The Black Hole Project


C. Sanford Lowe and G. David Nordley

G General Background
KL Kremer's Limit
IG Imperfect Gods
SP Small Pond
LR Loki's Realm


- A -

See artificial intelligence. (G)
Not the same in all directions. Opposite of isotropic, isotropism. (G)
artificial intelligence (AI)
A computer program advanced enough that people can have general conversations with it. AI's are not quite human; they are motivated by programmed priorities, constrained by Asimov's laws of robotics, and are limited in creativity, self-concern, and ability to act on their own volition. (G)
Asimov's laws of robotics
Three rules programmed by law into all artificial intelligences. The AI must not actively harm a human being or allow one to be harmed through inaction, it must follow the orders of human beings, and it must protect its own existence consistent with the first two laws. Named for the 20th-century scientist, educator and writer Isaac Asimov, who wrote down their first formulation in a work of fiction. [See "Runaround" in Astounding, March 1942.] (G)

- B -

BHP interstellar communications facility
A communications facility in the solar system asteroid belt dedicated to the Black Hole Project. (KL  Chap 4)
A part of the human brain genetically engineered to transmit and receive radio signals. Also, the system of information networks and transceivers that communicates with people by bioradio. Bioradios are individual and self-authenticating; like fingerprints, no two signals are alike. This is one of a number of changes made to the human genome in the early twenty-second century. (G)
black hole
A mass large enough or dense enough that its space-time geometry causes the trajectory of any photon or particle originating or crossing an "event horizon" to stay within that horizon. Non-rotating black holes are characterized by their "Schwarzschild radius," Rs  =  2MG/c2, where M is the mass of the black hole, G is the universal gravitational constant (=6.672e-11  m3/kg/s2) and c is the speed of light (=3.00e8  m/s2). Actually, the distortion of space-time near a black hole is such that "radius" presents definitional problems, so some physicists prefer to talk of a Schwarzschild surface or circumference.
Mass object of similar mass Schwarzschild radius object of similar size
4,000 tons   ship   5.94e-21 m
4 million tons   skyscraper   5.94e-18 m  
4 billion tons   hill   5.94e-15 m   atomic nucleus  
4e+15 kg   small asteroid   5.94e-12 m   proton-antiproton orbit  
4e+18 kg   large asteroid   5.94 nm   molecule  
4e+21 kg   moon kg   5.94 µm   bacterium  
4e+24 kg   Earth kg   5.94 mm   insect  
4e+27 kg   Jupiter   5.94 m   dinosaur  
4e+30 kg   bright star   5.94 km asteroid  
4e+33 kg   galactic cluster   5,938 km   planet  
4e+36 kg   globular cluster   5.94 Gm   giant star  
4e+39 kg   small galaxy   5.94e+12 m   solar system  
4e+42 kg   Milky Way   5.94e+15 m   light year  

Black holes evaporate by a process known as Hawking radiation. The smaller the hole, the brighter the radiation. Massive holes last a very long time. (G)

Mass Luminosity   Lifetime  
4,000 tons   21 billion GW   1.6 hours  
4 million tons   21,000 GW   180,000 years  
4 billion tons   21 megawatts   180 trillion years  
4e+15 kg   21 watts   1.8e+23 years  
4e+18 kg   21 microwatts   1.8e+32 years  

Black Hole Project
The project started by physicist Zhau Tse-Wen to create a black hole with a mass on the order of a billion tons. Four billion-ton iron rods from four different stars would be accelerated to relativistic velocities and crashed together in a symmetric implosion. That would momentarily generate a pressure at their meeting point that far exceeds what even quantum mechanics can resist. The four star systems and the implosion site are:

BHP Architecture
Planetary system   Local name   Local habitat   Title of system story  
Sol   the Sun   Earth   Kremer's Limit**  
Groombridge 34A   Erebus   New Antarctica   Imperfect Gods  
Lacaille 9352*   Campbell Minot   Small Pond  
e Eridani   Epsilon Eridani   Asgard   Loki's Realm  
Shiva   Shiva   Chandrasekhar Station   Vertex  

*Lacaille 9352 is also known as Gliese 887 and HIP 114046.  

