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Gravity and Design of B5

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  • Gravity and Design of B5

    Was wondering earlier - is the rotating parts of B5 just an outer shell around a stationary interior, or are the people inside spinning around with the station itself. I'm sorry I can't explain that better, LOOOOONG day.

    Answers on the back of a postcard people

    -Brebel

  • #2
    The inside of the station is spinning around the central core of the station. Up would towards the center of the cylinder of the station, down would be towards outside.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by BabylonRebel
      Was wondering earlier - is the rotating parts of B5 just an outer shell around a stationary interior, or are the people inside spinning around with the station itself. I'm sorry I can't explain that better, LOOOOONG day.
      Nope, that whole part of the station rotates with the shell. That is how they created the "artificial gravity" people were accustomed to.

      Cheers,

      FP

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      • #4
        If you've ever ridden a Gravitron, it more or less works on the same principle that B5's gravity generation does. You just lean up against the walls and the whole thing spins. As it spins, you're flung back against the wall. And the faster it spins, the less you feel like you're standing against the wall and more like you're laying on a floor.

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        • #5
          There would be no point in just spinning an outer shell, as this would not produce centrifugal force to simulate gravity. Remember the gaint wheel inside the Discovery in 2001, the positive gravity area where astronaut Frank Poole ran all those wind-sprints? Expand that 100 times, turn it from a ring into a cylinder and make it 5 miles long and you've got Babylon 5.

          As noted above, "up" was towards the motionless central core (the Core Shuttle, remember, was in zero-G) and down was outboard, towards the exterior of the station. The closer you got to the outer hull, the higher the gravity would be, and the closer to the core, the lower it would be. It is never shown in the series, but presumably there are both manufacturing businesses and medlabs and clinics that take advantage of low-G or higher-G areas as needed, as well as guest quarters in those area for people from higher or lower G worlds. (These areas would also be used for acclimating people on their way to or from long term assignemnts on worlds with differing surface gravities.)

          "Spin" gravity systems have been common coin in SF for a very long time, so most of the technical details and applications have been worked out by both SF writers and real space engineers who have been influenced by their stories. (I would argue that JMS got it wrong with many of the Earth ships, which would, in effect, have "gravity" anytime they were under acceleration - with "down" being in the direction of the engines, and therefore should not have been designed "horizontally" with large central corridors which would become elevator shafts for people to fall through anytime the engines were turned on. Also the spinning "gravity" sections should have been turned off when the engines were running, because "down" under the competing effects of spin gravity and acceleration would have been at some odd angle on the "walls" of those sections, and the stress placed on the would probably have ripped them apart anyway. )

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          Joe
          Joseph DeMartino
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          • #6
            Also, if you swing something around that has a spinning section on it, doesn't it cause a weird gyroscopic effect? The scene that comes to mind is of the Omega class destroyers turning around to run after Delenn's threat near the end of Severed Dreams. The two Omegas swing around quite quickly which would probably be really jarring for someone trying to stand up in the rotating section.

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            • #7
              Isn't that where the inertial dampeners come into play ?

              Seriously though. If you are in a rotating section, which has artificial gravity, you have only one force vector influencing you. If the source of that force starts to turn around it's axis, you'd propably feel nothing major, considering the relative dimensions of the person and the ship.

              Haven't done much physics since medschool, if someone with current knowledge could do the math ?


              -Dip

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              • #8
                I know it's never shown on camera (other than in civilian transports), but it may be possible that something similar to the Space Shuttle or (I think) submarines would happen: the bridge announces to the rest of the ship that everyone should find the nearest item that's bolted down and hold on tight.

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                • #9
                  Just like in the starfuries, the crew of the Omega class destroyers is mostly towards the center of the ship. I forget what the rule of the law is, but the closer to the center of a spinning body you are, the less you feel the effects of the spin (just like the core shuttle being Zero-G)

                  As for multiple "centers of Gravity" causing stress fractures on ship and crew brought up by a previous poster...I'm not smart enough to solve or explain that...except to say...A wizard did it.
                  Million-year old transcendent civilisations debating the fate of the galaxy use phrases like 'screw both of 'em?'

