gerard k. o'neill

human-ink-deactivated20151109  asked:

Consider a large hollow cylinder in space, 5km in diameter rotating at a speed of 220(+/-) m/s to provide artificial gravity of sorts on the inside surface(think an O'Neil Cylinder). Would there be an area along the axis that would experience "0 Gs" or apparent weightlessness? If so, how large would the area be and what would happen when leaving it? accelerating quickly outward and "falling" to the edge?

This is an interesting concept and there is surprisingly very little information on this. Everything I’ve read about the O’Neil Cylinder design does suggest that there would be an area of zero gravity along the center of the cylinder. 

I would assume this area would either be closed off to the population or would be some form of recreational area (and I honestly have no idea how large the area would be). If it were a recreational area, I’m sure there would be safeguards to prevent exiting the area from a considerable height and falling to the surface. Also, considering the artificial gravity is supposedly “gentle”, I would imagine exiting the area would simply mean stepping back into the gravitational environment.

This answer is pure speculation with some imagination tossed in so I could be completely incorrect. But thank you for this question! I definitely hope to learn more about this subject and I wouldn’t mind talking about it more with you if you want to.

Artist’s depiction of the interior of an O'Neill cylinder, illuminated by reflected sunlight.

The O'Neill cylinder (also called an O'Neill colony) is a space settlement design proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill in his 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. O'Neill proposed the colonization of space for the 21st century, using materials extracted from the Moon and later from asteroids. An O'Neill cylinder would consist of two counter-rotating cylinders. The cylinders would rotate in opposite directions in order to cancel out any gyroscopic effects that would otherwise make it difficult to keep them aimed toward the Sun. Each would be 5 miles (8.0 km) in diameter and 20 miles (32 km) long, connected at each end by a rod via a bearing system. They would rotate so as to provide artificial gravity via centrifugal force on their inner surfaces.

(via Wikipedia)


Lately I am super obsessed with generation starships and space colonies. I read about it in The Book of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe and by googling it I found out so many old retro designs about hypothetical human colonies in space. I am really intressted in the social aspects of such colonies, like how will their society be structured, how will they deal with issues such as wars, politics, poverty and so on. The technical aspects are more secondary for me, since I dont really have an affinity for physics, math and so on.

Book recommendations by me, that are set in generation starships:

Rendezvous with Rama Cycle
Book of the Long Sun Cycle
(feel free to recommend me others!)

Scientists that created theories about generation starships/space colonies:
Gerard K. O’Neill (O’Neill Cylinder)
(feel free to recommend me others here aswell!)