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# Asteroid Under Glass

Why not encase large asteroids in glass globes filled with water?
 (+5, -1) [vote for, against]

This was inspired by my kid's soccer ball. . . Consider a Main belt asteroid. Assume It is about 225 kilometers in diameter. It is carbonaceous and relatively dark. Suppose this asteroid were to be encased in a 'glass' (could be some other material, it just has to be clear) globe with about 5 kilometers between the ground and the globe's inner surface.

Er, well, actually it's two globes with about 20 meters between them. This is where the water is kept as a radiation shield which still enables most of the solar spectrum through - though I think blue wavelengths are absorbed. Or is it red. . . ?

Anyway, the idea is to utilize the surface area of the asteroid for living and agriculture whilst the globes + water not only provide radiation protection but also serve many of the same functionds as Earth's oceans. . .

Darker objects in the Main Belt naturally have temperatures around 160 degrees kelvin. I'm thinking this globe would trap heat enough to make conditions human-tolerable. That, however, is a guess.

 — Moonguy, May 16 2008

What you gonna do for gravity?
 — wagster, May 16 2008

 Could it not be moved into the ecosphere? Is the idea to spin it? If so, would that not make the actual asteroid superfluous?

If you dug caves in it and span it, you could live inside them.
 — nineteenthly, May 16 2008

// Assume It is about 225 kilometers in diameter.// Just out of curiosity, why 225? Why not either 200 or 217.81?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, May 16 2008

 What [nineteenthly] said - why do you need the asteroid to begin with? Plus, I don't think you'd want to leave it in the asteroid belt.

 How fast would a sphere/cylindar have to spin to simulate gravity? Being able to see the universe spinning around would probably make everyone sick.

Would having water in a bubble like that help sterilize it? Would having water in a bubble like that cause it to freeze?
 — phoenix, May 16 2008

//What you gonna do for gravity?//
Tell everyone they are in a serious situation?
 — Ling, May 17 2008

 If you had an enclosed cylinder made of ice, you could contain an atmosphere. Rotate it and you have "gravity" on the inside of the shell. Place a darkbody rod (size determined by distance from the sun) on the axis and keep the place nice'n'toasty, melting the first x feet of ice on the inside.The inside of the heat-rod is also hollow for storage and offices and stuff. Everybody lives on islands floating on the sea.

Though... given that there's alot of silicon out there as well as water, you might want to indeed make the outside out of glass.
 — FlyingToaster, May 17 2008

 Gravity? The asteroid is quite large and has maybe 2% of Earth's gravity. Plants need gravity for orienting their cellular development but the jury is still out on how much they actually need.

Why 225 kilometers? I have a specific asteroid, #24 Themis, in mind. It's orbit is almost exactly coplanar with the ecliptic which results in almost identical synodic line-ups every 430 days or so. Very few of the larger asteroids are so obliging. . .
 — Moonguy, May 20 2008

 About spin: all asteroids already spin. The globe(s) described would have to spin at the same rate as the asteroid if they are physically attached to it, such as with pylons. In the particular case of Themis, the spin rate is about 8.3 hours, giving four+ hours of day, four+ of night.

 People would live on the surface in structures designed for the weak gravity conditions.

 The idea is to create a habitable area between the inner globe and the surface - not necessarily identical to Earth, but safe for people, plants and Halfbakery participants.

 As for tunnelling caves. . .travelling that far just to cut onesself off from seeing the universe in a natural way is the kind of thing that can cause problems between me and my travel agent.

Building globes around asteroids seems like a lot of work, but you need the resources to support healthy economics. Hence the requirement for a large asteroid, instead of a Bernal sphere or O'neill cylinder.
 — Moonguy, May 20 2008

This could also be used as a halfway house for major Earth trauma events. If a huge asteroid is headed for Earth, hold a lottery and let 10,000 people (as well as a digital record of our literature, history, science, etc.) go live on the Asteroid for 50-100 years (limited resources), and then come back and rebuild our civilization as best they can. It wouldn't be much, but that little bubble in space could give us a little bit of legacy security and a chance at re-seeding humanity on Earth without having to populate a whole 'nother planet.
 — napoleonbag, May 20 2008

Very much the idea behind the movie 'When Worlds Collide' except that in the movie Earth is destroyed completely. The survivors merely begin again on a planet that used to orbit the star that destroyed Earth.
 — Moonguy, May 20 2008

Spinning a round object does not improve the "gravity" on the surface.
 — WcW, May 20 2008

True, unless the round object is a hollow sphere (or globe) and the 'gravity' - really centrifugal force - is measured on the inner surface of the sphere.
 — Moonguy, May 20 2008

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