Artificial Gravity

The movie Lucy has me thinking about science and science-fiction. If you haven’t heard about the movie here’s the trailer.

The premise is flawed. Ridiculously flawed. It got me thinking about other concepts that are flawed or that seem out of place.

Artificial Gravity

This is a normal trope for Science-Fiction space shows but it’s rarely based in science.

Some, like Babylon 5 or 2001 a Space Odyssey, use centrifugal force. (That’s when you spin something to simulate gravity.) However most will hand-wave the technology away and just say they have some sort of way of creating a Gravity Field.

Star Trek has gravity plating in its ships. It creates a gravity field that can be adjusted.

The obvious reason for this trope to exist is simplicity. TV and Movies don’t want to spend millions of dollars creating realistic anti-gravity and audiences want to see their hero’s walking and talking like normal. In stories, it simplifies the storytelling. You don’t have to look into how people and objects would move and it’s less alien to a reader.

But take the concept one step further. If we could control gravitational forces with such ease, why hasn’t anyone applied the tech to something else like weapons, flight tech, or space travel?

A gun or grenade that could control the gravity around an individual would be devastating. Increase the gravity by ten times from 1g to 10g in a second, you’d seriously hurt someone and probably kill them.

The problem with most science-fiction worlds is that Artificial gravity is incongruent with their level of technology. With the artificial gravity of Star Trek, they could easily have created artificial and collapsible black holes. Think how devastating that would have been as a weapon.

In less violent fashions, if they can get the plating to apply in reverse to their ship, they wouldn’t need more than a tiny push to get off planet. They’d be able to nullify the effect of gravity on their ship and float off into space.

 

There are various other pieces of Science-Fiction that are unbelievable or incongruous. What’s your favourite?

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3 Responses to Artificial Gravity

  1. The biggest one in my mind is “Faster then light” communication. Every science fiction series allows for us to “call across the galaxy” as though time and space meant nothing. Like gravity, it simplifies the plot tremendously.

    However, imagine the computer power you could attain. today were are limited by physical properties in the materials we use. with faster than light computing power we literally have unlocked power like we have never seen. No more download times, no more waiting.

  2. Jen says:

    I like the idea of reversing the gravity field and floating off the surface of the planet. 🙂

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