Artificial Gravity? Why Not?
Take a look at this enjoyable article in Phys.Org about how much fun it would be to have "artificial gravity" - or even to accelerate at one gravity:
Want to get to the Moon? Accelerate at 1G for an hour and a half, turn around, and decelerate for the same amount of time. Not only would you get to the Moon in under 3 hours, but you would have experienced Earth gravity the entire time.
Want to fly to Jupiter? It would only take about 80 hours of acceleration, and then 80 hours of deceleration. At the halfway point of this journey, you're going more than 2,800 kilometers per second, which is close to 1% the speed of light.
Science fiction writers have enjoyed playing with the idea; as far as I know, the first reference to the name was in Ray Cummings' 1930 classic Brigands of the Moon:
Snap and I were passing along one of the interior corridors. The stateroom doors, with the illumined names of the passengers, were all closed. The metal grid of the floor echoed our footsteps. Snap was in advance of me. His body suddenly rose in the air. He went like a balloon to the ceiling, struck it gently, and all in a heap came floating down and landed on the floor!
"What in the infernal!--"
He was laughing as he picked himself up. But it was a brief laugh. We knew what had happened: the artificial gravity-controls in the base of the ship, which by magnetic force gave us normality aboard, were being tampered with!
(Read more about artificial gravity)
Artificial gravity fields were almost immediately decried as fantasy, not science fiction. The other method of creating "artificial gravity" was first used in science fiction just a year after Stapleton; Jack Williamson wrote about the City of Space in 1931:
"The City of Space is in a cylinder," Captain Smith said. "Roughly five thousand feet in diameter... The cylinder whirls constantly, with such speed that the centrifugal force against the sides equals the force of gravity on the earth. The city is built around the inside of the cylinder...
(Read more about the cylindrical space station)
If you think that this research might have merit, and are interested in other science-fictional devices that make use of gravitational field control, take a look at Frank Herbert's gravity web vest, Larry Niven's sleeping plates and Isaac Asimov's gravitic repulsion elevator.
Readers might also want to explore a more recently suggested method of obtaining weak artificial gravity for space stations; see this article on non-conductive tethers.
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