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Supercluster Explains Season One

Orbits,Rockets,Aerodynamics,Lagrange Points,Machine Learning
The Supercluster Team
November 17, 202011:00 AM UTC (UTC +0)

Supercluster Explains is our ongoing series of experimental animated shorts. Each episode tackles a mind-bending space concept in 60 seconds or less. We've wrapped the first five episodes, each with radically different animation styles by Ian Crane and Patrick Sluiter.

01: How Orbits Work

This episode explains a fundamental part of flying in outer space: Orbits. What if you could jump so high you never hit the ground? The idea of a parabolic arc that matches the curvature of the Earth was first proposed by Isaac Newton. Newton imagined a cannon ball fired from the top of a mountain.

At Supercluster, we've swapped that for a claymation high jumper who gets a bit too carried away.

02: Why Rockets Go Up

There's a surprising reason why rockets go up. Rockets might look like they fly by firing a flame cannon that "pushes" against the ground. But Newton helps us out here as well — his 2nd law of motion states that rockets actually move by throwing things out the back, as quick as they can.

03: Streamlining

This episode explains the field of aerodynamic science that gives rocket ships that slick, Buck Roger's silhouette: Streamlining. Imagine jumping into a ball pit, depending on your shape, you might cause a big splash or slip right through. Those balls are like molecules of air, and the smoother a rocket ship, the easier it slips through the atmosphere.

04: Lagrange Points

Lagrange Points are like parking spots in space. Without any resistance, a spaceship moving through space is at the mercy of nearby gravitational wells, with only its rockets to speed up or slingshot around the solar system. But what if you want to just "park," relative to another planet or moon?

05: Machine Learning

This episode explains a unique kind of artificial intelligence: machine learning. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, a clever way to teach a computer to learn for itself, by feeding it huge amounts of data and asking it to look for patterns. It's an amazing technique that is being used to discover exoplanets and listen for aliens.

Supercluster is powered by Dropbox. Dropbox is on a mission to design a more enlightened way of working so we can keep discovering the unknown
The Supercluster Team
November 17, 202011:00 AM UTC (UTC +0)