Fri, 30 Jul 1999 01:06:53 EDT

In a message dated 7/29/99 9:49:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Z@Gundam.Com

> In the actual O'Neill "High Frontier" concept, they "sky" was just a
> blue-tinted light source that simulated the Terrestrial sky, not a window
> on the world. The business of actually being able to see through the "sky"
> panels is an artistic license begun with some of the early NASA artwork and
> carried over into Gundam. The actual O'Neill designs specified a set of
> baffles over all of the transparent sections that would allow light through
> but screen out cosmic rays and other radiation, somthing like this:
> | | | | | | | |
> \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \
> | | | | | | | |
> Here, the angled bits are mirrored on both sides. There's no straight-line
> path through the baffle and only light within a specified range of
> wavelengths gets reflected and passed in. It's more complex than tat, of
> course, but you get the idea. The idea was not to see in or out, but to
> illuminate the colony with free natural light from the sun rather than
> artificial light, which would have to be generated and maintained at some
> expense.
> It might even be possible to make the skylights out of blocks of water ice
> -- at that temperature it would be just as solid as quartz glass, though
> certainly not as durable. Onthe other hand, water ice is pretty tough
> stuff when kept well below the melting point, witness the Sapporo ice
> sculptures, Inuit igloos and that tourist resort in Norway that they build
> anew every winter.
> We may be on to something here. Does anybody know the Mohs Scale value for
> water ice?
> -Z-

I do understand that the intent was to use layers of prism shaped quartz to
form the "Light" panels, do to there refractive abilities. And the idea of
covering said panels with a deep layer of liquid water works very well as a
radiation shield (water is always the best for cheap shielding). Water should
act as a very effective light filter for a colony, as well.

All in all, I can easily see liquid water rather than ice as a covering for
the "light" panels. But that doesn't mean that Tomino actually used that idea
in Gundam. We still see Mobile Suits hovering along a panel's surface like an
air hockey puck with their foot thrusters and tread shape acting as a plenum
for a very shallow ground-effect. And no spray to speak of.


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