Moving to space comes with numerous challenges for space explorers. They have to exist in an unfriendly environment lacking food, water and air. Further, they face bodily changes in space which may persist even on Earth. Keeping these things in mind, researchers at Kyoto University and Kajima Corp (a construction company), Japan, have come up with a concept of creating artificial gravity on the Moon and Mars to help astronauts.
What is gravity, and why is it important?
Gravity is a force by which a planet attracts objects towards it. This keeps objects on the earth’s surface. It plays a significant role ranging from giving weights to physical objects to helping biological functions. Gravity guides plants to grow through a process called Gravitropism. It influences circulation in organisms and controls cell differentiation and immune system functions.
However, in astronauts, these biological functions are disturbed in space. Studies have shown that astronauts who have spent weeks and months in the no gravity or microgravity zone suffer from bone depletion, atrophied muscles (thinning of muscles), vision loss, weak immune system and other health issues. Therefore, to reduce these risks for space travellers, researchers are aiming to create artificial gravity in gravity-less zones. Their concept has been featured in a video released this month.
How would researchers develop artificial gravity?
Researchers are planning to build a sci-fi conical space tower called The Glass on the Moon that would be 400 metres tall and 200 meters wide. This would consist of a natural-like habitat similar to earth and have trees, plants, and water bodies. Interestingly, when the habitat rotates on its axis once every 20 seconds, it will let people living on its inner surface feel gravity. Further, it will also have a transport system called Hexatrack, which will connect different levels of the tower and facilitate transportation between them. Space vehicles would enable transport between Moon habitats and the base station in orbit.
How practical is the concept of artificial gravity?
The construction of The Glass would demand a lot of resources. Making it spin to its axis, and layering it with soil, water, grass, and other features would require exceptional design and construction materials. Living in an environment full of instabilities, especially in space could be difficult. Therefore, an efficient plan is required to execute the concept successfully.
For now, this idea is just an imagination and more at home. However, one day it could be true if innovation continues to grow in space technology.
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