Ideas about centrifugal space colony habitats on high-gravity planets

  • Thread starter greswd
  • Start date
703
16
Centrifuges have long been viewed as the means to provide artificial gravity in the zero-g of deep space. Space colony structures like the O'Neill cylinder and the Stanford torus.

Centrifuges could also work their magic on the surfaces of low-gravity planets. Conical or paraboloidal shaped "Tsiolkovsky bowls" may be dug into the grounds of the Moon and Mars.

But now we come to the most interesting hurdle, high-gravity planets.
In our future space colonizations, we may not be able to be picky, and might have to settle on high-gravity planets. That sucks.


I've been thinking about ways to reduce the apparent gravitational weight on the surface of high-g planets.

The only thing I can come up with is a ginormous circular belt which loops around a great circle of the planet.

As it spins, the inhabitants standing on it will feel lighter. However, it is way more wildly impractical than the other centrifuges, which are already pretty impractical beasts themselves.


What do you guys think? Is it near-impossible to ease the load on high-g planets?
 

Drakkith

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If you're going to have the resources to build such a gigantic structure, you're almost certainly better off building orbital habitats in my opinion. In fact, I don't even see a reason to build anything on the surface since you almost certainly can't have people work in a high-g environment without serious help from powered exoskeletons, genetic modifications, or something to help with the difference in gravity.

In our future space colonizations, we may not be able to be picky, and might have to settle on high-gravity planets.
I'd settle in orbit and send robots down to the surface to gather whatever resources you need. Also, don't forget that the surface of a planet is a relatively poor place for many resources. Most metals are far more abundant in asteroids than they are on the surface of a planet since gravity causes denser materials (like metals) to sink to the interior of the planet during its formation when it's still liquid.
 
703
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If you're going to have the resources to build such a gigantic structure, you're almost certainly better off building orbital habitats in my opinion.
and there's no other way to achieve lower g's on the surface of the planet right?
 
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Well... you could put your facility deep enough underground that the net gravity is effectively 1g, or keep drilling all the way through and have the facility freefall back and forth from one side of the planet to the other. Both engineering challenges are (I believe) pretty far beyond us - though it looks simple in theory - mostly due I imagine to pressure at depth.

On the other hand, the train thing would probably be doable without any handwavium or unobtanium, though the only thing we have that compares is the Hyperloop : a couple of hundred miles of track at a couple of hundred miles an hour... as opposed to tens of thousands of miles of track at tens of thousands miles per hour, which is what you need.
 

Filip Larsen

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Is it near-impossible to ease the load on high-g planets?
Depending on your definition of ease, it may be possible to get some relief by combining a power suit with fluid suspension such that the body "floats" inside the suit either fully or partially submerged. However, if the body is fully submerged (to relieve neck loads) then breathing while standing up will become difficult once g-loads go above 2 to 3 (if I recall correctly) unless the suit is pressurize to above 1 atmosphere. If the planet have water oceans perhaps working and living at some depth in the ocean (in addition to wearing those "fluid suits") would offer a some relief while still allow breathing. In exchange for that relief you'd then get all the fun challenges associated with deep diving on Earth. I seriously doubt it would be worth it. :frown:

So, for any kind of working in an high-g environment I would definately go with the already mentioned idea of controlling a robotic worker from the comfort of a (spinning) station in orbit, especially since you have to have a (spinning) spacecraft anyway to get to the planet in question. :smile:
 
703
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What I've learned is, stay away from high-g planets :-p
 

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