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Last post Author Topic: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question  (Read 5184 times)

bit

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Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« on: March 19, 2015, 06:04:12 PM »
In 'Aliens 2', they use atmospheric processors to convert the alien moon's noxious atmosphere to make it breathable, "Takes decades," Van Leuwen tells Ripley. "We call it a 'shake and bake' colony."

S-F writer Robert A. Heinlein was -among other things- a mathematician.
I vaguely recall that he once calculated that with X number of giant Aliens-type 'atmospheric processors' (written a couple or three decades before 'Aliens'), seems to me he 'crunched the numbers' and figured it would take -X number of years- (he gave a specific number which I forget) to make the atmosphere of Mars breathable.
Does anyone have the direct Heinlein quote and actual info on this please?
If he put it in a story, what book?

Mars with water - eso1509b.jpg
'When Mars had water' (courtesy of Rense.com & Dees); my only comment on the picture is that if it had water it must have had water vapor clouds, which -at least on Earth- are white.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 06:22:32 PM by bit »

CWuestefeld

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 03:51:34 PM »
This doesn't answer your question, but....

In the novel Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson discusses an approach that is probably both faster and more efficient.

They distribute a lichen everywhere they go on the planet, leaving behind the means to pump oxygen into the atmosphere. Every one of these little things grows and multiplies, powered just by the existing environment and sun. And that multiplication means that once things get going a little, you've got a huge mass of little factories converting atmosphere for you, all for free and at an ever-increasing rate.

MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2015, 05:40:31 PM »
I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice.  A byproduct would be a thicker atmosphere.

Naturally there are some shenanigans to do with using the comets as weapons for ransom etc..

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2015, 06:21:09 PM »
This doesn't answer your question, but....

In the novel Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson discusses an approach that is probably both faster and more efficient.

They distribute a lichen everywhere they go on the planet, leaving behind the means to pump oxygen into the atmosphere. Every one of these little things grows and multiplies, powered just by the existing environment and sun. And that multiplication means that once things get going a little, you've got a huge mass of little factories converting atmosphere for you, all for free and at an ever-increasing rate.
Yes, I was going to suggest something along those lines as a viable alternative in the form of air-born microorganisms, but the lichen sounds much more interesting. After all, lichen grows on rock, and the surface of Mars -which is close to the same surface area as all of Earth's dry land- is one big stretch of rock.

I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice.  A byproduct would be a thicker atmosphere.

Naturally there are some shenanigans to do with using the comets as weapons for ransom etc..
Mars could certainly use the water.
Someone I know says he can't recall where & when Heinlein published it either, but tells me Heinlein was an engineer for the US Navy, not a mathematician per se.
When Heinlein 'crunched the numbers' for using mechanical atmospheric processors to make the atmosphere of Mars breathable, it seems to me he had to come up with an awful lot of giant units, and even at that, the time required was measurable in thousands -if not tens of thousands- of years.
After all, on a Martian global scale, you're talking an astronomical 3-D volume of air to process.
But the precise amount of time and numbers of processors escapes me.

The ^lichen method would actually be a very good approach, although current GMO abuses with Franken-foods have given the subject of genetic engineering a bad rap.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 06:31:51 PM by bit »

x16wda

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2015, 08:17:11 PM »
The ^lichen method would actually be a very good approach, although current GMO abuses with Franken-foods have given the subject of genetic engineering a bad rap.
Yeah, GMOs... ask the Thrints what happened to their food animals, the frumious Bandersnatch, that their genetic engineers, the tnuctipun, created for them...  ;D
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bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 10:42:11 PM »
Bacteria, algae to produce oxygen on Mars?
More speculation than fact, but still interesting.

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2015, 12:25:21 AM »
I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice. 

The physicists at the Thunderbolt Project have illustrated that comets have no ice. Just a fun fact. It's interesting how they explain things.
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MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2015, 05:41:52 AM »
I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice.  

The physicists at the Thunderbolt Project have illustrated that comets have no ice. Just a fun fact. It's interesting how they explain things.

