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    According to this, earth is closer to the sun than it is to venus, which should give you some idea about how useful this definition of ‘closest’ is.

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      Average distance isn’t an unreasonable definition of closest IMO. I appreciate this work a ton primarily because it questions the framework under which a widely accepted assumption was made, and shows an alternate interpretation which it makes a case for.

      It also highlights the effects of out-of-phase, different-fequency orbits which is really cool. The visualization is nice to boot.

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        Yep. And this makes the following moralistic quote really infuriating to me:

        As it turns out, by some phenomenon of carelessness, ambiguity, or groupthink, science popularizers have disseminated information based on a flawed assumption about the average distance between planets.

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          Earth is usually closer to the sun than Venus. Earth is closer to the sun than Venus right now.

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            Reminds me of the (I think) Asimov quote: “The Solar System consists of the Sun, Jupiter, and some random detritus.”

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              If some civilization needs to build a “communication relay” around a planet and they can only build one, which planet should they choose? Why?

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              Yeah but actual distance is also mostly meaningless. If the question is “how hard is it to get from point A to point B”, you need a delta-V map.

              (Had a heck of a time finding one for the solar system, rather than for Kerbal Space Program.)

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                Wait, we don’t live on Kerbin?

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                Announcement from the space force:

                In two years asteroid XXYY will hit the Earth and kill every living thing. However, you will be reassured to know that despite having the closest approach of any existing body (-200 km relative to the surface) the point circle method computes its average distance to be greater than Pluto. That is all.

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                  If your feet are encased in ice and your hair is on fire, you’re quite comfortable on average.