• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

Gravity problems


I was reading The Gods Themselves by Asimov and he talks about how the people born and raised on the moon and also those who stay there a while can never return to earth b/c of the gravity differense. It's funny how all the races seemed to be able to handle 1G fine. I guess all the planets with life on them must be of similar size.
Author's license! /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif How can we communicate with every alien race we meet in these fictional universes? Author's license. It makes for a better story, so we forgive it.

Of course it is illogical. The "aliens" we meet will hardly be humanoid and will certainly be difficult to communicate with when and if we ever meet any.

But what boring and long-drawn-out stories we'd get if it were any other way. /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
Actually, B5 provides a variety of apparent gravities, depending on how close to the core you are. (The pilot states the different sections can rotate at different speeds, which seems unlikely and unnecessary. But JMS was always stronger on the "fiction" part of the equation than he was on the "science" part. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif)

Most of the species can probably handle 1 G prettty well - it would be easier for most of them if their homeworlds had a slightly higher gravity than if they came from lo-gee worlds.

In fact, we should constantly see people working in slightly different induced gravities on B5, as we should see people walking different on Mars, and dropped objects taking longer to hit the ground there, but the realities of TV production make this too difficult (and expensive) to show.


i still wanna know how they get from the zero-g parts of the station to the roatating parts...

and lets not forget the two sections of b4 that spinned in opposite directions...
I, personally, don't think it's that far fetched of an idea to have different g's at different parts of the station depending on how close you are to the core. The way it works out in my twisted mind is that the closer you are to the core, the slower that part is spinning, the farther away you are the faster it's spinning. At least it all works out in my mind, doubt it will for anyone else since i'm all screwed up in the head and all.

I looked through the B5 Security Manual to see if it had anything in it on the diff g's and it didn't have much to offer, oh well.

I suppose it would have been too hard to constantly show the problems in the show. Although G'Kar does seem to have a very light step sometimes, for someone his size - maybe the gravity on Narn is slightly higher. /ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

It was addressed in at least one of the numbered books, BTW, Clark's Law I think - it was described how a Mars woman came aboard and how she had to struggle with the gravity on B5. It sort of added a nice realistic touch. /ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif

As Hypatia says - artistic license. Maybe it's assumed that most of them - at least the main characters - have spent enough time on the station to get somewhat used to its gravity, especially if it's somewhat similar to the one on their home world.
Sentient beings cannot easily develop in Mars gravity. You should remember what happened to Mars. Due to low gravity, its atmosphere slipped away into space. Most planets of this size are barren. To have an atmosphere, you need mass.

Sentient beings are likely to develop on planets with gravity similar to Earth or higher. Those who prefer higher gravity can easily handle Earth gravity. Besides, different sections of the station provide different gravity.

Near-axis areas have very little. You would need artificial propulsion or magnetic boots to move. Middle layers are typical for Earth-class planets. Outer layers have more, perhaps even twice as much. Given such variety, most species will find a comfortable zone.

Speaking with aliens might seem a stretch... but if we make some silly assumptions on how sentients might evolve, we can imagine that Humans are pretty similar to the "average sentient" of our galaxy.


We have bilateral symmetry, an even number of arms and legs. Easy formation and easy movement. We walk on two legs to see further. At certain stages of evolution, seeing far helps you stay alive. We have a protrusion called head with cognitive and feeding organs. They are close to each other for valid reasons. It is healthy to examine, taste and smell what you are planning to eat.

Last but not least, we breathe air. It is natural for us to communicate with air vibrations. Sound is an excellent and simple means of communication. Many creatures are likely to communicate with sound. Many sounds are impossible for us to produce, but translation devices could easily solve that problem.

There may be far more human-looking aliens in our galaxy, than we expect. Especially if planets like Earth provide good conditions for life to develop.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Lennier:
<font color=yellow>Sentient beings cannot easily develop in Mars gravity. </font color=yellow><hr></blockquote> I think that depends on what kind of life you are thinking of. Wasn't there once (possibly still is) speculation that microbes at least could live under the ice on one of Jupiter's moons? /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif

I have always found it odd that we can only conceive of life on an Earth-like planet. We THINK you need water for life, and even with that, Venus has an atmosphere. Maybe Venus is too hot for life, but can we really be sure?

