Page 30
Archive First Page Previous Page Next Page Latest
(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon I know what you're thinking. Why would a motorcycle have retractable wings? The answer is fairly simple: This is a motorcycle on the Moon.

That answer is simple - but unhelpful. Allow me to explain.

The surface gravity* of the Moon is one-sixth the surface gravity of Earth. Motorcycles on Earth are unwieldy things that bounce, jounce, and occasionally lose tire contact with the surface of the road. Under the lesser gravity of the Moon, the tendency of a motorcycle to go flying to the air when it hits a pothole at high speed would be even greater than it is on Earth. Thus the moonbike has retractable wings which can unfold when the bike goes high into the air - and this would only work in air, in a city dome - and needs some help staying upright and stable until it falls back onto the road.

The moonbike's tires are large for much the same reason - friction is the force used to control any wheeled vehicle, and friction on a tire is a function of the size of the tire's surface of contact with the road, the roughness of the road, and the force of the bike's mass pushing downward under gravity.

This was probably more than you wanted to know about motorcycles on the Moon.

* In 1987, I asked my astronomy professor why he was so rigid about saying "surface gravity" when referring to a planet, rather than the common (but scientifically imprecise) "gravity." He told me that one day I would be pontificating about lunar motorcycles on the Web, and would need to know the true meanings of things. Boy, was my professor smart!**
** Especially since the Web hadn't been invented in 1987.
(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs I'm back in Illinois. It took me about two hours before I was sick of it again. For the sake of argument Chicago does not count as part of Illinois.

Oh, right, the comic. I was going to whine about not being very happy with the CG work or lack thereof on this page, but upon further reflection it's about a million times better than such stinkers as Page 24, so I'll just keep quiet. I note that my partner in crime Jon "Numbers" Kilgannon has come up with a doozy of a scientific explanation for something I basically just sprang on him 'cos I thought it would look cool, and I salute him for that. My own personal justification is simple: if you're going to have a motorcycle on the Moon, it might as well be a flying motorcycle. I'm right here, aren't I. C'mon, speak up!