Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quadrillions of nomad planets and the appropriateness of space colony architecture

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - A new study has estimated the number of nomad planets that might exist in the Milky Way Galaxy: 100,000 for every star. The Milky Way contains 200 to 400 billion stars, meaning quadrillions of nomad planets could be drifting through the space between the stars of our galaxy. See article.
g Life - Scientists have discovered that some hardy organisms living around deep-sea vents can survive the extreme change in pressure that occurs when a research submersible rises to the surface. See article.
g Cosmicus - Previous papers have examined the physical differences between natural and artificial gravity, through mathematical derivation and computer simulation. Taking those differences as given, this paper examines: the role of gravity in architectural design; the extensions of architectural theory necessary to accommodate the peculiarities of artificial gravity; and the appropriateness of space colony architecture as illustrated in the "Stanford Torus", "Bernal Sphere", and similar proposals. In terrestrial gravity, there are three principal directions - up, down, and horizontal - and three basic architectural elements - ceiling, floor, and wall. In artificial gravity, due to inertial effects of relative motion in a rotating environment, east and west (prograde and retrograde) emerge as gravitationally distinct. Thus, there are not only three, but at least five principal directions: up, down, east, west, and axial. The grammar of architecture for artificial gravity should accommodate this fact. To be meaningful, architecture should have formal properties that are similar to other aspects of the environment. The goal is not to fool people into thinking they're still on Earth, but rather, to help them orient themselves to the realities of their rotating environment. See article.

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