Here is the SciFi Novel in question:  Mining the Oort by Frederik Pohl

Speaking of Mars I heard an old radio interview with some dude about the "face with the helmut" on Mars.  I forget the dude's name.  I think he has one book published.  Anyway according to this dude NASA has known all along intelligent extraterrestrials exist.  If this should be true I have to wonder if the "rock with the cellular life fossils" was NASA checking the public's reaction to the possibility of other life in the Solar System.

With the luck mankind has if there is life on Mars they are probably big cockroaches.  :)



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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2015, 10:02:08 AM »
The ^lichen method would actually be a very good approach, although current GMO abuses with Franken-foods have given the subject of genetic engineering a bad rap.
Yeah, GMOs... ask the Thrints what happened to their food animals, the frumious Bandersnatch, that their genetic engineers, the tnuctipun, created for them...  ;D

Frumious Bandersnatch broke up in 1969. Most of them went on to play with Steve Miller. Ross Valory and George Tickner also became founding members of Journey in 1973.   :D
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Renegade

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2015, 10:29:25 AM »
I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice. 

The physicists at the Thunderbolt Project have illustrated that comets have no ice. Just a fun fact. It's interesting how they explain things.

Here is the SciFi Novel in question:  Mining the Oort by Frederik Pohl

Speaking of Mars I heard an old radio interview with some dude about the "face with the helmut" on Mars.  I forget the dude's name.  I think he has one book published.  Anyway according to this dude NASA has known all along intelligent extraterrestrials exist.  If this should be true I have to wonder if the "rock with the cellular life fossils" was NASA checking the public's reaction to the possibility of other life in the Solar System.

With the luck mankind has if there is life on Mars they are probably big cockroaches.  :)

There are some really wild conspiracy theories out there about that stuff. Check out Youtube and search for "face on Mars". You'll get people with fully flushed out theories about ancient civilisations on Mars and all kinds of stuff. It's very entertaining.

One fellow thinks that people from Mars did some kind of wonky experiment that destroyed the planet, so they came here. I think this episode of his series is the one with that in it, but it might be a different episode (the one before?):



If you have a few minutes to burn, or just want some good entertainment, it's a lot of fun.

I really do love all that stuff. It's quite fun. :D

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MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2015, 11:10:24 AM »
It took me awhile to track down the name.  My memory can block on me.  It was Richard C. Hoagland  He claimed NASA had pictures of "giant bridges" on the Moon left by extraterrestrials.  He sounded pretty reasonable on the radio.  I got the book he published but it was pretty boring.  A whole bunch of stuff about measurements between this and that lump on the surface of Mars(the stuff about the face with the helmet.)

Whether archeologists use such measurements as he claimed I have no idea.

It can be weird when people get involved in searching for strange stuff.  I worked with a scientist at a small research company.  He was definitely not crazy.  But you could think so once he starts displaying photographs take by dolphins strapped up with cameras and strobe lights, of the Loch Ness creature.  His specialty was high resolution films.  Being an expert in that field for decades I guess it was natural for him to take a stab at getting Nessie on film.  He showed me some pics of dolphins standing up on their tail fin in the water with cylinders about the size of flashlights strapped to them.  One cylinder had the strobe light, the other the camera.  They uses dome sonar gadget to fire the camera automatically when the dolphin came close to something with sufficient mass.  Unfortunately they didn't get any really good pics.  But the pics of the dolphins themselves were interesting.  :)

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2015, 04:53:48 PM »
I read a SciFi novel maybe 6 months ago.  I don't recall the author or title, but it was all about diverting comets to Mars to get the water from the ice.  

The physicists at the Thunderbolt Project have illustrated that comets have no ice. Just a fun fact. It's interesting how they explain things.

