Let's think 1 - Is it possible to "defeat" the low gravity of Mars?


About the series
I plan to write several articles on various issues that I am interested in discussing. I just want to warn you: I am an ordinary programmer-mathematician, and not an expert in biology, astronautics, etc., so this is more of a dilettante’s thoughts on the topic, and not absolute truth. In general, this is more an invitation to think together, if I'm wrong, write in the comments.

So, on Geektimes I met the opinion that low gravity of Mars is almost the main problem why the colonization of Mars is impossible or lead to a large number of diseases, degeneration and extinction of the colony on Mars.

Reducing gravity is difficult, but is it possible to increase it?

1 way. Very simple and ancient

You will not believe it, but the “car”, in order to “be on Jupiter,” was invented a thousand years ago and it looked something like that.

Knight armour

Yes, the usual knightly armor, which sometimes weighed (especially if it was intended for tournaments) is almost as much as the knight himself (up to 70-80 kg). In them you can feel on the planet, where gravity is 2 times more.

In fact, for the muscles and bones of a person there is not much difference between the earth's gravity and the armor or spacesuit with additional weight, because the pressure from above will be with the same force.

space suit

For example, the spacesuit of the Apollo mission weighed entirely around 100 kg., That is, the astronaut / astronaut in such a spacesuit on Mars felt almost like on Earth (up to 70-80% of the gravity of the earth). Naturally, inside the premises, the colonists will not constantly wear space suits, however they can wear regular vest weighting for training:

vest weighting

and the same on arms and legs

hand weights

Perhaps you can also wear special hats for neck training. Of course, if you have to carry heavy loads, such weighting can and should be removed.

Usually such weighting agents use sand as a load, but lead (or even heavier metals) can be used instead of sand and the volume will be relatively small. A liter of lead weighed 11 kg., A small 20-liter rucksack filled with lead will weigh over 200 kg. It will be more than enough to create “as if Earth gravity”.

By the way, such lead-weighting suits or spacesuits-weighting agents can at the same time serve as a personal means of protection against radiation (although it is more likely that most of the premises will be underground).

What are the cons:

1. Inertia. Usually, those who train with such weighting units for arms and legs are warned of the danger of sudden movements, as bones with a large weight can not withstand. In addition, in the event of an unexpected danger, the colonists will find it difficult to move quickly without removing the weighting. This can be dangerous when it comes to seconds. In addition, colonists with such weighting will get tired more quickly when walking or running, simply because of the struggle with inertia.

2. Possible problems with internal organs. Yes, you can create an “extra gravity” for muscles, bones, etc., but how low gravity will act on internal organs is not very clear. Unfortunately, scientists are well aware of how weightlessness works, but there are no experiments with reduced (but not zero) gravity. The idea is that inside the human body there is still internal pressure and gravity should not play a decisive role, but the question remains open ...

3. This method will not work during sleep and the question of pregnancy and the first years of life of children remains open.

2 Way Centrifuge

In the picture below you can see the centrifuge for cosmonaut training.


In principle, it is not difficult to develop a similar system for night rest Martians (of course in a simplified version).

Why for the night?

Firstly, it is in a dream that a person spending a third of his time, it is possible that a third of the time with Earth’s gravity + additional weighting agents “in the afternoon” will be sufficient to prevent all problems due to low gravity.

Secondly, it is in a dream that a person needs a very small space (capsule hotels are guaranteed), so there can be quite a lot of people in a small centrifuge. In addition, during sleep, a healthy person (and astronauts / astronauts are healthy by default) is usually not required to leave the bed, that is, you can only accelerate and stop the centrifuge three times a day.

Thirdly, one centrifuge can be used for three / four shifts per earth day (depending on the duration of sleep for 8 or 6 hours). Since most likely the rhythm of life will be earthly, there will be no particular problem if each “change” of the colonists will sleep at one time.

Fourthly, there is the power of Coriolis, which causes discomfort if the size of the centrifuge is not very large, but it is precisely if you lie still in a dream, most likely the discomfort will be minimal.

Also in the case of pregnancy (and the first months of life), the mother and child may be in such centrifuges for a longer time.

Cons :

1. It takes quite a lot of space for such devices, given that due to radiation, they would rather have to be placed underground. On the other hand, it seems that natural caves are planned to be used for colonies, perhaps there are huge caves on Mars.

2. Despite the much rarefied atmosphere, the constant operation of the centrifuge will require a certain amount of energy. And simply its creation will require certain resources or supplies from the Earth, which may be used for other purposes.

3. If the centrifuge is small, then the Coriolis force even among professional astronauts / astronauts can cause unpleasant sensations (or it will be necessary to be limited only to a partial increase in gravity). On the other hand, the human body adapts well to seasickness, perhaps specially selected and still-lying colonists will quickly become accustomed to Coriolis disease.

3 Method "Metro"

This method is more likely for a more developed colony. The fact is that, in principle, a centrifuge is not the only way to create centrifugal force, you can imagine small “children's” trailers (so that only sleeping colonists fit, they can be only 80-90 cm wide and high), which run on a looped underground " pipe "with a radius of half a kilometer or more. The diameter of such a tunnel "subway" can be only about a meter. To save energy, you can pump out the air, the benefit on Mars is not so difficult.
In principle, centrifugal force will be created there as in a centrifuge, but due to the larger radius, the Coriolis force will hardly be felt. Otherwise, the method is completely analogous to method 2.

Cons :

1. The potential resources and costs of the colony will be higher than in method 2, however this can be offset by the fact that no large underground space will be required, plus there will be no problem with Coriolis force.

PS In my opinion (if not right - write), it is possible for colonists on Mars to live in near earth gravity, which will be important if they want (or are forced) to return to Earth. However, perhaps the colonists of Mars will one day want to completely break with the Earth, including ceasing to try to live under "earth gravity." However, the problem of gravity looks quite solvable if desired.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/409315/

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