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Full Version: Can We Create Artificial Gravity?
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One thing that nearly all spaceship-based sci-fi movies have in common is their portrayal of an artificial gravity system. People walk around the deck of the USS Enterprise or the Battlestar Galactica like they would on Earth; they aren't floating about the cabin like astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Artificial gravity makes science fiction more relatable, and easier to shoot—the zero-g sequences in Apollo 13, for example, were filmed 23 seconds at a time in the infamous "Vomit Comet").

As a result, it's easy to forget just how much the lack of gravity dictates life for today's space explorers. Motion sickness, difficulty remaining stationary and oriented, and bone and muscle deterioration are just a few of the problems astronauts can face. So why don't we have artificial gravity on ISS?

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The most realistic method of producing artificial gravity aboard a space station is using centripetal force to produce a pulling sensation toward the "floor" that would mimic the effects of gravity. Physics blogger Matthew Francis tells PM that it's a lot like one of our favorite boardwalk attractions. "If you've ever ridden on a carnival ride," he says, "you know that spinning very fast makes you feel heavier, and can even hold you against the wall of the ride if the floor drops—like in the old Gravitron ride." In a rotating spaceship, objects inside would be pushed toward the hull.

In a spaceship designed to produce artificial gravity, you'd walk around perpendicular to the "wall" you were stuck to, and parallel to what would, in a Gravitron, be the floor. The wall would become the floor, and the floor would become the inner wall of the ship.

Out in space, no gravity. You’ve seen the crew on board the International Space Station.

Once you’re in microgravity, you float around like a balloon. You have to drink and pee into a tube, and one of those involves a vacuum cleaner. Protip: Do not mix up those tubes.

Most importantly, once a spaceship started moving, or undertook evasive maneuvers, everyone would ping pong around like crunchy meaty bingo balls.

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Will we ever develop artificial gravity?

The only way to get gravity is with mass. The more mass, the more gravity you get. Without mass, you can’t have gravity.

Before we go any further, there’s no such thing as anti-gravity.

Now that’s out of the way, there are a few ways we can fake it.

The force of gravity that we feel is actually just an acceleration towards the center of the Earth at 9.8 meters per second squared, or 1G.

As Einstein showed us, everything’s relative. If you were in a spacecraft and it was accelerating away from Earth at a rate of 1G, it would feel exactly the same if you were standing on the ground.