Hi citizens, it's deriko again, bringing you the latest in Whyville space-age
technology. Researchers have developed (or stolen?) the plans to an advanced
"Ion Engine" here in Whyville. For years, Whyvillians gazed into the stars...
generations have passed and been reborn, yet we have never reached those big
bright lights in the sky. Whyville life will never be the same, as we may now
have the means to carry Whyvillians to Mars...!
The Ion Engine Game works on the affects of electricity. It's much like
magnetism, in that 'like' charges repel, and 'opposite' charges attract. The
engine cathode propels charges toward a pair of charged plates. The ion
particles progress through the cylindrical tube and outward towards the back of
First, positive particles must pass through a positively-charged grid. The
particles are initially repelled by this small force, but once they pass through
the grid, they are drawn at amazing speeds towards the oppositely-charged grid
(negative). With the 'like' charge (positive) behind the particles and the
attracting charges (negative) in front of them, they increase in speed between
Okay, so, the particles fly in from nowhere, and they speed up along the way,
but what has this got to do with moving anywhere? Once those particles speed up,
they are shot out the back of the engine and provide a very significant force.
This force propels the spacecraft through space at a rate never achieved by the
human race before. Editor's Note: Actually, one of the strange
and amazing things about ion engines are, they don't give you a lot of
acceleration -- just a very efficient, constant acceleration that will
eventually get you to a huge speed over a long period of time. Why do you think
they're different from normal rocket engines?
In the Whyville ion engine room, you can create your very own ion engine. There
are 2 factors for you to consider: the grid's location, and the grid's charge.
The grid location controls the distance between the plates. The greater the
distance, the longer the charges will move faster for.
The grid charge controls the voltage flowing across the grids at any given
moment. The higher the grid charge, the faster particles move in between the two
fences. Also, when you have a higher grid charge, your fuel is used up over a
shorter period of time, and you may not get to shoot as many particles as you
would have liked.
There are 100 particles, and I advise you to use them all wisely. Each one that
floats out the back of your engine provides a little more force, sending you
more distance and adding points to your rocket's score. Along the top of the
screen, you will see a miniature design of your engine. As you run the engine,
the miniature design will move along the top of the screen, showing your score
as you go along. I've only been able to achieve a score of 234, so I expect to
see some tough competition from everyone.
Apart from building your own ion engine, Whyville City Engineers have developed
a new four-player game called "Hotspots". In this exciting game, me and a few
friends played an exciting variation of hockey. The two teams, purple and blue,
are assigned 2 players each, a positive and a negative terminal. The ion cannon
is placed randomly around the room; and after 10 seconds, it fires one single
shot forward. The positive players (or terminals, as I call them) force the
positively-charged particle to avoid their characters. The negative terminal
players pull the particle towards their characters, once it has been shot from
The objective of the game is to pull or deflect your particle into your own net.
If you can do this, you score one point. All four players agree on a score to
try and reach, and the game begins. Once your team reaches that number, you are
the game victors. I played an exciting game with a few friends at 8:00pm on Jan.
16, 2004. Savvvy and Lovrboi faced off against Zipperoo and I. Sadly for me, the
game ended in a 7-1 win for Savvvy and Lovrboi. I was very disappointed when the
cannon appeared behind their goal line several times, firing a shot right into
their goal line! Still, we were no match for their tactical teamwork strategies,
and amazing gameplay.
All these great activities, plus a couple of added chat rooms are here for YOUR
enjoyment. I hope Whyvillians relax and have fun around this fantastic Ion
Engine game. Maybe it could become something much more for Whyville citizens
This is your Whyville Aeronautics Space Administration (W.A.S.A) citizen
reporter, deriko, signing off.