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Old Oct 13th 2011, 02:58 PM   #1
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Artificial gravity - a special case?

Not really sure where this might fit best, but I'll chance it here.

I was wondering if perhaps someone here might help me figure this out. I'm familiar with the concept of creating an artificial gravity in a possible future space station by spinning, for example, a cylindrical structure. But I got to thinking. Suppose you could teleport an object into the cylinder some distance "above" the outer shell, matching speeds so it would be standing (well, hovering) still relative to the axis of the cylinder. Also, let's say there's a perfect vacuum inside, so there is no force from air being pulled towards the "floor". Would it then feel any of that artificial gravity? My guess is no, from the object's point of view it would be like hanging suspended from a string down a huge spinning barrel, watching the would-be floor rolling past underneath. Or above or to the left or whatever. I'm thinking that if there were indeed air inside, the "weight" of it would create a pressure that would push the object "down".

But yea, if anyone could tell whether I'm going in the right direction with this or just driving around in Lostville, I'd be very grateful!
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Old Oct 17th 2011, 01:06 PM   #2
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Yes - you are correct. In a weightless environment an object at rest will tend to stay at rest, and so the object would essentially remain where it starts as the "world" underneath spins away. And to an observer standing on the inside of the cylinder it would look like the object is doing a series of loops in the air.

An interesting thought experiment is to consider what it would look like to an observer standing on the inside rim of the rotating cylinder, feeling 1 g of acceleration, who then tosses a ball into the air. From his perspective the coriolis effects would make the ball do some interesting loops. Suppose he wanted to toss the ball so as to have it come back to him when the cylinder has rotated through 180 degrees - in what direction must he toss the ball? What would its path look like to the observer?
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