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Old Jul 14th 2012, 12:10 PM
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Default Gravity on Spaceships

We've all seen Star Trek and Star Wars and countless other space-based movies where all these starships fly around in space - with people walking around on the ships. I know we have to suspend disbelief for things like warp-drives and teleporters. That's part of the "science fiction" or the assumption of advanced future technology.

But what about gravity? How the heck do all these people walk on these spaceships without floating? I have never see or head of any reasonably plausible explanation for this. Anyone have any ideas about how this 'gravity on spaceships' problem is explained away? I'm curious.

I've always thought that one possible way to create artifical gravity in space is to build ginormous spaceships in the shape of a wheel that spins - and the centrifugal force on the inside of the outer rim of the wheel shape would mimic gravity. Other than that, I can't imagine any kind of artificial gravity being functional.
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Old Jul 14th 2012, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

As with many things on TV, it is never really explained. Star Trek has has artificial gravity generators. No one ever really explains how it works...
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Old Jul 14th 2012, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
We've all seen Star Trek and Star Wars and countless other space-based movies where all these starships fly around in space - with people walking around on the ships. I know we have to suspend disbelief for things like warp-drives and teleporters. That's part of the "science fiction" or the assumption of advanced future technology.

But what about gravity? How the heck do all these people walk on these spaceships without floating? I have never see or head of any reasonably plausible explanation for this. Anyone have any ideas about how this 'gravity on spaceships' problem is explained away? I'm curious.

I've always thought that one possible way to create artifical gravity in space is to build ginormous spaceships in the shape of a wheel that spins - and the centrifugal force on the inside of the outer rim of the wheel shape would mimic gravity. Other than that, I can't imagine any kind of artificial gravity being functional.

of the centrifugal gravity solution is a possibility given our current state of technology. but given star trek's state of technology one would assume that they would be able to manipulate the space time continum in a way as to create an artificial gravity field in the space ship. In other words, you have to suspend disbelief with that point as you do with the warp drive technology.
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Old Jul 14th 2012, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

Another solution besides rotation is that the ship is under constant acceleration. The latter is identical to gravity according to relativity. The less hairbrained semi-scientifical proposals for 'local' interstellar travel work on the premise that the ship would be accelerating at 1G (equivalent to Earth's gravity) until the midway point, then it would turn backwards and start braking at 1G so that the spacefarers would be accommodated constantly.

I don't know if this is suggested or used in either Star Wars or Star Trek. Both are scientifically nonsensical anyway. They completely ignore time dilution. 'Star fleets' would miss each other by up to tens of thousands of years.

Edit : actually the identity between gravity and acceleration is probably the only relativistic effect one can experience in everyday life. Just step into a jet fighter or a Lamborghini

Last edited by Dominick; Jul 14th 2012 at 03:01 PM.
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Old Jul 14th 2012, 10:19 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
Another solution besides rotation is that the ship is under constant acceleration. The latter is identical to gravity according to relativity.
Does that require the floor which people are walking on to be the back of the space ship?
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Old Jul 15th 2012, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Does that require the floor which people are walking on to be the back of the space ship?
The source of the acceleration, i.e.the engine(s) would define the rest of the structure. If you define that as the back of the ship then, yes, the floors would be perpendicular to that line. A spaceship would have to designed as a building on its side.

None of the Star Wars/Star Trek vessels (USS Enterprise, Milennium Falcon, etc.) make sense in this respect. Their design is suitable for planetary/atmospheric conditions where the main source of the acceleration is below (the gravity of a planet) rather than behind (the engines). They don't make sense in space.

PS in the previous post it was time dilation of course.
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Old Jul 15th 2012, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
The source of the acceleration, i.e.the engine(s) would define the rest of the structure. If you define that as the back of the ship then, yes, the floors would be perpendicular to that line. A spaceship would have to designed as a building on its side.

None of the Star Wars/Star Trek vessels (USS Enterprise, Milennium Falcon, etc.) make sense in this respect. Their design is suitable for planetary/atmospheric conditions where the main source of the acceleration is below (the gravity of a planet) rather than behind (the engines). They don't make sense in space.

PS in the previous post it was time dilation of course.
Your thinking is too 21st century. In the 23rd century they will be able to manipulate gravitons and create artificial gravity fields.
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Old Jul 15th 2012, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by shekib82 View Post
Your thinking is too 21st century. In the 23rd century they will be able to manipulate gravitons and create artificial gravity fields.
Who's they and how will they do that ?
I've no problem at all speculating about future possibilities or acknowledging that the long range future will have presently unguessed possibilities but there are things that are just too fundamental. Gravity is part of the essential fabric of the universe; it's the curvature of spacetime. Sure, you can conceivably manipulate that but you will always have the problem of tidal gravity. At the scale where such a manipulation would be useful tidal gravity would be so strong that it would rip everything literally to shreds, including humans and all their artefacts. That is a Catch-22 that is unescapable, now and ever.
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Old Jul 15th 2012, 01:33 PM
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Post Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
Who's they and how will they do that ?
I've no problem at all speculating about future possibilities or acknowledging that the long range future will have presently unguessed possibilities but there are things that are just too fundamental. Gravity is part of the essential fabric of the universe; it's the curvature of spacetime. Sure, you can conceivably manipulate that but you will always have the problem of tidal gravity. At the scale where such a manipulation would be useful tidal gravity would be so strong that it would rip everything literally to shreds, including humans and all their artefacts. That is a Catch-22 that is unescapable, now and ever.
We are speculating on star trek here. I don't know how they will do it, or if it is at all Possible, but given the way the spaceship looks like, gravity seems to be generated from the ground of the space ship. I postulate that it is by creating a field made up of gravitons which is the theoretical Particle that carries gravity. Now whether this makes scientific sense I don't know as I am not an astrophysicist. This thread should be taken with a bit of levity, so chill out.
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Old Jul 15th 2012, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Gravity on Spaceships

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Originally Posted by Dominick View Post
The source of the acceleration, i.e.the engine(s) would define the rest of the structure. If you define that as the back of the ship then, yes, the floors would be perpendicular to that line. .
No, for me the back of the ship has to be the part of the ship which is furthest away from the place it is moving towards. Whether or not the engine is at the front, it seems totally baffling to me that the front of the ship (for me this is the opposite end of what I consider to be the back of the ship) could possibly be used as the floor - and as I said, that applies even if the engine is at the front - but what do I know, physics isn't my forté.
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