A lot of excitement and talk has been about since the advent of Robert Bigelow's plans for launching hotels into space--and for good reason. An opportunity to stay overnight in space orbiting around the Earth and experiencing micro-gravity is definitely reason enough to be excited. What a lot of people don't know though is what you can do with this kind of setup. That is why I have decided to write this fun list:
The Top 10 Things to Experience in A Space Hotel
With no light pollution and no atmosphere to interfere the view would be amazing. Stars would lose their distinctive "twinkle" without the atmosphere but different colors would become apparent. Those amazing images provided by Hubble could now be accessed by guests at any time.
# 9. Views of the Moon.
Simply put, a new perspective of that object in the sky that has been a fixture for eons. Again, without an atmosphere the view would be much clearer and telescopes would allow for very close views. Maps of the Moon could also be made available and you could point out different craters and and cracks.
# 8. Star... err... Earth Gazing.
# 7. Checking In.
Check in is a whole new experience in itself. You start by unbuckling yourself from your seat and gathering your luggage. After picking up your belongings you simply Velcro them to your body and float through the corridor! Guided by a railing you make your way towards the main entrance, gradually increasing in gravity until you can walk normally. The artificial gravity is produced by the slow rotations of the hotel container.
# 6. Checking Out.
# 5. Weight Watching.
A space station presents an unique opportunity for experiencing different strengths of gravity. With multiple containers on the space hotel variable spinning speeds can be done. Set your containers speed to virtually zero and you can experience the weightlessness that astronauts of today encounter or if you're wanting to feel more at home you can set the revolutions per minute (rpm's) of your cabin to the equivalent of one G. Experimenting in between could also be quite fun. Simply adjust the rpm's so that you experience a weight of 100 lbs or even 20 lbs. Or, if you're wanting to build a little more muscle, you could even increase the relative gravity.
(see the physics behind this concept)
# 4. The Trampoline Room.
Not much to describe here, the title pretty much says it all. Micro-gravity + trampolines on the floor and ceiling = endless possibilities.
# 3. Space-Sports.
Once hotels are established in space bigger, newer inflatable stadiums could be launched into orbit or even constructed in space. Try to picture giant, inflated spheres with seating all around and the playing field, for whatever game/sport, right in the middle. Tweaking the relative G-force of the playing field could let humans fly like birds on Earth too. Strap on carbon-fiber (or some other lightweight material) wings and little stabilizers on the end of your feet, begin flapping, and away you can fly! After some practice you could eventually master diving and completing barrel rolls.
New (or old) contact sports could become a lot fiercer and at the same time a lot safer. With lowered gravity falling becomes less of a hazard. Couple that with padded walls all the way around and the risk for injury is almost gone! You could try all the stunts that you could ever imagine and remain almost worry free!
Here's a cool article from Space.com that gives an early look at space sports going on now in a modified Boeing 727-200 aircraft that takes you for a free fall. They also speculate on the future of space sports.
# 2. Sleeping Arrangements.
The room! The setup would be similar to any Earthly hotel but the experience would be far from it. First, you have your window. Take a look outside at the Earth and the rest of space or get a fantastic view of the rest of the space hotel. With the room spinning to maintain artificial gravity your view will also be constantly changing.
During a study of two 1998 space flights, five astronauts stopped snoring almost completely. The astronauts also experienced a significant decrease in sleep-disturbing periods of breathing cessation, called sleep apnea, as well as periods of slow and shallow breathing called hypopnea. more...
Oh, and with news of the plan for the first first ever honeymoon in space, I'm sure couples could**ahem** try various 'rendezvousing and docking' methods in partial or zero gravity.
# 1. Low-G Swimming
Take the water to a zero-G room and a slew of new forms of entertainment arise. You could literally grab blobs of water and throw them like snowballs across the room and watch them explode into pieces as they hit the wall. Jumping inside larger blobs of water is now possible too. Swim around like a goldfish in a fishbowl or simply blow bubbles on the inside of your blob. Next you exit the blob and mold it into various shapes. Pull the water out in strings or transform your blob into a donut by blowing a large bubble in the center and bursting it. Or you could try spinning it and watch it take all sorts of shapes.
Hopefully this list has piqued your imagination or at least given you some new information on the capabilities of space. If anyone has any other ideas for possible experiences in a space hotel let me know by adding a comment and I will add a "Bonus Section" for submitted ideas! I will also be sure to list your name (and website if applicable) next to the idea! I'm looking forward to your ideas so please add them!
Lastly I want to thank (and recommend) the book Your Spaceflight Manual for providing me inspiration for this piece and for providing me great information.
- Genesis II- Updates from Bigelow Aerospace
- "Genesis I is About to Have Company"
- Money Backing the Private Space Industry.. Part 3--Robert Bigelow (A look at one entrepreneur who has plans of putting hotels in orbit)
- Genesis I Completes Successful Launch into Space (1/3 scale model of space hotel launched)
- The Manifest Destiny: Mark II (Essay on our destiny as humans to colonize space)
- Absolutely Awesome Images of Space
- Bigelow Interviewed by MSNBC--Lunar Habitat in the Works
- About This Blog--My Purpose