Artificial gravity: from Kubrick's Space Odyssey to antiparticle

Problems with the vestibular apparatus are not the only consequence of a long stay in conditions

microgravity. Astronauts who spend more than a month on the ISS often suffer from sleep disturbance, cardiovascular slowdown and meteorism.

Recently, NASA completed an experiment duringscientists have compared the twins' genome: one of them spent almost a year on the ISS, the other made only short-term flights and was on Earth most of the time. Long-term stay in space led to the fact that 7% of the DNA of the first astronaut changed forever - we are talking about genes associated with the immune system, the formation of bone tissue, oxygen starvation and an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the body.

NASA compared twin astronauts to see how the human body changes in space

Under microgravity, a person will be forced todo nothing: it is not about the presence of astronauts on the ISS, but about flights into deep space. To find out how such a regime would affect the health of astronauts, the European Space Agency (ESA) laid out 14 volunteers on a bed tilted in the direction of the head for 21 days. An experiment that will allow in practice to test the latest methods of dealing with weightlessness - such as improved exercise and nutrition regimens - are going to jointly conduct NASA and Roscosmos.

But if people decide to send ships to Mars or Venus, more extreme solutions will be needed - artificial gravity.

How gravity can exist in space

First of all, it should be understood that gravity exists everywhere - in some places it is weaker, in others it is stronger. And outer space is no exception.

ISS and satellites are under constant influencegravity: if the object is in orbit, he, simply put, falls around the Earth. A similar effect occurs if you throw the ball forward - before it falls to the ground, it will fly a little in the direction of the throw. If you throw the ball harder, he will fly further. If you are superman and the ball is a rocket engine, it will not fall to the ground, but fly around it and continue to rotate, gradually going into orbit.

Microgravity assumes that people inside the ship are not in the air - they fall from the ship, and that, in turn, falls around the Earth.

Due to the fact that gravity is a forceattraction between the two masses, we remain on the surface of the Earth when we go along it, and do not float away to the sky. In this case, the entire mass of the Earth attracts the mass of our bodies to its center.


When ships go into orbit, they are freefloating in outer space. They are still subject to the gravitational attraction of the Earth, but the ship and the objects or passengers in it are equally affected by gravity. The existing devices are not massive enough to create a noticeable attraction, so people and objects in it do not stand on the floor, but “float” in the air.

How to create artificial gravity

Artificial gravity per se is notexists to create it, a person needs to learn everything about natural gravity. In science fiction, there is the concept of imitation of gravity: it allows the crew of spacecraft to walk on the deck, and objects to stand on it.

In theory, there are two ways to create an imitationgravity, and none of them has yet been used in real life. The first is the use of centripetal force to simulate gravity. The ship or station at the same time should be a wheel-like structure consisting of several constantly rotating segments.

According to this concept, centripetalthe acceleration of the apparatus, pushing the modules towards the center, will create a semblance of gravity or conditions similar to those of the earth. This concept was demonstrated in the 2001 Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick and in the Interstellar movie by Christopher Nolan.

The concept of a device that creates centripetal acceleration to simulate gravity

The author of this project is considered to be German.Rocket scientist and engineer Werner von Braun, who led the development of the Saturn-5 rocket, which delivered the Apollo 11 crew and several other manned vehicles to the moon.

As director of the Space Flight CenterMarshall NASA, von Braun popularized the idea of ​​the Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky to create a toroidal space station based on a hub-like construction resembling a bicycle wheel. If the wheel rotates in space, then inertia and centrifugal force can create a kind of artificial gravity that pulls objects toward the outer circumference of the wheel. This will allow people and robots to walk on the floor, like on Earth, and not to float in the air, like on the ISS.

However, this method has significantdisadvantages: the smaller the spacecraft, the faster it must rotate - this will lead to the emergence of the so-called Cornolis force, in which gravity will have a stronger effect on points farther from the center than closer to it. In other words, the force of gravity will act on the astronauts' head more than on the legs, which they are unlikely to like.

To avoid this effect, ship sizemust be several times larger than the size of a football field - the launch of such a device into orbit will be extremely expensive, given that the cost of one kilogram of cargo during commercial launches varies from $ 1.5 thousand to $ 3 thousand.

Another method of creating imitation gravity is morepractical, but also extremely expensive - this is an acceleration method. If the ship at a certain segment of the path will first accelerate, and then turn around and begin to slow down, then the effect of artificial gravity will arise.

To implement this method will requirehuge reserves of fuel - the fact is that the engines must work almost continuously, except for a short break in the middle of the way - during the turn of the ship.

Real examples

Despite the high cost of launching devices with imitation of gravity, companies around the world are trying to build such ships and stations.

Implement the concept of Background Brown is tryingGateway Foundation is a research foundation that plans to build a rotating station in Earth orbit. It is assumed that the circumference of the wheel will be located capsules that will be able to buy public and private aerospace companies for research. Some capsules will be sold as villas to the richest inhabitants of the earth, while others will be used as hotels for space tourists.

The docking bay will be located in the center of the station - from there people and cargo will be delivered by elevator to the capsule.

The company has chosen the method of attracting moneyambiguous: she intends to organize a lottery, the winners of which, in addition to monetary rewards, will be able to fly to the station for free and spend the night in her capsule. When the device will be put into orbit, the company does not disclose.


Above the creation of a device with artificialgravity for long-term space research has worked and NASA. In 2011, the space agency presented the concept of a rotating spacecraft with inflatable modules Nautilus-X, which was supposed to reduce the effect of microgravity on the scientists on board.

It was assumed that the project will cost only$ 3.7 billion is very small for such devices, and it will take 64 months to build it. However, Nautilus-X did not go beyond the original drawings and proposals.


While the most likely way to get imitationgravity, which will protect the ship from the effects of acceleration and will give a constant attraction without the need to constantly use engines - to detect a particle with a negative mass. All particles and antiparticles that scientists have ever discovered have a positive mass. It is known that the negative mass and the gravitational mass are equal to each other, but so far the researchers have failed to demonstrate this knowledge in practice.

ALPHA researchers at CERN have alreadyThey created antihydrogen, a stable form of neutral antimatter, and is working to isolate it from all other particles at very low speeds. If scientists succeed in doing this, it is likely that artificial gravity will soon become more real than it is now.