**The Ten-Ten experiment is located in Sol's asteroid belt beyond Mars.  

Black Hole Project History
The entire history of the Black Hole Project (BHP) spans nearly 250 years, five star systems, and light years of distance or time/space. Illustrated Timeline (G)

- C -

Can, The
See Ten-Ten experiment station habitat. (KL Chap 4)  
Cold Sleep Unit (CSU)
The coffin-like module which contains people in suspended animation for various reasons, including interstellar travel or to stabilize injuries pending treatment. (G)  
Conservative Union Party
Lars Reid's consolidationist-leaning party. It generally opposes cultural changes, experiments like the BHP and greater interstellar expansion that leads to them. (KL Chap 2)
A broad name for conservative political groups at the time of the BHP. Their basic ideology holds that the effect of too-rapid technological progress has been damaging to traditional human values, and that human culture should have a period without the introduction of any new potentially disruptive ideas or technologies, such as the BHP would generate, to allow the consolidation and incorporation of the last century's changes into traditional institutions.(G)  
See Cold Sleep Unit. (G)

- D -

Duluth Station
An abandoned asteroid research station near the Ten-Ten experiment site. Named after Sally Duluth, a famous 21st-century astronaut, it was the original BHP research station before the Ten-Ten habitat was built. (KL  Chap  4)

- E -

e Eridani
A young, rapidly spinning, chromospherically active main sequence star of spectral class K2 with large flares and a planetary system in a stage of evolution comparable to the late bombardment era of the solar system. Its mass and radius are about 80% of Sol's and its bolometric luminosity is about a third of Sol's. A minimum beam-projection starport was established in 2210, but due to its radiation environment, e Eridani was not considered prime colonization material. However, it occupies one of the corners of the best tetrahedron of stars for the black hole project, so a robotic mission was sent in 2247 to establish a BHP infrastructure. Only one of these planets was known before the Sagan Interferometer Array began operation in 2037. The planet "Loki" was discovered in the late twentieth century, but not named until 2042. (G)
The e Eridani planetary system circa 2270 CE  
Name semi-



mean radius
surface conditions
Glut   0.1270   0.0518   24.1879   0.0049   0.1639   ~ 0   507.4   He, S2   rock  
Fenris   0.2940   0.1823   4.5135   0.0535   0.3785   ~ 0   327.0   H2, He   rock  
array 0.4800 0.3803 1.6933
Asgard 0.6120 0.5475 1.0416 4.7e-14 7.8e-5
288.5 N2, O2 artificial
Loki 3.3100 6.8867 .13-.02 253.677 10.0348
322.1 H2, He gas, ice
Freya 8.3582 27.633 0.0056 60.2705 7.2483
263.9 H2, He gas
Idun 12.4490 50.231 0.0025 11.7385 3.52
251.4 H2, He gas
Sigyn 17.6400 84.726 0.0013 0.5157 1.129 14.5 293.7 L2, L2 rock
*global mean, at 1 atmosphere pressure level (1) for giant planets

- F -

flare (stellar)
A significant brightening of part of the surface of a star, lasting a day or so. Flares are associated with huge loop-shaped filaments of glowing gas that extend into the star's corona, tracing magnetic field lines generated by currents inside the star. The brightening comes from sudden changes in currents thus in the fields they generate. The rapidly changing fields accelerate charged particles to high velocities. These particles hit atoms in the stellar atmopshere, making them glow. The energy released is roughtly similar in all stars, so that when flares occur in M stars (red dwarfs), the amount of light produced can be comparable to the total quiescent luminosity of the star.

Flare activity declines as the stars age and their rotation slows. Stars with frequent major flares are typically less than a billion years old, though occassional flares may occur through the life of the star, as they do with the Sun.

