Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Train-Sized Centrifuge

A high-speed train runs in a circle to simulate sustained higher gravity.
  [vote for,

It's a high-speed train that runs in a circle. The track is banked to the inside of the circle so that the G-forces are experienced as if the passengers were standing in a zone of super-high gravity (okay, maybe not "super-high"; I'm thinking in the range of 1-3 G, maximum 8 G). The amount of G-forces can be increased by shrinking the radius of the circle, or by increasing the speed of the train.

On the train, you can have rooms, or cars, for different applications. A gymnasium for training athletes, who pay a fee to train there, possibly for weeks or months at a time, so that they grow stronger muscles and bones. Science labs for testing the effects of sustained high gravity on plants, animals, and physical/chemical processes. Tourists, photographers, journalists, and artists could ride just for the experience.

Some cars could be pressurized, and so simulate possible exoplanetary conditions.

NASA could ask the question whether astronauts might benefit from a stint on the gravity train before or after their months-long missions in micro-gravity, whether to build up muscle and bone mass before, or to speed up recovery of lost tissue afterwards.

Also has applications with regard to learning to live and work in a rotating circular structure, as many proposed space station/vehicle designs.

Bootbuckles, Aug 08 2010

But there's no such thing as centrifugal force! http://xkcd.com/123/
[hippo, Aug 09 2010]

Zero G Chickens Zero_20G_20Chickens
On the train, in contrast, you could raise chickens with more dark meat. [DrWorm, Aug 09 2010]


       Intriguing. [+]
8th of 7, Aug 08 2010

       And run a second train outside the high G train so people can get on and off.
ldischler, Aug 08 2010

       Maybe multiple tracks in concentric circles, with increments of 1.0 (the normal train), 1.5 G, 2.0 G, and 3.0 G.
Bootbuckles, Aug 08 2010

       //with increments of 1.0 (the normal train)...//   

       You can't have a train traveling in a circle at 1 G.
ldischler, Aug 08 2010

       Dang! [ldisch] beat me to the needless pedanterassitude.   

       Not that it's pedantry when the whole point of the idea is centrifugal force.
baconbrain, Aug 08 2010

       Sorry, that's the loading train when it is stopped. Or it's 1.0001 G. Probably just one car, really. It would speed up to match the 1.5 G train, then slow down again.
Bootbuckles, Aug 08 2010

       Cool. Love the visuals.   

       Sounds like a cure for constipation. Bun [+].
Grogster, Aug 09 2010

       Wow, almost a year of lurking before your first post, [Bootbuckles]. Such patience. Welcome to the halfbakery.
normzone, Aug 09 2010

       I like this a lot. Round numbers says to get ~1.5G's apparent (vector sum of 1g natural, plus 1g centripetal reaction) you'd need a 2000m circle at 100m/s. That's 360km/hr, I think within the range of modern maglev trains. Drop to 1000m diameter for 2 1/4g's.   

Custardguts, Aug 09 2010

       a novel by James P Hogan featured a centrifuge train on the Moon which simulated Earth's gravity, which the evildoers were using to attempt to confuse the good guy protagonist.   

       Of course if you actually wanted to *board* this train you'd need .... <mumble other annos>   

       [+] for the medical possibilities mentioned in the post.
FlyingToaster, Aug 09 2010

       Athletes who acclimatised to higher than normal gravity combined with lower than normal oxygen would have a distinct advantage when competing under normal conditions.
8th of 7, Aug 09 2010

       You might even go past acclimation and raise children from birth on the train. And twenty years later many sports would be dominated by train children.
ldischler, Aug 09 2010

       Except for any sport which favours tall people - i.e. most sports.
hippo, Aug 09 2010

       Yes, there's the danger of breeding a race of toad-men, but that's where gravity boots come in.
ldischler, Aug 09 2010

       Is there a dining car...? [+]
xandram, Aug 09 2010

       [=] This might be useful for experiments not involving fauna (people, animals), but humans wouldn't be able to tolerate it for long because of some of the ramifications of the Coriolis effect. A person's head, inclined towards the center of the circular track, would have an appreciably less pseudo-gravity effect, which is well substantiated as only tolerable for short periods by NASA, etc. NASA theorized that the minimum sized space colony that used centripetal force to mimic gravity, would be a mile in diameter. (That would also necessitate that it spun at one revolution/minute for one G, incidentally. I thought that I'd throw that in there because it's so easy to remember: 1 mile diameter x 1 minute / revolution = 1 G.)   

