An illustration of the Glass Cone from the air. Image Credit: Kajima Co. Ltd.

Japan’s Proposal for Artificial Gravity on the Moon is Crazy Futuristic

Meet the Glass Cone. The structure would be one of the tallest and largest sci-fi space cones ever created, standing 1,312 feet (400 meters) tall and 656 feet (200 meters) across.

To recreate the Earth’s gravity, six times greater than that of the Moon, centrifugal force is used through rotational movements.

It will be a challenge for space explorers to overcome a number of obstacles. In extremely harsh environments without clean water, breathable air, or food, they must produce them.

Additionally, they must coexist with small groups of fellow explorers for extended periods while minimizing their exposure to scorching radiation, ubiquitous everywhere they go.

Assuming the scouts overcome these challenges and establish a permanent presence, they will face another challenge: gravity. Microgravity can lead to atrophied muscles, bone loss, loss of vision, and changes to the immune system, according to studies on astronauts who spend weeks or months in microgravity.

If this problem is not mitigated in some way, early space colonists and their descendants might suffer health problems.

In partnership with Kajima Corp, Kyoto University has introduced a new idea that aims to explore futuristic concepts that could one day offer visitors and settlers a taste of Earth’s good, wholesome gravity.

The vision? Named the Glass, the structure would be one of the tallest and largest sci-fi space cones ever created, standing 1,312 feet (400 meters) tall and 656 feet (200 meters) across.

As the habitat rotates around its axis every 20 seconds, people living inside it will enjoy Earth’s gravity and see trees, grass, and lakes.

“There is no plan like this in other countries’ space development plans,” said Yosuke Yamashiki, director of Kyoto University’s Center for Human Spatialology SIC, during a news conference announcing the plans.

“Our plan represents important technologies crucial to ensuring that humans can move into space in the future.”

In addition to the habitat, the proposal outlines a transportation system that would connect Earth with future colonies on the Moon, in Earth’s orbit, and on Mars itself.

The system would be called Hexatrack, and it would be based on orbiting satellites that would generate artificial gravity and act as rails for the system.

When traveling between the planets, the train cars will be enclosed in hexagonal capsules to avoid exposing themselves to cosmic rays by being separated at the stations.

“As the idea of ​​living in space becomes more realistic, the problem of low gravity, which I intuitively realized as a child, is a problem that we need to overcome,” said Takuya Ono, an associate professor on the project at the center and principal investigator at Kajima, a major general contractor.

“We are committed to making the plan useful to human beings.”

In the short term, all of this is more of a concept than something that could be used in practice. The massive undertaking would require vast amounts of resources and technical knowledge, comparable to building the Empire State Building upside down on the Moon or Mars, spinning it like a top, and then layering water, soil, and other internal structures within.

It can be quite disorienting to live in such a place where the ground bends under your feet and local gravity clashes with artificial gravity. Unless designed properly, living in this environment can be a challenge.

Despite the optimistic timeframe for work on this scale, scientists and engineers predict that we won’t start migrating the Moon and Mars until the second half of this century.

It is likely that other less ambitious concepts closer to home will receive more attention until then.

As with any step toward bigger concepts like those presented here by Kyoto University, each one represents a small step in the direction of steps that will be better taken if artificial gravity is taken into consideration.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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