Flares are also associated with "coronal mass ejections" which are plasma clouds of high energy protons and other nucleii. These are blasted away from the star with velocities on the order of a percent of the speed of light, and present a significant radiation hazard to unprotected astronauts.

What triggers flares is not well understood, but by the late 23rd century, most astrophysicists had come to think that the current reconfigurations that cause flares were a chaotic, stochastic phenomena of internal stellar weather. Like earthquakes, rogue waves, and tornedos, they were not predictable more than a few weeks in advance, and then not with much accuracy or specificity. (G, LR)

- G -

A measure of relative velocity, from the Greek letter gamma generally used to represent the Lorentz factor. (See Lorentz factor). (G)  
gamma radiation
Electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light) with wavelengths less than 0.1 nanometer. These wavelengths are much more energetic and damaging than x-radiation. Historically, when nuclear reactions were first investigated, three kinds of radiation were discerned and labeled by the first three letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta, gamma. Alpha rays proved to be the nuclei of helium atoms (two protons and two neutrons), beta rays proved to be electrons and positrons, and gamma rays proved to be very high energy light. (G)  
grazing incidence
Impact and reflection from an otherwise penetrable surface at a very low angle, like a stone skipping across water. Use of grazing-incidence surfaces includes mirrors to focus x-rays, high energy exhaust nozzles, and deflectors for neutral interstellar particles. (G)  
Groombridge 34 (Erebus & Bee)
A pair of red dwarf stars about 11.6 light years from Sol toward the constellation of Andromeda. The stars are about half the age of the sun. The main star (A), called Erebus by its colonists, is about 2.7% as luminous as Sol. The companion, "Bee," is about a tenth as bright and circles the primary in a long, loose orbit about 163 AU in average radius. A Neptune-sized giant planet around A was discovered in 2031. Groombridge 34 occupies a corner of the best tetrahedron of stars for the black hole project, and the third planet of the larger star, New Antarctica, was found to be the most Earthlike planet known beyond the solar system. For these reasons, the system was colonized in 2200 and the New Antarctica terraforming project, led by Wotan Kremer, was started. None of its planets were known in the twentieth century. (G)  

The Groombridge 34A planetary system circa 2270 CE
Name semi-



mean radius
surface conditions
Palmer 0.0818 0.0402 4.3975 0.0005 0.0722 ~ 0 392.0 H, He rock
array 0.1298 0.08 1.7600
New Antarctica 0.2636 0.22 0.4233 0.9200 0.9641 0.97 257.2 N2,CH4 ice, rock
McMurdo 0.2636 0.22 0.4233 3.26e-6 0.0176 ~ 0 210.4 N2,CH4 rock
Vostok 0.2636 0.22 0.4233 0.0006 0.0972 ~ 0 216.7 N2, Ar  rock,ice  
Wilkes 0.3872 0.38 0.1962 1.1300 0.9884 1.65 221.6 H2,He rock, LCH4  
Ellsworth 0.3872 0.38 0.1962 0.0012 0.1304 0.21 203.1 N2,CO2 ice
Enderby 0.3872 0.38 0.1962 1.26e-4 0.0696 0.00 182.1 N2, CO2 rock
Ross 0.7695 1.0812 0.0497 0.1304 0.5637 11.10 611.3 N2,CH4 H2O
Amundsen 2.8100 7.50 0.0037 12.4950 3.5083
96.7 H2,He H2 gas
Scott 4.4642 15.03 0.0015 8.2950 2.8423
98.3 H2,He H2 gas
Byrd 7.3020 31.4323 0.0006 0.0634 0.6002 26.59 308.5 N2, CH4 ice, LCHx
Kreitzer 9.3800 45.7610 0.0003 0.0018 0.1676 2.3e-5 60.3 N2,He ice
*global mean, at 1 atmosphere pressure level (1) for giant planets  