       Note: a 1.0 G car is an impossibilty on the Earth's surface, unless it's not moving.   

       Another thing to consider: maybe make the cars cylindrical, and as the velocity increases, have them rotate on their longitudinal axis from 0-90 degrees (a car within a car?), so that 'down', is really always down, relative to you.
Wily Peyote, Aug 09 2010

       //A person's head, inclined towards the center of the circular track, would have an appreciably less pseudo-gravity effect, which is well substantiated as only tolerable for short periods by NASA, etc.//   

       One of the advantages of an earth-bound system though, is that participants can "stop the train I want to get off!"   

       I don't see why, if humans can adapt to months spent in micro-gravity, they couldn't adapt to a rotating environment. Also, if it's a train, they should be able to sit or lie down if they become dizzy.   

       If it did turn out to be possible to adapt to a rotating environment, then perhaps the earth-based version would be a good place to train future space station workers. Or to screen out unfit candidates.
Bootbuckles, Aug 09 2010

       Okay, I like your rebutal. I still have some Serious Reservations, but Your Idea may one day be manifest here on Terra. Good job, [Bootbuckles]   

Wily Peyote, Aug 09 2010

       I'd take a spin [+]
nomadic_wonderer, Aug 09 2010

       //Is there a dining car...?//   

       Absolutely! I haven't worked out the details on how to hire kitchen staff yet. I doubt any overweight chefs are going to want to ride the thing.
Bootbuckles, Aug 09 2010

       hmmmm, anyone ever hear of tests of surface tension and ripple effects of water at differing gravities?
Might be a paper or two there.

       //I doubt any overweight chefs are going to want to ride the thing.//   

       Fat + high gravity = extra work   

       A brilliant weight loss solution(besides an increase in weight based health issues)   

       Actually, you could sell this as a weight loss/exercise solution.   

xxobot, Aug 12 2010

       I'm not a big fan of any really expensive weight-loss solution. As far as pure work is concerned, I think you'd get almost the same results from wearing weight belts. I'd suggest losing the weight first, before riding the Gravigym.   

       But, assuming that the risk factors aren't too high, it's still probably worth researching, which (research in general) in my view is the main purpose of the train.   

       And since the concept of "expensive" came up, I thought I'd annotate again with rough costs.   

       A Google tells me that the Shanghai Maglev Train cost US $1.33 Billion, and travels 30 km. The Centrifuge would travel a shorter distance, but might need to be reinforced, since the train itself will effectively weigh several times normal.   

       And then I'd want to build a 4- or 5-star "resort" onto the train, based on cruise liners or existing luxury train cars. Individuals could stay on a per-night basis at a rate competitive with other hotels around Orlando.
Bootbuckles, Aug 12 2010

       Could the marketing for this sell it on the basis that it will make you more youthful relative to your friends and family? As you will be travelling in a circle you will be subject to a constant accelaration which will be higher than for those not on the train and so time, for you, will be slowed down relative to others and you will age more slowly.
hippo, Aug 12 2010

       I guess marketers can say whatever they want. Technically it is true that you would be younger than your friends and family. You'd also be a time traveler. You could make Christmas come earlier. Or the latest expansion of your favorite MMORPG or latest X-Box gaming console (did anyone else watch that episode of South Park?). Or allow your investments to accrue more interest. Or if you're sick, hope for a cure to be developed.   

       On second thought, I'd prefer if the marketers didn't go beyond silliness in promoting this thing. I wouldn't want people to get their hopes up, since the time difference would be imperceptibly small.
Bootbuckles, Aug 13 2010


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