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Thread: Magical Space Travel?

  1. #1
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    Magical Space Travel?

    In Muggle Studies class, I suspect many students would only consider most Muggle achievements in science and technology as being mere substitutes for magic, and in no way comparable. However, one area in which Muggles have clearly outclassed wizardkind is space travel - Yuri Gagarin was the human in space in 1961, Neil Armstrong was the first on the moon in 1969, etcetera, etcetera.

    So, my first question is, would wizards/witches who find out about this Muggle achievement feel somewhat inferior, or would they just pass it off as some useless Muggle thing?

    Now, let's say some wizard's/witch's pride was damaged, and vowed to match the Muggles by having wizardkind reach space too. How would he/she be able to do this? Can you think of any magical means by which a witch/wizard can escape Earth's gravity, survive in space, and make it back home?

    Yes, it's a very random question...

    Tim the Enchanter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim the Enchanter
    So, my first question is, would wizards/witches who find out about this Muggle achievement feel somewhat inferior, or would they just pass it off as some useless Muggle thing?
    I think that, with most everything that happens, there would definitely be a mixture of responses. Those like the Malfoys would probably see it as some stupid Muggle trifle. What use would it be to them to be able to go into space? They have (well, had) everything they want: power, money, and blood status. Whereas I think that people like Dumbledore would be fascinated by it, because it opens a whole new world (literally and figuratively) of possibilities. Although, thinking back to the Malfoys, I think if they could find a way to live on a planet without any Muggle/Muggle-borns, they would be quite happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim the Enchanter
    Now, let's say some wizard's/witch's pride was damaged, and vowed to match the Muggles by having wizardkind reach space too. How would he/she be able to do this? Can you think of any magical means by which a witch/wizard can escape Earth's gravity, survive in space, and make it back home?
    First point: Ron says in Goblet of Fire that he "invented a broomstick that'll reach Jupiter" (pg 126, American Hardback Edition). This suggests that they were 1. Aware of space travel, 2. Had thought about means of space travel and 3. Possibly had their own means of space travel. To address the actual surviving in space issue, they could always just cast a Bubble-Head Charm. Though I don't know if that would actually work in space, we see time and again that it is used underwater (i.e.: The Second Task in GoF Fleur and Cedric both used it). Other than that, I don't know what they would do.

    It is kind of random, Tim. Where did this questioning come from?
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    A bubblehead charm would probably work in space- it works in water, and it also works to protect you from disgusting smells. Which would mean that air isn't taken from the surroundings, but rather it produces oxygen somehow. So if the wizards somehow devised a means to get to space and to combat the pressure and things, they wouldn't have a problem breathing.



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    Quote Originally Posted by grimlysirius
    First point: Ron says in Goblet of Fire that he "invented a broomstick that'll reach Jupiter" (pg 126, American Hardback Edition). This suggests that they were 1. Aware of space travel, 2. Had thought about means of space travel and 3. Possibly had their own means of space travel. To address the actual surviving in space issue, they could always just cast a Bubble-Head Charm. Though I don't know if that would actually work in space, we see time and again that it is used underwater (i.e.: The Second Task in GoF Fleur and Cedric both used it). Other than that, I don't know what they would do.
    I wouldn't work in space, since it is a vacuum. The bubble head charm would simply explode because its pressure is so much greater than that of space. And then your poor wizard will have all of his bodily fluids sucked out of his body through every orifice and pore! Euurgghh! Also, if our unlucky subject turned up in direct sunlight, he'd be fried, or he would freeze if he's in Earth's shadow.

    But that leads me to wonder, would wizards know that space is a vacuum? Or would they find out the hard way if some unlucky witch or wizard was to somehow escape Earth's gravity using magic, only to die a hideous death?

    Quote Originally Posted by grimlysirius
    It is kind of random, Tim. Where did this questioning come from?
    --Lauren
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    Tim the Enchanter

  5. #5
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    Well, Ron's comment about going to Jupiter shows more of a pre-modern view of space travel, as we'd expect from the wizarding world. People have talked about flying to Venus and Mars and Jupiter for centuries, and even after we figured out that there's no air out there (which we did long before we actually put anything in space), if you look at speculative writings about space exploration from the 19th and early 20th century (what we'd call today "science fiction"), it's clear that few people had any idea just how inhospitable space is. People actually thought we might someday be able to walk around on Jupiter.

    To answer Tim's initial question, I suspect magic probably could solve some problems of space travel. I don't know if the Bubble-Headed Charm could handle vacuum, but I imagine if wizards really researched it, they could probably come up with life support spells, and maybe even an anti-gravity spell that could slowly lift a ship out of Earth's gravity well. Now that would be impressive -- no more need for rockets that can reach escape velocity!

    The question, of course, is how long such spells can last, and how reliable they would be. Or if magic would even work at all in space.

    One thing that argues against wizard astronauts is the fact that since surely there have been wizards in the past few hundred years who were curious about the stars and planets, surely someone would have tried flying to the moon. Since apparently that hasn't happened (you'd think it would be mentioned otherwise), I'd guess that while magic might be useful in space travel, it's probably not really any easier to fly to the moon with magic than it is with rocket fuel.

  6. #6
    sorrow_of_severus
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    Ron says that he invented a broom that would go to Jupiter, not Mars, which is the current Muggle goal. If Ron says he invented a broom that could go further than Mars it could mean:
    a. wizards had already reached Mars or
    b. wizards haven't already reached Mars, Ron really under the Veela's spell badly

    Also, isn't it possible that wizards could Apparate to another planet if they wanted? I don't remember reading about it being limited to Earth. Just a thought.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sorrow_of_severus
    Also, isn't it possible that wizards could Apparate to another planet if they wanted? I don't remember reading about it being limited to Earth. Just a thought.
    We don't even know if it's possible to Apparate to another continent. I doubt Apparition has an interplanetary range. If magic is that powerful, wizards might as well be gods.

  8. #8
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    Also, isn't it possible that wizards could Apparate to another planet if they wanted? I don't remember reading about it being limited to Earth. Just a thought.
    I also thought that you had to have visited a place already if you wanted to apparate there? In which case apparition to other planets would be impossible.

    ~BB



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  9. #9
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    Ron's statement about flying a broom to Jupiter raises another question:

    What is the maximum operating ceiling (altitude) of a broomstick? With Muggle aeroplanes, the operational ceiling is limited by the density of the atmosphere - at higher altitudes there is less oxygen for engines, less dense air that reduces wing lift, etc. But as we well know, brooms fly with magic. If we ignore the limitations of the human rider (i.e. not being able to breath at high altitudes), could a broomstick feasibly climb up into outer space?

    Tim the Enchanter

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