Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Is A Hollow Rotating Asteroid Habitat Practical?

How can we best house and support the hardy miners of asteroids? A new paper suggests that hollowing out a suitable asteroid, and then spinning it for artificial gravity, would solve a lot of problems.



(Spinning a hollow spheroidal asteroid)

Here, we assume the entire mined asteroid to rotate at a sufficient rate for artificial gravity and investigate its use for housing a habitat inside. In this study we present how to estimate the necessary spin rate assuming a cylindrical space station inside a mined asteroid and discuss the implications arising from substantial material stress given the required rotation rate. We estimate the required material strength using two relatively simple analytical models and discuss applicability to rocky near-Earth asteroids.

A study on how much gravity is needed to keep the human body upright was performed by Harris et al. (2014). They found that the threshold level of gravity needed to influence a persons orientation judgment is about 15 % of the gravity on Earth's surface, which is approximately the gravity acting on the Lunar surface. Martian gravity, 38 % of Earth's gravity, should be enough for astronauts to orient themselves and maintain balance.

As a consequence of a lack of experiments on the influence of reduced gravity on the human body we adopt the value of 38 % of Earth's gravity (gE) as starting point for our theoretical approach. We assume that a rotation of the asteroid has to cause an artificial gravity of minimum 0.38 gE in order to sustain long term healthy conditions for humans on the station.

An important aspect which directly affects applicability of this approach is sufficient material strength to sustain the required rotation rates. Although little is known about the exact composition of asteroids in the relevant size domain (≲ 0.5 km), observational data on fast rotators indicate individual objects with notable material strength. 2000 DO8, the fastest rotator in the IAU Minor Planet Center's list1 has a rotation period of 1.3 min. Assuming a long axis of about 80 m for this object, (Pravec et al., 2002) find a minimum tensile strength of approx. 2 × 104 Pa, three orders of magnitude less than the typical tensile strength of solid rock...

(From Stability of a Rotating Asteroid Housing a Space Station
Thomas I. Maindl, Roman Miksch and Birgit Loibnegger)

Science fiction writers have been thinking about the idea that asteroids can be used as space stations or habitats for a long time. For example, Robert Heinlein wrote about moving an asteroid to a suitable orbit and then creating a tented surface habitat in his 1939 story Misfit.

Raymond Z. Gallun proposed homesteading on a large planetoid in his 1951 story Asteroid of Fear.

The earliest use of the phrase hollow asteroid is in an amusing 1944 short story Juke Box Asteroid, by Joseph Farrell.

However, the earliest story I know about is also the closest to the proposal in this paper. In his 1932 story Electronic Siege, John Campbell described a clever rotating hollow planetoid habitat that actually addresses some of the concerns described in this paper.

It was nearly twenty-four hours later that they finally approached their destination, a tiny, five-mile world of solid metal, a part of the nickel-steel core of some long vanished planet. Its surface turned swiftly beneath them, flashing around in moments as they watched, a surface made up of great crags and clefts of metal, broken, barren masses of metal.
“Lord — it would be impossible to establish a city on the surface of that top!” exclaimed one of the Patrolmen. “The centrifugal spin there would throw anything off into space.”
“How about the inside of it then?” asked one of the guards, smiling at him...
"...When the colony was established, the whole interior was carved out with atomic burners — burned the stuff out into gas, and let it escape. The shell’s about half a mile thick. Inside, the centrifugal force gives an acceleration just equal to one earth gravity, we’re up to speed, and you can see we have about an earth-weight away from it now. And an artificial sun gives plenty of light.”

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/27/2021)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.' - Poul Anderson, 1953.

Superfast Energetic Electron 'Precipitation' Pelts Our Earth!
'On the three-dimensional map at weather headquarters on the planet Kaider III, the storm was colored orange.' - AE van Vogt, 1943.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
'And loving it too, those millions. Bloodthirsty to the last one of them.'

AI Employment Decision Software Reconsidered By California Lawmakers
'They had screwed up and been blacklisted by Manna. They were back living with their parents or sleeping on the sofa with a friend.'

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...'

Optimus Prime Tesla Robot Overall Humanoid Software Architecture
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.