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Personal solar system on wheels
Why settle for a tired old solar system like ours when you can have a brand new personal solar system (PSS) made to order? Best of all, you'll be in charge of everything!
About this creation
In motion...





Please feel free to look over the images and skip the verbiage.

Let's face it, our tired old Solar System has room for improvement.


(Credit: Modified from original NASA image by Wikipedia contributor "WP")

The outer planets are just clouds, clouds, clouds all the way down with nowhere to stand. Pluto turned out to be a poser, and goofy Neptune spins on its side. (There's always one.)


(Credit: Public domain NASA image from JPL catalog)

The inner planets are no better. Earth's the only place you can get a decent drink, and most of it's way too salty. Mars is a rusty old dust bin with hemispheres that don't even match. And Venus will smother you in carbon dioxide, dissolve you in sulfuric acid, and squeeze what's left into a pathetic little pellet.


(Credit: Wikipedia contributor Lmpascal)

And the moons -- what a mess! Most are damaged goods with cracks and craters everywhere you look.


(Credit: Wikipedia contributor Lmpascal)

C'mon, a couple of orbiting potatoes was the best Mars could do??

(Credit: Public domain image of Martian moon Phobos from NASA)

I could go on.




A personal solar system (PSS)

But why settle when you can have a brand new personal solar system (PSS) built to your own specifications? Best of all, you'll be in charge of everything -- even the laws of physics!



Behold, the "Zargon system" -- my 3rd-generation PSS with heavenly bodies made of fluorescent parts.



The glowing orb at the center is Zargon, an aging yellow-green star near the trailing edge of one of the galaxy's spiral arms. (The core just burned up the last of its hydrogen, and the star's about go red giant, but that's just part of the fun!)



Barren Zargon I and its beautiful moon Penny.



Zargon II and its 2 small moons Howard and Leonard.



The humanoid inhabitants of this Class M planet -- the only in the system with (kind of) intelligent life -- refer to themselves as "Zargons". To see how their once-vast empire came to ruin, click here.

Rajite-rich Zargon III with ore carrier ZMS Sheldon in synchronous orbit.



As you can see, you can make planets and moons and spacecraft out of just about anything and put them anywhere you please when you're in charge.

Better yet, no need to tune orbital elements just to please that know-it-all Newton and his pesky law of universal gravitation. (I recommend retaining the inverse-square law part for best results, but feel free to give each body its own gravitational constant.)

Having inhabitants to boss around is a big part of the fun for any PSS overlord, but you'll pretty much have to imagine them. At the scale of a typical PSS planet 64 mm in diameter (~2 x 10 8:1 relative to Earth), a 3.2 mm-high LEGOŽ plate would be ~320,000 times too tall to represent a humanoid 1.8 m tall. In fact, a 1 micron bacterium would be ~100 times too big, and a 200 nm virus, ~20 times too large. A 180 pm sulfur atom, on the other hand, would be about ~100 times too small.

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Previous personal solar systems

When I tire of a PSS, I just give it a make-over. My 2nd-generation PSS...





No idea where the moon goddess came from. She just showed up one day and started demanding humanoid sacrifices with that sweet smile of hers.



If you want an ice cream cone moon in your PSS, that's your call. Personally, I don't know why more moons aren't made of ice cream.



When I'm bored, I like to put 2 moons on the same orbit and let one or both freewheel at the mercy of friction, angular momentum, centrifugal force, and moon-moon collisions, like so...





What solar system overlord doesn't enjoy a good moon-bashing now and then?

The original PSS grew out of a studless spinning top project. I still keep it around for formal occasions.





As PSS overlord, I wanted big white moons orbiting invisible dark matter planets here. With identical moons and planetary and lunar arms all around, the emphasis was on (i) close moon-moon encounters, and (ii) the totality of looping lunar trajectories relative to the invisible dark matter star.

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Optional: How it works

The PSS is much simpler than most LEGOŽ orreries. The spin of each planet is driven by a wheel that rolls on the ground as the PSS is turned by hand using the long stem. The images below come from past PSS generations, but all work pretty much the same.



Since the "planetary arms" are rigidly attached to the hub beneath the star, all planets have the same angular speed and orbital period or "year".



The hub rests on a central pivot that adjusts vertically to ensure drive wheel traction all around. Simple 2-stage transmissions transfer rotation from the drive wheels to the vertical planetary spin axles.



Since all drive wheels have the same radius, each planet spins at a rate determined by (i) the angular speed of the PSS hub, (ii) the radius of the planet's orbit, and (iii) the final drive ratio of its transmission. (With this setup, this ratio can vary from a 5:1 reduction to a 1:3 overdrive.) The length of the planet's "day" varies inversely with its spin rate, but the number of days per year is fixed if its drive wheel doesn't slip.

The moons don't spin around their own axes, but they do rotate around their respective planets on "lunar arms" that are usually keyed to the planets' spin axles. A moon's "month" and its planet's day are then one and the same.