- H -

halo orbit  
A quasi-stable, repetitive, out-of-plane path of an object around the first or second Lagrange points (L1&L2). Viewed from the Earth, for instance, an object in a halo orbit around the Earth-Sun L1 point appears to circle the point as if it were drawn toward it. Spacecraft in halo orbits can stay in the vicinity of the otherwise unstable L1 or L2 points for extended periods of time with minimal fuel consumption. (G)  
Hawking radiation
Black holes evaporate by a process known as Hawking radiation. The smaller the hole, the brighter the radiation. Massive holes last a very long time. See black hole. (G)  

- I -

Interplanetary Association (IPA)
The main governing body for the Solar System and, in principle, of its extrasolar colonies. Beyond the solar system, by practical necessity, the authority of the IPA is invested in starship captains and local governments, except in extraordinary circumstances. The legislative authority of the IPA is vested in the IPA Senate and its executive authority in the president of that body. (G)
The same in all directions. The gravity field of a stationary point mass with zero spin is isotropic. The luminosity of a star is approximately isotropic. (G)  

- K -

A unit of temperature equal to one Celsius (centigrade) degree on a scale starting at absolute zero and abbreviated by "K". Zero kelvin is absolute zero. Ice melts at 273.15 K and water boils at 373.15 K. The smallest true stars have effective temperatures of about 2300 K; the surface of the Sun is about 5870 K. The scale is named for William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, a 19th century UK physicist. It is the temperature scale of the "System International" (SI) set of units used in physical formulae. (G)

Temperature unit   Conversion equations   Examples  
Kelvin to Celsius:   C = K - 273.15   257 K = -16.1 C
= 2.93 F  
Celsius to kelvin:   K = C + 273.15   40 C = 313 K
= 104 F  
Fahrenheit to kelvin:   K = ( F + 459.67)/1.8  -100 F = 199.8 K
= -73.3 C  

Portmanteau of "Kuiper belt" and "asteroid." Also: "Kuiper belt object" (KBO) or "Edgeworth-Kuiper belt object," (EKO). A small (say less than 1000 km in radius), icy (density generally around 1 to 1.5 tons/cubic meter) object found in the outer reaches of a planetary system. The existence of a belt of such objects in the solar system was predicted independently by 20th-century astronomers Kenneth Edgeworth and Gerard Kuiper. Kuiper's predictions, though later, gained more notice leading to the more common "Kuiper Belt" appellation. (G)

- L -

Lacaille 9352 (Campbell)
The second nearest BHP star to the Sun at 10.73 light years. Also known as Gliese 887, HIP 114046, and Campbell by its colonists. The star name is its number in a catalog compiled by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de LaCaille (1713-1762). It is an early red dwarf of spectral class M0.5 with a luminosity of 0.024 Suns and a mass of 0.304 Suns. The colony was established in 2170 in anticipation of the BHP. None of its planets were known in the twentieth century. (G)
The Lacaille 9352 (Campbell) planetary system circa 2270 CE  
Name semi-



mean radius
surface conditions
Sunbeam 0.0713 0.0389 2.422 0.0052 0.173 5.0e-16 291.5 He, S2 rock
array 0.0713 0.0389 2.422 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a artificial
Canning 0.1133 0.0779 0.961 0.0676 0.415 6.60e-4 226.7 CO2,He rock, ice
Carlisle 0.1798 0.1558 0.381 0.9877 1.035 3.71e+1 371.4 CO2, N2 rock, ice
Minot 0.1798 0.1558 0.381 9.2e-12 7.8e-4 (1) 288.5 N2, O2 artificial
Martin 0.2854 0.3115 0.151 0.086 0.483 4.50e-1 151.9 N2, CO2 rock
Munro 1.4270 3.482 6.1e-3 11.9764 3.520 (1) 132.0 H2, He H2 gas
Spencer 4.6400 20.420 5.7e-4 10.8458 3.428 (1) 121.2 H2, He H2 gas
Ray 9.2430 57.412 1.4e-4 0.0019 0.174 2.06e+1 21.0 N2, CH4 ice
Lenore 13.7480 104.15 6.5e-5 1.01e-7 0.006 1.25e-7 20.2 N2 ice

