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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 1, Sur One, Sol 17 (1.1.17)  8:46 PM NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  20 January 2016  2:00 PM PST

In a previous article we discussed the importance of a gravity environment (SEE:  The Need for G’s.) We explained that the “Quill” sections are perpendicular to the core and rotate to create an artificial gravity environment for the astronauts.

However, spinning something doesn’t create gravity. It creates a force that can imitate gravity if the spin rate is correct for distance from the axis (or core.) In the case of our ships, we spin the Quill sections at two revolutions per minute.¹

Spinning a structure like a spaceship will create an outward force that can feel similar to gravity; however, near the axis or core of the ship (core sections are 30 meters in diameter, so the radius is 15 meters) the effect is barely noticeable. As an astronaut moves farther into a Quill, and away from the core, the effect increases until, at 224 meters, the astronaut experiences the equivalent of Earth’s gravity, or 1G.


GRAPH 1.0 – G Force and Rotational Speed versus Radius from the Axis

Since each Quill section is 33 meters, it requires seven Quill sections to reach the distance needed for a 1G environment. This means that Quill sections designed for human habitation are seven Quill sections long with the crew quarters in the sixth and seventh Quill.

Work stations are in sections three, four, and five where gravity is equal that on Mars (.38G) or greater. The ladder tube (a two meter diameter corridor with a ladder) that runs the length of each Quill has color coded lights that indicate the percentage of G force at that point. (SEE:  Table 1.0)

TABLE 1.0 – Color Codes For Gravity Environments

  • RED:                 0 to .19 G
  • ORANGE:   .20 to .3.9 G
  • YELLOW:    .40 to .59 G
  • GREEN:       .60 to .79 G
  • BLUE:        .80 to 1.00 G
  • VIOLET:             +1.00 G

The Command Section at the front of the ship is part of the core, but does not rotate with the rest of the ship. This means it is in a weightless environment; however, because the ship uses cameras instead of windows, there is no reason for the Command team to be In the Command Section during the orbital transfer from Earth to Mars; therefore, an Auxiliary Control is in the fourth section of a Quill. The Command Team operates out of Auxiliary Control for almost the entire trip.

¹The Coriolis Effect is a force that acts on a body at a right angle to the downward force of the spin. In this case, spinning the Quills too fast would cause a human to feel ‘the spin’ as well as the downward force. Humans do not tend to sense spin rates of two revolutions per minute or less.