Name: Nicholas Passmore
Date: 1993 - 1999
Hi. My partner and I are doing a project on space colonization and
we were wondering if anyone could help us with a formula for
artificial gravity. Thanks.
The only "artificial gravity" I'm aware of is that due to the
centripetal acceleration of rotation = v^2 / r = w^2 * r
where r = radius, v = velocity, w = angular velocity
So, if your space station had a radius of, say, 100 m (pretty big),
then it would have to rotate at w = sqrt( g / r ) to give the same
acceleration as gravity at the Earth's surface ( g = 9.8 m/sec^2 ):
w = sqrt( 9.8 m/sec^2 / 100 m ) = 0.32 rad/sec = 0.05 rev/sec
or 3 revolutions per minute.
( 1 rad (radian) = 1 revolution (circle) / 2*PI rad/circle )
Incidentally, one of the scenarios for the Mission to Mars has the
manned spacecraft attached to an auxillary mass with a tether, the
whole system rotating about the center of mass, giving the marstronauts
some artificial gravity on their long trip to Mars.
Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives
Update: June 2012