What to do with the ISS

A group of NASA scientists has come up with a proposal for adding rockets to the International Space Station to turn it from an orbiting station into an inter-planetary space ship.  While not a new idea (talk of a space “hotel” traveling between the earth and moon have been around for a while), it is still interesting to think about.

Their visual depictions, however, left me scratching my head.

The ring show here is supposed to be rotating, creating artificial gravity for the crew.  But every picture they show only has one ring, which means they’d end up making the entire thing spin.  I’m hoping this was just an error on the part of the artists who came up with the image, surely NASA rocket scientists would have thought of this.

This entry was posted in Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What to do with the ISS

  1. David (FSF Supporter) says:

    While you theory is correct it might not matter that much…the speed of rotation of the two parts (the ring and the rest of the station) would be in inverse proportion to each part’s mass thus the ring could rotate sufficient to create a full earth gravity centripetal effect while the rest of the station would balance it by rotating rather slowly. If the aim were to keep costs down, and not have to add two rings, it might well be acceptable for this slow rotation to occur. If docking of supply modules etc were not too badly affected I could see them living with it.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention What to do with the ISS | Michael Hall's Blog -- Topsy.com

  3. Michael Hall says:

    Given the length of time it will take to travel to Mars (not to mention the fact that they envision the station being in constant transit between the Earth and Mars), even a small rotational effect would add up quickly, and they would have to waste fuel correcting for it. If adding a second wheel would be too expensive, at least include a counter-rotating weight.

  4. stuphi says:

    When I read the words that went along with the pictures, I cam away with the impression that the ISS would simply be used as a test platform and assembly point. Are they actually planning to fly the ISS to the moon? Also, they definitely made mention of a counterweight for the ring. And the ring will only spin fast enough to generate 0.5g.

  5. Michael Hall says:

    Ah yes, they did mention that, not sure how I missed it:

    The bearings, slip rings for power, liquid metal seals, and counter-rotating flywheel would be an engineering challenge.

    The article also mentioned both using the ISS as a testing/staging platform as well as “strapping a giant rocket engine on the International Space Station (ISS)”, so I’m not sure what the actual play was proposing.

Comments are closed.