Here is the SciFi Novel in question:  Mining the Oort by Frederik Pohl
Yes, the EU or Electronic Universe is fascinating stuff.
Why is the center of a sunspot darker instead of brighter? EU has possible answers.
As per 'Mining the Oort' by Frederik Pohl:
ASF_0388.jpg
March 1963

ASF_0389.jpg
April 1963

What keeps nagging at me is the question of biological contamination (i.e. seeding) of Mars with Earth microorganisms.
I find myself mentally comparing it to the advent of Columbus to the New World, followed by everything from chickenpox to tumbleweeds, the virtual wipe-out of buffalo and Native Caribbean Sea peoples, and other events.
Once something microscopic from Earth should get started converting any chemical compound (from its own POV) from a consumable into a bio-waste product, it would be almost unstoppable spreading across Mars.
The human body is host to countless beneficial, opportunistic, and antagonistic microorganisms, and they would all be let loose the moment you get a dead astronaut on Mars in a ruptured space suit (or bio suit, whatever you want to call it).

I read somewhere that NASA is even more concerned about reverse-contamination from Mars to Earth, and has some kind of fancy word for it.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 05:32:05 PM by bit »

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2015, 05:52:00 PM »
In 'Aliens 2', they use atmospheric processors to convert the alien moon's noxious atmosphere to make it breathable, "Takes decades," Van Leuwen tells Ripley. "We call it a 'shake and bake' colony."

S-F writer Robert A. Heinlein was -among other things- a mathematician.
I vaguely recall that he once calculated that with X number of giant Aliens-type 'atmospheric processors' (written a couple or three decades before 'Aliens'), seems to me he 'crunched the numbers' and figured it would take -X number of years- (he gave a specific number which I forget) to make the atmosphere of Mars breathable.
Does anyone have the direct Heinlein quote and actual info on this please?
If he put it in a story, what book?
 (see attachment in previous post)'When Mars had water' (courtesy of Rense.com & Dees); my only comment on the picture is that if it had water it must have had water vapor clouds, which -at least on Earth- are white.
Found it--
Red Planet (1949) by Robert A. Heinlein, quote:
Doctor MacRae dominated the dinner table talk, as he always did, with a soft rumble of salty comments and outrageous observations. Presently he turned to Mr Marlowe and said, ‘You said something earlier about another twenty years and we could throw away our respirators; tell me: is there news about the Project?’

The colony had dozens of projects, all intended to make Mars more livable for human beings, but the Project always meant the atmosphere, or oxygen, project. The pioneers of the Harvard-Carnegie expedition reported Mars suitable for colonization except for the all-important fact that the air was so thin that a normal man would suffocate. However they reported also that many, many billions of tons of oxygen were locked in the Martian desert sands, the red iron oxides that give Mars its ruddy color. The Project proposed to free this oxygen for humans to breathe.

‘Didn’t you hear the Deimos newscast this afternoon?’ Mr Marlowe answered.

‘Never listen to newscasts. Saves wear and tear on the nervous system.’

‘No doubt. But this was good news. The pilot plant in Libya is in operation, successful operation. The first day’s run restored nearly four million tons mass of oxygen to the air—and no breakdowns.’

Mrs Marlowe looked startled. ‘Four million tons? That seems a tremendous lot.’

Her husband grinned. ‘Any idea how long it would take that one plant at that rate to do the job, that is, increase the oxygen pressure by five mass-pounds per square inch?’

‘Of course I haven’t. But not very long I should think.’

‘Let me see —’ His lips moved soundlessly. ‘Uh, around two hundred thousand years—Mars years, of course.’

‘James, you’re teasing me!’

‘No, I’m not. Don’t let big figures frighten you, my dear; of course we won’t depend on one plant; they’ll be scattered every fifty miles or so through the desert, a thousand mega-horsepower each. There’s no limit to the power available, thank goodness; if we don’t clean up the job in our lifetimes, at least the kids will certainly see the end of it.’

MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2015, 05:37:10 AM »
I read somewhere that NASA is even more concerned about reverse-contamination from Mars to Earth, and has some kind of fancy word for it.

Blowback?  Nah.  Too few syllables.  :)

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2015, 03:59:16 PM »
I read somewhere that NASA is even more concerned about reverse-contamination from Mars to Earth, and has some kind of fancy word for it.

