3DWannabe Blog

Give In To Gravity

by on Feb.15, 2011, under General, Science

There was a story the other day about the end of the space shuttle. It got me thinking about the space program and how things could have been different. One big change that should be made is the 40 year focus on trying to make humans survive long term in a zero g environment. Well, after 40 years of trying it’s time to learn from the evidence, you can’t. 3 billion years of evolution has won. Humans need the resistance of gravity to develop and maintain health. The space station is the 100 billion dollar period on that conclusion. Let’s call it lesson learned and move on.
This gives us a big problem. All plans for space assume that we can survive and prosper in less than one g of gravity. The moon’s gravity is 1/6 that of the Earth. All of Zubrin’s plans for Mars hinge on the fact that 40% gravity is enough. What if those assumptions are wrong? What if we can only visit these places, not live there? From this point on, all our gravity research should have a different focus, to see what the bodies limits are.
There have been plans for rotating space stations floating (sic) around almost since the first genius figured out that a rock spun around your head wants to fly away. Let’s build one. Put it near the ISS, zero g industry may be the future, but our factory workers will need to return to a gravity environment. Basically you’ll need a hollow tire / wheel with spokes going up to the hub. Two living levels. One, the ‘bottom’ level would have 40% gravity, like Mars. The upper tier would have 15% gravity, like the moon. Put long term crews on each, let’s find the answer to the question, can we survive in these gravity environments before building colonies. If the answer is no, particularly if you opt for one of the one way methods for your colony, you might be condemning those people to a long, slow, painful failure.
While this seems to be basic research, it holds the key to human space exploration. Will our future be in rotating habitats building empires in the asteroid belt, or expanding colonies on the multitude of planets and moons in the solar system. The future, our future, hangs on the results.


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