NASA Funds Research into Large, Rotating Structures Providing Artificial Gravity

A high-expansion-ratio auxetic structure can be stowed inside a single Falcon Heavy fairing and deployed to a final length of one kilometer on orbit as part of a large space station. The station can then be spun at 1-2 RPM to generate 1g artificial gravity at its ends while still maintaining a microgravity environment at its center near the spin axis, providing the crew with the flexibility of living in a 1g environment while performing some work in microgravity. (Credits: Zachary Manchester, graphic by Tzipora Thompson)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into how to launch kilometer-wide space structures that would be allow astronauts to live in artificial gravity.

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NASA Selects Futuristic Space Technology Concepts for Early Study

Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — An astronaut steps into a body scanner and, hours later, walks on Mars in a custom-made spacesuit, breathing oxygen that was extracted from Mars’ carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. On Venus, an inflatable bird-like drone swoops through the sky, studying the planet’s atmosphere and weather patterns. Ideas like these are currently science fiction, but they could one day become reality, thanks to a new round of grants awarded by NASA.

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Testing the Value of Artificial Gravity for Astronaut Health

Control room of DLR’s short-arm centrifuge (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany, 21 March 2019 (EXSA PR) — Test subjects in Cologne, Germany will take to their beds for 60 days from 25 March as part of a groundbreaking study, funded by European Space Agency ESA and US space agency NASA, into how artificial gravity could help astronauts stay healthy in space.

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Carnival of Space 47: Artificial Gravity in Orbit, Rovers on Mars, and Life on Titan

The Martian Chronicles blog is hosting Carnival of Space 47, a collection of links to articles on a variety of space topics. The stories include:

  • An article by Darnell Clayton at Colony Worlds speculating about whether Bigelow Aerospace could alter the design of its planned space station to accommodate artificial gravity;
  • Animation of NASA’s Spirit rover scurrying around on the surface of Mars;
  • A summary of the science that would have been lost had NASA gone ahead with budget cuts in the Spirit and Opportunity programs;
  • Paul Gilster’s musings about possible life in an ocean below Titan’s frozen surface.