Artificial gravity has long been the stuff of science fiction. Picture the wheel-shaped ships from films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Martian, imaginary craft that generate their own gravity by spinning around in space.
Now, a team from CU Boulder is working to make those out-there technologies a reality.
The researchers, led by aerospace engineer Torin Clark, can’t mimic those Hollywood creations—yet. But they are imagining new ways to design revolving systems that might fit within a room of future space stations and even moon bases. Astronauts could crawl into these rooms for just a few hours a day to get their daily doses of gravity. Think spa treatments, but for the effects of weightlessness.
The group hopes that its work will one day help keep astronauts healthy as they venture into space, allowing humans to travel farther from Earth than ever before and stay away longer.
But first, Clark’s team will need to solve a problem that has plagued proponents of artificial gravity for years: motion sickness.
“Astronauts experience bone loss, muscle loss, cardiovascular deconditioning and more in space. Today, there are a series of piecemeal countermeasures to overcome these issues,” said Clark, an assistant professor in the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. “But artificial gravity is great because it can overcome all of them at once.”