*global mean, at 1 atmosphere pressure level (1) for giant planets  

Lagrange points
In the rotating frame of reference of the orbit of one mass around a much larger one, five locations where the combined centrifugal and gravitational forces balance. Labels vary, but the usual convention in astronautics is to label the points as follows: L1: between the two bodies, L2: beyond the smaller body, L3: on the far side of the large body from the small body and at a greater distance than the small body, L4: in the orbit of the small body, leading by 60 degrees (so that the L4 point and the two bodies form an equilateral triangle), L5: like L4, but trailing the small body by 60 degrees. Orbits in the L4 and L5 points are "stable" with respect to small perturbations, which result in cyclic motion about those points. The other three points are unstable with respect to radial perturbations, which will cause a body there to slowly accelerate away from the point. (G)
Lorentz factor
The multiplier for mass increase and time dilation due to relative velocity, generally symbolized by the lower case Greek letter gamma (g). g = 1/(1-(v/c)2) where v is relative velocity and c is the speed of light. Named for Dutch physicist Henrik Antoon Lorentz, who realized that contraction in length and gain of mass of moving particles was needed to explain their behavior and provided the formula (later explained by Einstein).

"The peculiar thing about this apparent mass is, moreover, that it is not constant, but depends on the velocity; consequently the study of the motion of the electron differs in many ways from ordinary dynamics." (H. A. Lorentz, Nobel Lecture, 11 Dec. 1902) (G)
Lu superposition theory
A model for allowing limited superposition of subnuclear particles in multidimensional space. Named for twenty-second century Chinese physicist Lu, J. Z.,

"A useful model is to consider our three dimensional space-time continuum as a surface embedded in a four dimensional space. Superimposed particles are, somehow, forced up into that embedding dimension. Now imagine a four dimensional spirit of some kind who's job it is to stack Planck-scale rings or loops up into the embedding dimension over one small patch of three-space. It is easy at first, but as the stack grows higher, the spirit's job becomes increasingly difficult." (Lu, J. Z., Hawking Award Lecture, 11 Dec. 2108) (KL Chap 1)

- M -

Macrocollider Experiment Station (MES)
The ten-meter-radius sphere at the vertex of the Ten-Ten experiment that houses the instruments recording the experimental results. (KL Chap 3)
A large space colony constructed to house the population of the Lacaille 9352 (aka "Campbell") planetary system. It is named for a character in the John W. Campbell novel The Mightiest Machine. (SP Chap 2)

- N -

A neutral subatomic particle with approximately the mass of a hydrogen atom and no electrical charge. Neutrons are found in the nuclei of atoms where they help hold protons together with the "strong force." A neutron is composed of three quarks and is approximately 3.4e-16 m in radius under normal nuclear conditions. (G)
neutron star
A star composed almost entirely of neutrons and held together by extreme gravity. A typical neutron star has a density of about 1e18 1e18 kilograms per cubic meter. (G)
Coined by Andreas von Antropoff in 1926 before the discovery of neutrons, neutronium stood for the element of atomic number zero and was placed at the head of the periodic table. Today it refers to a substance of extremely dense matter composed primarily of neutrons, as in a neutron star or a conjectured ultradense material sometimes encountered in science fiction. (G)

- P -

The twentieth-century concept of microbes being transported between planets, reproducing and evolving where conditions are suitable. Also called "paleopanspermia." The observed process of the ejection of intact rocks from planets in large impact events and the survival of certain microbe spores for thousands of years in rocks lends credence to this idea, but it remained unverified at the time of the BHP. (G)
pascal (Pa)
A unit of pressure named for 17th-Century French mathematician and natural philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). It is equal to one newton (N) per square meter. As the newton is a fairly small amount of force (only about 2/9 of a pound), pressures in pascals tend to be high numbers; average terrestrial atmospheric pressure at low elevations is about 100,000Pa.

