Let’s just make it simple: To get an artificial gravity of 0.5 g, you need a radius of 450 meters and a space-to-weight distance of twice as much (900 meters).
Just for fun, u The Wikipedia page lists the connection distance at 450 meters. This will give a rotation radius of 225 meters. Using the same angular velocity, the astronauts had an artificial gravity of only 0.25 g.
I mean, it’s not terrible. In fact, the gravitational field on Mars is 0.38 g, so this would be almost good enough for astronauts to prepare for work on Mars. But I will stick with my artificial gravity of 0.5 g and a chain length of 900 meters.
What Would It Be Like to Slide Down a Tether?
Without going into too much detail, let’s consider what would happen if an astronaut went to climb one of the cables from the ship to the counterweight of the other side for some reason. Maybe life is just better on the other side – who knows?
When the astronaut operates the cable (called “up” in the opposite direction to artificial gravity), physics dictates that they feel the same apparent weight as the other astronauts on the spacecraft. However, as they rise higher on the cable, their circular radius (their distance from the center of rotation) decreases, causing the artificial gravity to decrease as well. They kept getting lighter and lighter until they reached the center of the chain, where they felt weightless. As they continued their journey to the other side, their apparent weight began to grow – but in the opposite direction, pulling them toward the counterweight at the other end of the chain.
But this is not very exciting for a film. So here’s something very dramatic instead. Suppose an astronaut starts close to the center of rotation with little artificial gravity. Instead of slowly lifting “down” the tether, they were left with only false gravity pull do they speak How far would they go at the end of the line? This would be like falling on Earth, except that when they “fall”, the gravitational force would increase the measure of their distance from the center. In other words, the further they fall, the greater the force on them. )
As the force on the astronaut changes as they descend, this becomes a more challenging task. But don’t worry, there is a simple way to get a solution. It might sound like a scam, but it works. The key is to break the movement into small pieces of time.
If we consider their movement during a time interval of only 0.01 seconds, then they do not move very far. This means that the force of artificial gravity is largely constant, since its circular radius is also approximately constant. However, if we assume a constant force during that short time interval, then we can use simpler kinematic equations to find the position and speed of the astronaut after 0.01 seconds. Then we use his new position to find the new strength and repeat the whole process again. This method is called numerical calculation.
If you want to model the move after 1 second, you would need 100 of these 0.01 time intervals. You can do this calculation on paper, but it’s easier to do a computer program to do it. I will take the easiest route and use Python. You can see my code here, but this is how it seemed. (Note: I made the astronaut the largest I could see, and this animation spins at 10X speed.)
For this slide into the cable, it takes the astronaut about 44 seconds to run, with a final speed (in the direction of the cable) of 44 meters per second, or 98 miles per hour. So, this is it no one sure thing to do.