However, a moon can also "freewheel" around its planet at the mercy of friction, angular momentum, centrifugal force, and moon-moon collisions.



With proper geometry and gearing, a blacklight PSS in a dark room can also serve as a Spirograph that writes in light rather than on paper. I won't go into that here, but the blacklight ravograph below works on the same principle.



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Specifications

Overall dimensions:424x534 mm (DxH) at Zargon III, including stem
Mass:186 g
Planets:3
Orbital radii, planets:96, 112, 128 mm
Final drive ratios, planets:1:1, 1:1.8, 1:1
Moons:3
Spacecraft:1
Modified LEGOŽ parts:None
Non-LEGOŽ parts:None
Credits:Original MOC
See also:Blacklight ravographs, Blacklight tops, Centifugal blacklight top, and Andromeda top

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Comments

 I made it 
  January 17, 2017
Quoting Oran Cruzen Hey Jeremy, did you check out the picture of Mater I posted for you?
Yes, thanks for adding it, Oran. Good likeness!
  January 16, 2017
Hey Jeremy, did you check out the picture of Mater I posted for you?
 I made it 
  January 13, 2017
Quoting Johan van der Pluijm Highly creative! The moon must be singing 'Meeercy, Show me meeercy! now.. (Muse)
Thanks, Johan! The first thing they teach you in personal solar system dark overlord school is that you can't give in to pleas for mercy on a regular basis and expect any obedience. Pleas denied!
 I like it 
  January 11, 2017
Highly creative! The moon must be singing 'Meeercy, Show me meeercy! now.. (Muse)
 I made it 
  January 11, 2017
Quoting Didier B Wow... That's really a strange creation ! the entire page is really cool. Didier
Thanks, Didier!
 I like it 
  January 11, 2017
Wow... That's really a strange creation ! the entire page is really cool. Didier
 I made it 
  December 20, 2016
Quoting Tom Remy Nice PSS! :-) Happy Christmas!
Thanks, Tom! Same to you and yours.
 I like it 
  December 20, 2016
Nice PSS! :-) Happy Christmas!
 I made it 
  December 18, 2016
Quoting Oran Cruzen Another great JM creation! Merry Christmas Jeremy!
Thanks, Oran! Same to you and yours!
 I like it 
  December 18, 2016
Another great JM creation! Merry Christmas Jeremy!
 I made it 
  December 16, 2016
Quoting Oliver Becker Fantastic creation, my friend! Again I can't top Nick's comment... :) But wait, a try: May the centrifugal force (compensation) be with your creation! ;))
Ha, good one, Oliver! You're too kind.
 I like it 
  December 16, 2016
Fantastic creation, my friend! Again I can't top Nick's comment... :) But wait, a try: May the centrifugal force (compensation) be with your creation! ;))
 I made it 
  December 16, 2016
Quoting Nick Barrett Master of the Universe, very appealing!
Very kind, Nick! It's nice to be master of something, even if it's just a pretend solar system.
 I like it 
  December 16, 2016
Master of the Universe, very appealing!
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting Henrik Jensen Lovely and fascinating at the same time!
Thanks, Henrik -- very nice to hear!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Lovely and fascinating at the same time!
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting D H Planets and orbits and solar systems oh my!
Exactly. Thanks, DH!
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting jds 7777 Haha Very clever! Like many of your creations of late, it seems to have some sort of hypotonic characteristics to it (at least, while in motion) It would be interesting if you but 2 moon-goddesses on free-spinning arms and set them in orbit...
"You are getting sleepy ... very, very sleepy. When you awake, you will have an irresistible urge to give me all your LEGO." Well, that never works, but I keep trying. Anyway, tops got me hooked on visual effects produced by spinning patterns under various kinds of lighting. It's not far from there to spirographic effects under blacklight. As for the moon goddesses, you're basically proposing a celestial chick fight on wheels. Well, this is a side of you we've never seen before, JDS, but I'm all for it!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Planets and orbits and solar systems oh my!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Haha Very clever! Like many of your creations of late, it seems to have some sort of hypotonic characteristics to it (at least, while in motion) It would be interesting if you but 2 moon-goddesses on free-spinning arms and set them in orbit...
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting Walter Lee Pretty clever mechanical solar system!
Thanks, Walter! I wanted to keep the mechanics simple to focus on the play value in making up your own worlds and back stories.
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting Sven ;o) Love it my friend ;) Was much fun watching it in detail on video. Lovely work!
Too kind, Sven! Really glad you enjoyed it.
 I made it 
  December 15, 2016
Quoting Seaman SPb Fantastic work, Jeremy!
Thanks, Seaman! Always appreciate your comments!
  December 15, 2016
Pretty clever mechanical solar system!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Love it my friend ;) Was much fun watching it in detail on video. Lovely work!
 I like it 
  December 15, 2016
Fantastic work, Jeremy!
 
By Jeremy McCreary
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LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Personal solar system on wheelsTechnic


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