"In order to show that a hypothesis is evident, it does not suffice that all the phenomena follow from it; instead, if it leads to something contrary to a single one of the phenomena, that suffices to establish its falsity." Blaise Pascal (letter to Esteinne Noel circa 1648) (G)
pellet accelerator
A device, generally a coaxial linear accelerator, designed to accelerate tiny pellets of matter to very high relative velocities. Pellet accelerators, also called "beam drivers," are used to push starships up to relativistic velocities in a system first described by 20th Century Physicist C. E. Singer. (KL Chap 3) Pellet Beam Propulsion System
The nearest point to the gravitational center in the orbit of any satellite. The suffix "apsis" may be modified to indicate a specific central body, thus perigee (Gaea=Earth), perihelion (Helios=Sun), periastron (astra=a star), etc. (G)
A finite and strongly localized distribution of electromagnetic wave energy (basically,light), also called a "wave packet," which has a discrete energy, wavelength and frequency. Light can only be emitted and absorbed in these discrete quantities. (G)

"In the year nineteen hundred, in the course of purely theoretical (mathematical) investigation, Max Planck made a very remarkable discovery: the law of radiation of bodies as a function of temperature could not be derived solely from the laws of Maxwellian electrodynamics. To arrive at results consistent with the relevant experiments, radiation of a given frequency f had to be treated as though it consisted of energy atoms (photons) of the individual energy hf, where h is Planck's universal constant (6.626e-35 joule-seconds). During the years following, it was shown that light was everywhere produced and absorbed in such energy quanta. In particular, Niels Bohr was able to largely understand the structure of the atom on the assumption that the atoms can only have discrete energy values, and that the discontinuous transitions between them are connected with the emission or absorption of energy quantum. This threw some light on the fact that in their gaseous state, elements and their compounds radiate and absorb only light of certain sharply defined frequencies." Albert Einstein,&npsb;"On Quantum Theory" (1940) (G)
A transient particle composed of a quark and an antiquark. Charged pions decay first into muons which then decay into electrons or positrons. A neutral pion is composed of a quark and its own antiquark; these quickly self-annihilate into gamma rays. (G)
Planck, Max
20th-century German quantum physicist. (G)
Planck scale
Also called the Planck length, this is the distance scale at which random quantum fluctuations are thought to dominate the geometry of space-time (Lp = 1.616e-35 m.). Even a neutron is huge on the Planck scale, being about 5e20 Lp. (G)
Moving, revolving or rotating in the same direction. For example, motion in the direction of the orbit of the planet is called posigrade.If a planet is rotating counterclockwise as seen by an observer, a satellite revolving counterclockwise about it is called posigrade while one revolving clockwise is called "retrograde." (G)
In Hellenic mythology, a Titan who steals fire from heaven for the benefit of mankind. (G)

- Q -

A portmanteau word from QUArk - Gluon - plasMA. "It's what you get when neutrons under extreme heat and or pressure dissolve into an undifferentiated sea of quarks." -Dr. Brunhilda Kremer (G)
A subatomic building block of neutrons, protons and other nuclear particles. There are "up," "down," "strange," "charmed," "bottom" and "top" quarks, but normal stable atoms contain only up and down quarks. The up quark has a charge of 2/3 and the down quark, -1/3. Two up quarks and a down quark compose a proton, and one up quark with two down quarks make a neutron. Lu superposition theory (2135) allows quark compression and "stacking" at extreme energies. (G)
quark star
Predicted by 20th-century physicists, and first unambiguously observed in 2058, it is the further evolution of a neutron star interior to a state of such high density and pressure that neutrons lose their individuality and their quarks interact to create various forms of transient exotic matter. Only neutron stars of a very narrow range of masses can form quark stars: not massive enough and they stay neutron stars; a little bit more massive and they collapse into black holes. According to Dr. Brunhilda Kremer, the central pressure of a non-rotating quark star of 3.18 solar masses is enough to cause that collapse. (KL Chap 1)

