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As humans prepare to return to the moon in 2025 as part of the Artemis program, scientists are considering how to establish a lasting human presence on our satellites. In this context, a Japanese team has created an idea of a lunar base decorated by artificial gravity. Called “lunar glass”, this structure uses centrifugal force to reproduce gravity just like the Earth.
We know that a long stay in space has a significant effect on the human body. A NASA program, Human research program, Especially dedicated to the study of the effects of space on the body. Effects both emotionally and physically; Being isolated and confined to a handful of people can be hard to bear. Decreases in bone mineral density and decrease in muscle mass are among the effects due to microgravity. Also, body fluids move to the head, which increases eye pressure and can cause vision problems.
Despite data collected in recent years – especially by astronauts on the International Space Station – the effects of low gravity on the body have not yet been elucidated. However, if we plan to settle on the moon or Mars – with a gravity of 1.62 m / s.2 And 3.72 m / sec2 Respectively – it may be interesting to allow settlers to live in an environment with the same gravity as Earth to reduce the risk.
The risks associated with lack of gravity are limited
That’s why researchers at the University of Kyoto, in conjunction with Kazima Corporation’s construction experts, have designed an artificial gravity station. This is the only condition for them that allows people to truly improve in space. ” 1G is the identity of humanity “Underline the project designers in a press release.
Scientists have noted that a person who grows up in an environment with zero or weak gravity is not able to stand or move normally. ” Without gravity, mammals may not be able to reproduce and their offspring may not develop well. “The press release explains the team, which indicates that NASA research on the subject has focused primarily on adults. So we have no idea how children will develop under different gravitational forces.
They unveiled their project at a press conference last week. The structure resembles a giant rotating vertical cone with glass walls. We can see stretched water, plants (parks, trees), houses; People evolve there as if they were on earth. The presentation video even shows the boat sailing on the water!
Nicknamed the Lunar Glass, the cone is about 400 meters high and makes one complete rotation every 20 seconds: the centrifugal force makes it possible to reach the gravity with which humans are accustomed. The structure was specifically designed to withstand the atmospheric conditions of the Moon and Mars. In parallel, the researchers plan to develop an interplanetary transport system: this “hexagon space track system” will also maintain normal gravity during travel connecting the Earth, the Moon and Mars.
Human physiology as a limiting factor
In 2017, Thomas Lang, an expert in radiology and biomedical imaging at UC San Francisco, noted that technology is not the real limiting factor in space exploration. In fact, the real limiting factor is the human physiology. Many of the changes that researchers have noticed as a result of spaceflight are more rapid than they appear with age.
Bone and muscle problems have occurred since the first Apollo spaceflight in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, astronauts who have been in the ISS for a long time need to commit themselves to regular physical training, to maintain their muscle strength and their energy. Bones but many astronauts still suffer from back pain year after year after returning to Earth.
Researchers have discovered that lack of gravity disrupts the normal cycle of bone function: as bone pressure decreases, osteoclasts begin to reabsorb damaged bone, but osteoblasts do not regenerate it. Lang estimates that astronauts who have been on the ISS for six months lose 6 to 9% of their total hip bone density!
The low gravity of space also affects the vascular system, especially the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels. It increases blood circulation problems and increases the risk of arrhythmias and heart attacks. One study points to the risk of kidney stones inherent in long-term spaceflight – a risk caused by astronauts due to dehydration and an increase in calcium from their bones.
In short, it is essential to offer people who will stay on the moon for a long time – and perhaps on Mars – an environment that will not endanger them. The project proposed by this Japanese team seems to be the best way to meet the need. The team plans to build a first prototype on the lunar surface by 2050.