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The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station

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Galactophage Galactophage's picture
The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station
The Depths of Space is a heavily modified O'Neil cylinder where pods of uplifted dolphins, aquatic posthumans, octomorphs, and similar underwater morphs gather. The cylinder itself has a massive "ocean" in the middle of the cylinder, kept in by nanotech membranes and air jet currents from below. I'm looking for a way to keep a giant body of water floating in the center of a station of some sort with as least convoluted tech as possible. Recommendations welcome.
"Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est."
The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station
Not the most engineering-minded of persons, so bear with me... I'm having trouble picturing your concept. It's a cylinder with a longitudinal column of water suspended down the middle, with the cylinder spinning but the water column free-floating? If that's right then it sounds very tricky. You'd need to stop the water column from developing spin from air drag, which would disperse it to the edges of the cylinder and hence turn the whole place into a giant washing machine. That's troublesome because water likes very much to spin and eddy rather than hang around in one convenient place. I think an far easier pitch would be a ringworld with the water on the outer edge and air around the lower-grav centre. Or maybe some kind of ellipsoid/egg-shaped hab containing a perpetual vortex.
nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station
You could always cheat - find a friendly dense gas and a friendly light liquid. Your 'water' is actually hydrofluorocarbons or something, and your 'air' is actually dense xenon. I'm not a chemist though, so you'd need some tricks there. Another idea is if you could magnetise the water somewhow, then by having a single strand of magnetic superconductor down the middle, the water would just 'stick' around it.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station
Why not just fill a O'Neill cylinder with water? The rotation keeps the "ocean" along the walls and produces a cylindrical space of air inside the water. You can have floating or anchored islands there, for the air-breathers and visitors. The tricky solution: use a nanotech membrane around the water volume that keeps it in place, but lets through people, oxygen or whatever. If there is no rotation, the membrane just needs to keep the water from moving away. First, it needs to be anchored in cables linked to the habitat so the volume won't drift. The membrane also needs to act as a surface tension strong enough to keep the shape. This means that the Eötvös number rho*g*L^2/sigma is less than one - rho is the density difference (~1000), g is the gravitational acceleration (~1 m/s^2 for a low but not microgravity environment), L is the length scale and sigma is the surface tension. So if you want to have a 1 km length scale, you need a surface tension of a billion N/m! Scaling things down to merely 10 meters leads to a tension of 100,000 N/m - far, far beyond mercury, but likely within the realm of practical nanotech. The membrane *will* be wobbly and likely needs active stabilization from the cables. If it fails, the water will spill. Having a diamond tank with entry ports covered by membranes is easier.
mack2028 mack2028's picture
Re: The Depths of Space: Aquatic Uplift Station
I was thinking doing it on the outside or a diamond or other carbon fullerite structure, because if it floats in the middle how will anyone get in?