything over 90* would constitute a flip. The gravity of the moon is 1/6th that of Earth, though. So, even with a 100% margin of error (1/6 vs. 1/3), it should still cause a flip. Also, inertia wouldn't cause KITT any more trouble than it did for Neil and Buzz, jumping twice the height that they could on Earth, even with a full space suit on. That's because inertia is a secondary effect of gravity when you get down to it.

On the next question, I'll say that KITT's nose would stay high for a longer period of time if driven off a ramp on the moon.

1. Gravity is a prime force in causing the front end to come down sooner on Earth. Assuming a 60/40 front/rear weight ratio, with 3,000 total Earth pounds, that would be 1,800 front end pounds and 1,200 rear end pounds. That's a 600 pound difference. On the moon, though, it would be 300 front pounds and 200 rear pounds. That's only a 100lb difference. So you see that the weight differential grows directly proportionally to the total amount of gravity present.

2. The air on Earth exerts a force on the underside of a car when the front end is high. That force primarily pushes against the rear underside, since it is hanging down further into the air. When it pushes against the rear, it causes a sort of pivot to occur in the air on an imaginary axis. That helps bring the nose back down. That force doesn't exist on the moon, so the nose would stay high for a longer period of time.

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:35 pm

The weight differential doesn't make a difference on the moon. Without an atmosphere, objects of different weights fall at the same rate. So the front end of the car would fall at the same rate as the rear of the car, regardless of how front-heavy it was.
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Post by sarfraz » Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:35 am

I'm inclined to agree with Mike. I would think that irelevance of angle, KITT would launch into an orbit around the moon. As the car launched nose up, it would stay nose up. There would though be a pivotal rotation, assuming turbo-boost launches the front-end first. Though this is also dependant on how much the rear end is set.

Do we know how exactly KITT jumps?? Is its one rocket at the front or rear, or two at each end of the car???

if KITT has two rockets, this rotation is cancelled out. On ramp conditions, I don't think there would be any siginificant rotation, as the gravitational field is so weak. So KITT would stay in a nose-up orbit, until gravity pulls the car down at that same nose-up angle.

To add more food for thought, although without atmosphere, the front and rear fall at the same rate....but KITT's weight distribution is difficult to assertain. Ideally, a high-performance car should have 50-50 weight distribution. Who's to say that the most of KITT's hardware isn't mounted under the boot of the car, thus balancing out at weight.

Sarfraz...going off on a tangent :roll:
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Post by Transparent » Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:49 am

This is a moment of inertia question.

Gravity accelerates any mass at the same constant rate (assuming a constant gravity field)

However the force distributed across the body (in this case KITT) is mass dependent.

This action results in a rotation around the bodies center of gravity.

This is why front heavy cars nose dive.

So if we assume Kitt is "airborne" at the top of his parobola on the moon, his rate of spin would be identical to that on the earth.

However, since his height would be greater by a factor of 6, he would not land on his wheels!

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Thu Jan 29, 2004 12:38 pm

Hmmmm... Inertia throws another curve into things.

We know force=mass times acceleration, F=ma, so a=F/m. In this case, the force is gravity. That should mean that the more massive an object is, the slower the acceleration. In other words, on the moon lighter objects would fall faster than heavier objects.

There is a flaw in there somewhere, but I can't figure it out. I think that same flaw will apply to the moment of inertia concept.
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Post by sarfraz » Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:06 pm

Um...no... kinda. The greater the mass the greater the force. On the earth, gravitational acceleration (a) is 9.81 m/s/s. Although there is variation on Earth in altitude and geographical location.

Gravitational acceleration is constant (to an extent). If the mass of an object is bigger, the force would be bigger, but acceleration will remain constant (when considering gravity).

F=ma. a is usually the acceleration of gravity. Force in this case is the weight of the object in Newtons. m is the mass of the object in kg.

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Post by Michael Pajaro » Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:08 pm

That's it sarfraz, thank you. I was thinking english, not physics, and going by "force of gravity". That phrase is technically not accurate.

So what about the rotational inertia thing? Do we agree that the weight of KITT's engine does NOT pull the front end forward when falling?
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Post by dragonball1957 » Thu Jan 29, 2004 5:00 pm

HOlY SNAP !!!


I forgot . yea KITT CAN Turbo BOost In SPACE !!!!


how ?


Because Heres the Difference .

Rocket : Carries its own oxyen
Jet : Uses Outside Oxygen . and can reverse Thrusters


SO maybe its possible anyway .
But like someone said kitt would need a large Oxygen line to replenish those oxygen Sockets in the Retro Rockets .

Thats why jet planes cant fly to high . They use Jets which use Oxegen with some type of fuel that produces the thrust .

But the SPace Shuttle uses Rockets which is how it can move around in space and come down .

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Post by sarfraz » Thu Jan 29, 2004 6:05 pm

Michael Pajaro wrote:That's it sarfraz, thank you. I was thinking english, not physics, and going by "force of gravity". That phrase is technically not accurate.

So what about the rotational inertia thing? Do we agree that the weight of KITT's engine does NOT pull the front end forward when falling?


No problem Mike. I get the feeling though, that I'll have my physics books out in a minute....

Yep, weight of engine isn't entirely the reason the the front-end drops lower when falling. If you throw anything off a ramp, be it a uniformly weighted brick :lol: , or an unevenly weighted car, the front end drops first as it started to fall before the rear end. Now this thing about this about inertia is alittle tricky. Transparent made the point that force distributed across the body (in this case KITT) is mass dependent, which causes the moment of inertia rotation. This is also correct. Its just at earth conditions this is not as significant, as KITT isn't airbourne for a long enough time for the rotation to be a significant additional rotation already created by the take-off. On the moon however, the lack of gravity creates the jump distance needed for inertia to be significant to create that rotation. The problem I have with this, is that we are assuming KITT is front-end heavy. There isn't anything to really suggest this. On earth, the KITT's jump arch is simply because the car the front end leaves the ramp before the rear-end. Like I said, a bulk of KITT's equipment can be evenly laid within the car. Which is why I said KITT's nose would stay up....but thinking again, the same rules apply on a less significant level. On the moon KITT would take-off (lets say off the ramp), the front end would begin to drop, not so significantly as gravity isn't as strong, but as KITT is able to acheive much higher speeds and due to gravity the jump is significantly higher. Now, if assuming even mass distribution KITT would land nose first on the moon. If front-end heavy, then a flip is in order as a moment of inertia would be created from the front end rotating via the rear axle (as thats the last point of contact to the surface.

If turbo-boosting with a front-end heavy KITT, then it depends on where the turbo-boost module is. If its near the engine, then the moment of inertia is tiny (even zero) as the distance between the two is zero.

Confused :shock: I think I am. Basically, "moment of inertia of a body is a measure of the way in which its mass is distributed in relation to the axis about which it is rotating"....taken from a physics book :roll:

I'm going to bed :shifty:

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