The Sci-Fi trilogy *Gaia's Wasp is* a romance, but not a squishy one.
It's full of numbers that could have been pulled out of my ass, because I didn't show my calculations.
I didn't show my calculations because math in a romance would be stupid.

Here is the math.

Okay you have to be wondering why I am showing you math. The answer is: Because facts change everything.

Here we go. Much of *Gaia's Wasp* takes place
in a primitive spaceship called the *Unexpected Finger*.

Drat, spoilers already. But never fear, my spoilers leave out the sexy parts.

Let's start simple. The Finger was a spaceship that weighed four thousand metric tons. That's the same mass as a modern coast-guard cutter, and twice the launch weight of the Space Shuttle. It's also the weight of a boxcar full of gold, according to some guy in the book who didn't show his math because romance.

So was it true? Is a Finger-mass gold nugget the same size as boxcar?

Wow, that's boring. Here is something interesting. This is a picture from
*Dandelion Slap* (*Gaia's Wasp* Part 2.)

Here's the math: 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. (the 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. It was boring, but kinetic energy is coming up soon.

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

Did I say the Finger rammed the Earth? I didn't mean to say that. And besides, it probably wouldn't hurt us, because our atmosphere is equivalent to four feet of stainless steel.