-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Thu, 29 Jul 1999 13:22:30 -0700

At 00:26 7/29/1999 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 7/28/99 8:37:37 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Z@Gundam.Com
>> Both the Zaku FZ and the Gundam NT-1 do the "roller skate" thing across the
>> "sky" panel of the Libot colony. This is an expanse of quartz glass
>> blocks, 32 km long and 3.2 km wide, that's as slick as, well, glass. The
>> MS didn't need to hover; they could "ice skate" in this case, using their
>> backpacks or even just the colony's own rotation (which givees the
>> antispinward side of the sky panel a permanent "downhill slope" with a 10%
>> gradient) for forward thrust.
>Glass doesn't act physically like ice, so you can really "skate" on it. But
>give your MS a little thrust for your foot thrusters and you could glide like
>an Air Hockey puck.

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the sky panels were, in
fact, covered with ice or frost. As noted on my Gundam: High Frontier web
page, the "sky" panels aren't really above the "ground" panels, as they
appear to be from the inhabitant's point of view, but adjacent to them.
Though transparent and serving as skylights, they are simply sections of
the hull and, other than being uninhabited, are fundamentally no different
than the inhabited "ground" panels.

So what happens when it rains? Why, the "sky" fills with water! (Tomino
calls them "rivers" in his novelizations -- but I think he was merely
noting how they appear to separate the inhabited masses, especially when
spanned by bridges.)

Depending on the coefficient of heat in those quartz glass blocks and their
titanium or stainless steel frames, the blocks may be cold enough to turn
some of that water into a layer of permafrost. (The "ground" panels are
built to absorb and retain heat for the comfort of the inhabitants, but
this would not be advisable for the "sky" panels, as it would add to the
already long list of maintenance problems.)

Hmmm. I may have to update my discussion of this and mention the
possibility of icy or frosted glass, although I'll stick by my conclusion
that filling the "sky" with a fixed volume of water is the best all-around


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