Thu, 6 Jul 2000 21:04:09 -0700
One of the curious effects of centrifugal or Coriolis force generated "gravity"
is that you find yourself standing on a permanent slope.
Here's what happens. "Weight" is a product of acceleration times mass. You
supply the mass and, for the most part, the spin of the colony supplies the
acceleration. All well and good while you're standing still, but what happens
when you move? Well, as long as you move along a line parallel to the axis of
rotation, nothing changes. But when you move in the direction of the spin
(down-spin or "east") your motion (acceleration) is added to the spin-induced
acceleration and you gain "weight" in proportion to the speed of movement. Move
in the opposite direction (uo-spin or "west") and your motion counteracts the
spin-induced acceleration, so you lose "weight" to the same degree.
Since all objects follow the path of least resistance and there's less
resistance up-spin than there is down-spin, things tend to move up-spin more
readily. There's a gravity "gradient" from down-spin to up-spin, such that you
feel like you're standing on the side of a gently sloping hill.
In the contrary, inside-out world of the space colony, up-spin is downhill and
down-spin is uphill. The down-spin side of a "valley" or "ground" panel is, in
effect, 10% "higher" than the up-spin side. Any free-standing body of water
will be 10% deeper on the up-spin side.
This is easily corrected, of course -- just build up an actual slope from east
to west until everything is "level" in terms of acceleration.
But what if you don't correct it?
Cowabunga, dude! Thrasher's Paradise! If you live in an "open type" O'Neill
style colony, you'll have to zig zag to hit one of the eight bridges across each
"sky" panel, but if you live in a "closed type" Minovsky style colony, you can
skate around the world, forever!
Throw in some snow and you have the makings of a major tourist attraction....
"Ski Antarctica! Three kilometers of base, three centimeters of powder!"
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