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SciFi writer needs space colony help!

  1. Jun 1, 2013 #1
    Hello all,
    I've gotten some great help here before:


    and I come back to you again with another question.

    So suppose there's a space colony, similar to Gerard O'Neill's ideas back in the 70's of ring-like tubes that rotate to allow for a sense of gravity through centrifugal (centripetal?) force.

    I am curious as to the possibility of a similar colony. Fixed in one location in the solar system, and the size of the inside of an asteroid, I mean HUGE. Very similar to his Bernal sphere. (If you are unfamiliar with these terms, google will show you what I"m talking about) But rather than a sphere, would it be possible to have a giant rotating cylander, solid along the sides like a toilet-paper tube with cities and lakes and mountains on the inner side. Assuming there existed science fiction fission reactors to get it spinning, could something as massive as a hollowed out asteroid keep a sense of gravity? What if the tube was accelerating?

    As always, thanks for anyone who curiously looked over my question, and thanks for doing what you do!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2013 #2

    We do actually have the theoretical capability to build a space station, perhaps not as huge as something like Babylon 5 but at least bigger than the ISS, and we do have fission reactors that could power it. The reason we haven't developed it yet has more to do with lack of demand, but I think in the next couple of decades this will change.

    As long as it's spinning at sufficient speed and the inhabitants are towards the mid to outer part of the structure then they should feel simulated gravity. As for if the tube was accelerating, I assume you mean in a straight line? I guess, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a space station.
  4. Jun 2, 2013 #3


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    You might try reading Arthur C Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama". It centers around a deep space probe very similar to the station you propose. Clark even makes some clever allowances for things like linear acceleration and variations in external temperature.
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