Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Artificial Gravity? (part 3)

So what about the design of the spacecraft (the Hermes) in “The Martian” movie? This seems a viable approach to generating artificial gravity in space, and already a giant centrifuge was built to NASA specifications in El Segundo, California at Wyle Laboratories to study this possibility. The centrifuge was delivered to UTMB in 2004, and many tests have since been performed with the giant device. It has two arms with a radius of 10 feet each, with one subject on each arm, and the stresses upon astronauts are being studied by scientists and physicians from all over the world. Movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the recent Martian movie have implied that the issue of gravity in space has been solved by the giant rotating spacecraft design, but not only are such large designs extremely expensive to construct, they also come with many engineering concerns. The adverse effects of living in a rotating spacecraft include motion sickness and other negative effects caused by head motions rotating 180 degrees a second. This perpetual rotation would interfere with cognitive and motor functions, in addition to having an effect upon the bones, muscles, and vestibular system (sense of balance and spatial orientation). Isn't there a better way to produce artificial gravity in space?

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