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Creative Project Management by Ted Leeman, Michael Dobson

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5When the Project Appears Impossible

This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments. Let us critically examine the proposal. For a projectile entirely to escape the gravitation of earth, it needs a velocity of seven miles a second. The thermal energy of a gramme [gram] at this speed is 15,180 calories. . . . The energy of our most violent explosive—nitroglycerine—is less than 1,500 calories per gramme. Consequently, even had the explosive nothing to carry, it has only one-tenth of the energy necessary to escape the earth. . . . Hence the proposition appears to be basically impossible.—Alexander William Bickerton, Professor ...

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