- R -

Ragi probes
Radiation and Gravity Integrated probe: High energy particle detectors. The twenty-third century version measures nanogal accelerations as well primary and secondary electromagnetic radiation at wavelengths longer than 97 nm. (G)

- S -

Schwarzschild radius
Projected radius of a black hole event horizon. See "black hole" for more information. (G)
Shiva is the Neptune-sized rogue planet selected to host the final stage of the project. It has no star, but has an effective temperature of 52 K from residual heat of formation and its inventory of radioactive elements. It has a thick ring system and six major satellites. The outermost one, Vertex, is where the attempted black-hole forming implosion is planned. Beam projectors for starship acceleration and deceleration orbit just inside the ring system and are powered by fusion reactors fueled by hydrogen and helium mined from the planet's atmosphere.(KL, IG, V) Shiva

space colony
A large self-sustaining artificial environment for human habitation in space. Many architectures are used, but the most common in the 23rd century is an ellipsoid of revolution about the major axis (roughly the shape of a rugby ball, or an American or Austrialian rules football. Large toroidal structures have also been used. These structures are spun to provide centrifugal gravity and use large mirrors or nuclear power sources for light and other energy requirements. They may range from one kilometer across to twenty and two km long to 100. Occupancy may range from a few dozen to several million people.(G, SP, LR) Typical Space Colony

A spacecraft designed to travel between stars. At the time of the BHP, starships are pushed up to relativistic velocities by particle beams from orbital projectors powered by vast solar arrays. The typical starship design has three or more spheres spaced evenly along a hundred-meter-diameter superconducting solenoid ring, with long grazing incidence cones ahead of each sphere. A smaller, coaxial "choke ring" that improves plasma reflection performance lies about fifty meters forward of the main ring. (G) Starship Plan

strange matter
Exotic matter composed of strange quarks that may be found within a quark star. See also quark. (KL Chap 1)

- T -

An enzyme in living cells that protects telomeres at the ends of DNA strands and can aid tissue and organ regeneration. Telomerase treatments became standard by the late 21st century. By the time of the BHP project stories, genetic engineers have improved maintenance of telomeres as part of an overall genetic modification to end cell aging. (G)
Ten-Ten Experiment
A preliminary experiment to test the models being used to design the BHP. In the final run of the experiment, two ten-gram pellets will be collided at a Lorentz factor of ten, hence the name Ten-Ten. The location of this experiment is in the Solar System's main asteroid belt, beyond Mars. Two pellet accelerators mounted end to end are used to create the high-energy collision in the Ten-Ten experiment. (KL)
Ten-Ten Experiment Habitat
Also known as "The Can," this cylindrical habitat and control center is at the site of the Ten-Ten experiment. It is tethered to a tiny, rapidly rotating (1 rpm) asteroid about ten kilometers from the planned collision vertex to produce centrifugal gravity. The Can is about thirty meters in diameter with staterooms arranged in rings around the outside of each of the first nine levels. The center sections are given over to equipment, labs and common functions. There are three elevators spaced equilaterally. The tenth level is a domed combination of park and vegetable garden, with a swimming pool. (KL Chap 3)
Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin
Russian space pioneer. Generally credited to be the first person to publish serious non-fiction about traveling and living in space. His late 19th and early 20th-century writings include accounts of liquid fuel rockets and rotating space habitats.

"The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but we cannot live forever in a cradle." - Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky (Kaluga, Russia, letter, 1911) (G)

- V -

Literally it means father-leader. One who has the vision for how the family will function as a whole. The term became common in 22nd-century Germany following governmental problems and social crises. (G)
In high energy physics, the point at which a collision occurs, as indicated by a spray of particle tracks that originate at that point. The name "Vertex" is the location where the BHP implosion is planned. (G)

- W -

Whipple, Fred
20th-century astronomer and comet expert. (G)

Note that as glossary items extend well into the 23rd century, parts of it are necessarily fiction. However, the intent is for those parts of it dealing with things known before 2006 to be as accurate as space permits. Corrections are welcome. For questions about this page, write to