*Gaia's Wasp is the*
first book of the Sci-Fi Trilogy *Gaia's Wasp*.

*Wasp* is a romance, but not a squishy one. It takes place partly
in a primitive space ship called *Unexpected Finger*.

Drat, spoilers already. But never fear, my plot synopses always leave out the parts that matter. Also the adjectives.

Let's start simple. Finger was a spaceship that weighed four thousand metric tons. Four thousand tons is about the mass of a modern coast-guard cutter, and twice the launch weight of the Space Shuttle. It is also the weight of a boxcar full of gold, according to some guy in the book. But he didn't show his work, because math in a romance would be unromantic.

Stupid, actually.

Here is the math.

Okay you have to be wondering why I am showing you math.

Because facts change everything. If you get that, you will get *Wasp.*

Here we go. Gold is almost twice as dense as lead, weighing in at an impressive
1.9 ×10^{4} *kg/m*^{3}.
So a 4000-ton nugget would occupy a volume of
(4×10^{6}*kg*) / (1.9×10^{4}*kg*/*m*^{3})
= 200 *m*^{3}.

Is that comparable to a boxcar? Yes.
At 200 cubic meters, the volume of a F.E.N. (Finger-Equivalent Nugget) is near the midpoint of
common boxcars. A 50-ft *short car* holds 150*m*^{3},
while an 86-ft *auto car* holds 283*m*^{3}.

There it was, the first math. Slightly boring (okay more than slightly) but I promise,
Finger's kinetic energy
is coming up soon. In the meantime, here is a picture from
*Dandelion Slap* (Gaia's Wasp Part 2) which you can click for hi-res.

Back to the subject: One boxcar is just not that impressive. If Finger rammed the Earth, maybe it would just burn up in the atmosphere.

Did I say Finger rammed the Earth? I did not mean to say that. And besides it probably would not hurt us, because I heard our atmosphere is equivalent to three feet of solid lead.