Blowback?  Nah.  Too few syllables.  :)
'Back contamination'.
^You're right MilesAhead, we need a fancier acronym with more syllables. :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2015, 05:53:05 PM »
I read somewhere that NASA is even more concerned about reverse-contamination from Mars to Earth, and has some kind of fancy word for it.

Blowback?  Nah.  Too few syllables.  :)
'Back contamination'.
^You're right MilesAhead, we need a fancier acronym with more syllables. :)

Hmm, I'm not sure if this has a good ring:

Neo Organic Mars Earth Recombinant Contagious Yuck
or NOMERCY for short.  :)


bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2015, 06:43:20 PM »
I read somewhere that NASA is even more concerned about reverse-contamination from Mars to Earth, and has some kind of fancy word for it.

Blowback?  Nah.  Too few syllables.  :)
'Back contamination'.
^You're right MilesAhead, we need a fancier acronym with more syllables. :)

Hmm, I'm not sure if this has a good ring:

Neo Organic Mars Earth Recombinant Contagious Yuck
or NOMERCY for short.  :)


^heehee :)

I have a new question; what altitude on Earth would correspond to air pressure on Mars at ground level?
IOW, how high above the Earth would you have to go, to match the same low atmospheric air pressure on Mars at ground level?
10 miles above the Earth? 20?
50,000 feet up? 100,000 feet up?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 09:39:18 AM by bit »

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2015, 05:54:48 PM »
^Found it: The Ringworld Engineers;

Original question: "I have a new question; what altitude on Earth would correspond to air pressure on Mars at ground level?
IOW, how high above the Earth would you have to go, to match the same low atmospheric air pressure on Mars at ground level?
10 miles above the Earth? 20?
50,000 feet up? 100,000 feet up?"

At the above link at 'The Ringworld Engineers', quote:
"In order to create the rarefied atmosphere on Mars, the Map of Mars was built to an altitude 20 miles (32 km) above the main Ringworld surface creating a 1,120,000,000-cubic-mile (4.7×109 km3) cavity."

20 miles = 105,600 feet

And, touching back on the original question of colonizing and terraforming Mars, I saw in a recent video documentary about Earth's interior (which I can't find now), that Mars has virtually no magnetic field to protect its atmosphere and surface from the intense solar radiation which results in Aurorae in the Earth's atmosphere/skies at the extreme northern & southern latitudes.

Mars is rust-colored for the obvious reason that its rocks are loaded with iron.
I wonder if the technology could be devised, to realign the magnetic orientation of the rocks north-south and use that to help simulate a magnetic field.
But the only known way, with Earth as an example, is for molten lava to cool in a preexisting magnetic field.
IOW, to magnetically 'polarize' solid rock by temporarily transforming it into a molten state in the presence of a magnetic field, which is neither practical nor feasible for Mars.
So as fast as you could generate atmosphere on Mars, the Sun would be working to break it down and dissipate it into outer space.

BTW, the Earth's Interior documentary said the Earth's magnetic field is weakening at an accelerating rate, especially near the Equator and the Atlantic between Brazil and northwest Africa.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2015, 06:15:07 PM by bit »

JavaJones

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2015, 06:37:58 PM »
Read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy". All your questions will be answered, and in the context of entertaining sci-fi no less! :D

- Oshyan

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2015, 02:57:40 PM »

IOW, to magnetically 'polarize' solid rock by temporarily transforming it into a molten state in the presence of a magnetic field, which is neither practical nor feasible for Mars.


I wouldn't be too sure of this. A sufficient quantity of nuclear devices detonated at once would result in glassing of the planet's surface, creating the necessary semimolten state to allow the iron particles to align to a suitable magnetic field.

The question then becomes how did earth gets its magnetic field in the first place, since that would probably lead to clues in how you would generate a planetary magnetic field in order to initially charge up the martian crust.

Without the charged particle deflection offered by a properly aligned magnetic field, the atmosphere just gets blown away. Using machinery to just replace it nonstop would result in the planet slowly but surely losing mass.

It is also possible to magnetize iron by way of impact. Vibrations will disrupt the crystalline structure of the metal enough to allow for magnetic polarity alignment, and this can happen through almost any method of making a piece of steel vibrate.