                  I said is was an analogy. According to the organic memory cells found on the Trieste Derelict in 10,033AZ, what they actually said was 'Zog both of them.'

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                  • #10
                    Centrifugal gravity? A nice theory that doesnÆt actually work in the real world.

                    The ôGravitonö analogy is the one I imagine the sci-fi writers have always had in mind, but if thatÆs the case, an occupants entire body would be pinned against the ôfloorö of a station, not just their feet. Besides, think about it, space, no gravity, the station is not rotating so everyone is floating around inside. You start rotating the station, everyone is still floating around inside, the effect only works if you are already in a gravitational field such as the earthÆs. ItÆs a sort of scientific urban myth.

                    I think jms made some vague reference to the gravity being created by the sheer mass of the station coupled with the rotational effect something like the theory behind a Dysons Sphere, though I seriously doubt that the station would have had a sufficient mass.

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                    • #11
                      For the sake of reference, the wikipedia entry for Babylon 5 says that the station is a modified version of an O'Neill cylinder.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Number6
                        Centrifugal gravity? A nice theory that doesnÆt actually work in the real world.
                        Er, what makes you say that? The physics is sound, except for several technical issues, some of which were brought up earlier.

                        FP

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Number6
                          Centrifugal gravity? A nice theory that doesnÆt actually work in the real world.
                          might i recomend Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C Clarke he gives a wonderful description of how this works (and this was 1970's)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Number6
                            The ôGravitonö analogy is the one I imagine the sci-fi writers have always had in mind, but if thatÆs the case, an occupants entire body would be pinned against the ôfloorö of a station, not just their feet. Besides, think about it, space, no gravity, the station is not rotating so everyone is floating around inside. You start rotating the station, everyone is still floating around inside, the effect only works if you are already in a gravitational field such as the earthÆs. ItÆs a sort of scientific urban myth.
                            I now have a headache. You might as well tell the Air Force to stop running all those G-Force simulators on their pilots. Decades of training must be wrong.

                            Of course if they were all floating they'd still be floating. You even see this in the show (Season 2 finale). You're not generating gravity by spinning the station, you're simulating it by flinging everything bolted down against the walls of the cylinder. Which if you're any sort of sane designer, also happens to be a floor. Docking brings you into the "simulation" by attaching you to the cylinder to bring you to the right relative speed and moving you to the outer areas. That eliminates the whole bolted down bit, which is kinda inconvenient for legs and other mobile appendages. You don't get gravity, but you get centripetal force from the circular motion so long as the cylinder "floor" doesn't collapse under you and fling you into space. And that feels so much like gravity that for all practical purposes it is.

                            Capiche? This is proven science, not myth.

                            EDIT - and how do you even get a body pinned to the flloor, fake gravity, real, or otherwise? My brain can't stretch that far....
                            Last edited by Radhil; 12-20-2006, 12:05 AM.
                            Radhil Trebors
                            Persona Under Construction

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                            • #15
                              There isn't centripetal force as most people imagine it. The thing about the "gravity" generated by rotation is about the fact that while in circular motion the
                              mass tries to continue it's way along the tangent of the circle. But as the object
                              which the mass is connected to is circular and always is there on the next point of the tangent to "catch" you, the mass stays connected to the object in circular motion.

                              The omega destroyers would not work as such, since only one rotating section in midships doesn't create gravity for the rest of the ship. B5 on the other hand, is in episilon 3's gravity well (even though it doesn't have much influence in this case, since the "gravity" would be generated regardles of it's presence). If everyarea of B5 where people have access would spin, then there would be some illusion of gravity. For it to be authentic I suppose it should spin a bit faster than we see in the show

                              -Dip

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