Centrifugal moon towers could be the key to off-planet life

Video Japanese scientists are giving a new twist to human life in space with a proposal for centrifugal skyscrapers on the Moon and Mars.

Academics from Kyoto University and the folks at Kajima Construction, one of Japan’s largest construction companies, have teamed up on the concept, which they call “Luna Glass” and “Mars Glass.”

If built, the glass towers would be 400 meters high (about the height of the Empire State Building in New York) and 100 meters wide. To provide the gravity we are used to on our homeworld, the tower would rotate on its central axis at a rate of one rotation every 20 seconds. The researchers said the towers would produce around 1G at their widest point, the same gravitational force as on Earth.

People would live on the tower’s interior walls, much like the Dyson Sphere featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Halo rings from the eponymous game series, a ring-shaped habitat considered by NASA, or any number of proposed sci-fi and non-fiction contraptions that rely on centrifugal force to generate artificial gravity.

Inside Luna Glass

Life inside Luna Glass

“As life in space becomes more realistic, low gravity on places like the lunar surface is starting to be seen as a problem,” the researchers said in an article announcing the concept (which has been automatically translated). The team said low-gravity research on humans has been limited to adults, and the research has clearly shown how much of a problem zero or reduced gravity poses to human health.

According Nasa, astronauts in space lose muscle mass faster, are at increased risk of kidney stones and calcium deficiency, may have vision problems, develop an enlarged brain and lose 1-1.5% of density mineral of load-bearing bones per month. The Japanese team takes these concerns one step further: if people are going to live in space, what will low gravity do for childhood development, and how will it complicate birth ?

“We are considering an artificial gravity life facility that can generate [1G to be] …the core technology that allows humans to move through space,” the Japanese team said.

Here is a video of what the Mars tower strength look like, according to Kyoto Eggheads:

Youtube video

In addition to developing the glass towers, the Kyoto/Kajima team said their conceptual vision for life in space also includes two other components: a “core biome” which consists of the minimum natural materials needed to provide to a colony of food, clothing and shelter; and “the hexatrack”, a train-like artificial gravity transportation system designed to keep Moon and Mars-bound colonists grounded during a long journey.

Yosuke Yamashiki, director of the Kyoto University division working on the project, said that while countries like the United States and the United Arab Emirates are working on colonizing the Moon and Mars, they have no again discussed the three concepts that his team developed.

“These three pillars we propose are core technologies that are not in other countries’ development plans and are indispensable to ensure the realization of human space colonization in the future,” Yamashiki said. ®

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