What if a comet crashed to earth at some point in the past that happened to be mostly iron with a pretty strong field? The impact energy would have made earth's surface hot, and the seismic waves of the impact would have vibrated the earth's crust. If that comet was magnetic, the whole planet would have become magnetic basically overnight.

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2015, 08:22:41 PM »
Read Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars Trilogy". All your questions will be answered, and in the context of entertaining sci-fi no less! :D

- Oshyan
This looks interesting! Tnx!

SeraphimLabs, I did find that Earth's Interior documentary, and added the link at the bottom of this post.
It said Earth's core is super-hot ultra-compressed metal and it generates a magnetic field by spinning.
Either by that alone or possibly also by interacting with the Sun's field.

If you don't mind, I'll branch out here and mention the EU (Electric Universe) theory, which is that the Sun is powered not by fusion, but by vast external galactic electrical fields.
The idea is that, from Earth, the field is too dilute and spread out to detect, and the Earth and planets too small to attract enough electrical flow to 'light them up'.
But the Sun is large enough to attract sufficient electrical flow to cause it to light up.

To me, three phenomena support this idea:
1) The Sun's corona is at a million degrees, far hotter than its surface.
The corona is outside of the Sun's surface.
Logically, the closer to the Sun you go, the hotter it should be, not cooler.
2) Sunspots, 'holes' in the Sun's surface, and 'windows' to its interior, are cooler and show black in images.
If the Sun was internally powered, I should expect sunspots to show hotter.
3) Barred spiral galaxies.
On Earth, nature abhors a barred spiral; whirlpools in water, in tornadoes, in hurricanes, do not have barred spirals.
Yet there are vast spiral galaxies which support barred spirals; I think this may be connected to EU theory too.
Anyways, that's the EU theory for you.  :)

Edit - Update:  Inside Planet Earth (2009)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 02:30:58 PM by bit »

JavaJones

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2015, 03:11:45 PM »
I don't know, the hottest part of a candle flame is quite far from the source of combustion. Relevant to the sun? I can't say, but the whole universe (including our planet) does not necessarily work in an intuitive way. ;)

Is there any actual evidence *for* the EU theory (not just evidence against other theories, e.g. the strangeness of barred spiral galaxies)?

- Oshyan

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2015, 10:43:43 PM »
^About all I can do is point you to one of the more prominent EU theory websites, such as thunderbolts, with the caveat that I don't necessarily agree with everything they espouse.*
They say they have the higher math to support it, but I'm a 2 + 2 = 4 person myself.  :)
Having said all that, I do tend to follow general EU theory, such as the three inferences I cited in my last post.
Tnx again for the 'Mars Trilogy' reference. :)

*For instance, 'thunderbolts' does not believe in the existence of black holes, whereas I've seen a YT vid of the center of the Milky Way, with various massive stars in tight short-term orbits that make them look like Phobos & Deimos clones around an invisible central object that is calculated to have a mass equivalent to a galactic black hole.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2015, 10:50:26 PM by bit »

bit

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2015, 12:59:35 AM »
Touching back on the Mars question, actually, an Arthur C. Clarke type Rama ship, "...a perfect cylinder, 20 kilometres (12 mi) in diameter and 54 kilometres (34 mi) long..." would almost make more sense.
To name a few advantages:
1) Induced full 1-Gee gravity.
2) Virtually nonexistent gravity well to dive into or climb up out of.
3) Near-perfect weather control.
4) Optimized mobility or locatability; could be positioned almost anywhere, in its own orbit around the Sun, or orbiting any planet; maybe even moved around to here or there from time to time as needed (or as a means to visit other star systems).

I wonder, besides dubbing it a 'Rama ship', what would be the generic term for such a ship?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 01:04:48 AM by bit »

MilesAhead

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein - atmospheric processor question
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2015, 06:43:43 AM »
I wonder, besides dubbing it a 'Rama ship', what would be the generic term for such a ship?

I think Charles Stross just calls them Cylinder Habitats.. at least in the novel Glasshouse