Artificial Gravity: Which way is Up?


My interest in the physics of space station gravity developed because last year Vonda McIntyre was writing a book with a space station setting, and she asked my advice. The book, Barbary, is about a teenager who leaves Earth to live in a space station with spin-generated gravity. I helped Vonda in a very minor way by identifying the physical effects that the heroine would experience in that environment. What's it like to ride an elevator in a space station? How would a ball game look if it were played there? If you woke up in a strange location, what simple tests would tell if you were in a rotating space station rather than at rest on the ground? And so on ... I found that there are some interesting side-effects of artificial gravity, perhaps well known to NASA experts but obscure to the rest of us. And I was surprised to find that some recent SF hasn't been too accurate in describing the space habitat environment.



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