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"It is change ... that is the dominant factor in society today... the world as it will be. This means that ... every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.""
- Isaac Asimov

Acceleration Chair  
  A specially-designed chair used to help crew stay mobile during periods of high acceleration.  

One of the problems with conventional means of space travel (not involving faster than light) are the difficulties caused by the fact that accelerating the vehicle produces a force indistinguishable from gravity. Accelerating a ship at 10 meters per second per second would feel like earth-normal gravity.

On the second day, Staley brought a new midshipman up to the bridge, both moving in traveling acceleration chairs.
From The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Simon & Schuster in 1974
Additional resources -

At 20 meters per second per second, you would feel like you weighed twice as much. How could you move around without assistance?

Over the years, NASA has studied the problem of protecting people during high acceleration (both entering space and during re-entry). You would think that perfect physical specimens who underwent rigorous training and dietary regulation would do the best after the weightlessness of space travel. However, a study was performed in which sedentary and highly fit people were given a baseline acceleration tolerance test, then given 10 days of enforced bed rest. A second test was given following the bed rest.

The sedentary people were found to do better on the second test than the "perfect specimens." See the amusing article Fat Slobs in Space for additional details.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mote in God's Eye
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to The Mote in God's Eye
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

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