I've often wondered if we ever to make it to the stars if we would even recognize life when we found it! /ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

It was thought for a long time that no life could live at the very bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean. Now we know better.

Anyhow, I understand and accept how we need to pretend all of this to make a good sci-fi series that enough people will want to watch. But that's more of that "artistic license" going on, not real science.

Anyhow, just some thoughts on the subject.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>I, personally, don't think it's that far fetched of an idea to have different g's at different parts of the station depending on how close you are to the core.<hr></blockquote>

I don't think that is a problem either. I do thing that spinning different sections of B5 at different speeds depending on who is resident in which would be a problem - and that's what Sinclair says is done in the pilot. (This notion, like the gravity rings, is never mentioned again.) OTOH B4 having separate "cylinders" rotating in opposite directions doesn't strike me as necessarily being a problem. To pass from one to the other, you simply go to the core, where there is no rotation, and move from one to the other in zero g. Then you just go "down" to the outside as usual.


Besides gravity, pressure, temperature, atmosphere, what portion of the electromagnetic spectrum a being can detect (sight, hearing) and communicate in, and how much of what wavelengths of light a being could endure are all variables that would surely be different for aliens from different worlds. These variables are often ignored in scifi, and only a few are hinted at on B5. If everyone had to wear a special environmental suit to sustain themselves, storytelling would be strange and difficult. And, if we do meet aliens similar to ourselves, they would be more likely to be in a range similar to us. But surely in the vastness of space, there must be beings that resemble us not at all, so it would be nice to see these kinds of situations handled more often in scifi.
One thing I've wondered about - apart from the Vorlons, why no flying aliens? Developing flight and sentience shouldn't necessarily rule each other out, should it? Oh, I understand that it's a bit tricky to have flying aliens on screen, but I don't think I've noticed too many in books either - none, in fact, although that may be due to my lack of scifi reading.
If you can fly than added cognitive skills won't necessarily allow you to survive better than your other winged breatheren.
Hmm, I don't know - it shouldn't be *that* much different from the non-flying species. A sentient being who can fly should find it easier to get food, build a shelter etc. So I am not quite convinced it's evolutionarily the same kind of impossibility as developing both telepathy and sentience.
Lenniers thinking is sound. The logic behind the argument is concrete and extremely accurate. However it falls within the known parameters of our environment. Sentience I should imagine, doesn't depend on the environment but rather the species in question. Certain species would develope faster than others in order to survive within any given environment. The whole Darwin thing comes into play. Yes we are Bipeds, with binocular vision etc, etc. We are also, along with all living creatures on this planet, carbon based life forms. Hence our environment defines who we are. What if there is a sulphur based life form with a higher Gravity. Different conditions would cause a different type of evolution but different doesn't mean that there is no sentience!
Birds could use intelligence every bit as much as us ground-dwellers.The one thing I seem to remember hearing about this idea (long LONG ago so I might not be remembering correctly) is the size of the brain and the difficulty in that. If you assume a creature of sentience would have to have a brain about as big as our own, you'd have to have one heck of a wing span to take off with that much bulk.

But these are all just speculations, after all. The one disadvantage we all have in this is our limited pool of examples. We have one measely little planet to observe. Of course many species are quite similar. We all grew up in the same background, so to speak.

As far as no sci-fi writer using flying intelligent creatures, the "Dragonriders of Pern" series uses very intelligent (and telepathic) flying dragons.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by hypatia:
<font color=yellow>If you assume a creature of sentience would have to have a brain about as big as our own, you'd have to have one heck of a wing span to take off with that much bulk.</font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>
The good old flying dinosaurs had a wing span wide enough, I'd say. /ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif Even if they didn't have the brain to match it.
That might be part of what they're looking at. These huge creatures died out for a good reason. Most of us animals are significantly smaller now than back then. Anyhow, I still think that we are too limited in what we assume can happen in terms of evolution.

We have so little to go on. All life on earth is related in a sense, so we probably have more in common with a housefly than we would an intelligent being from another planet.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by hypatia:
<font color=yellow>These huge creatures died out for a good reason.</font color=yellow><hr></blockquote>
OK, what's this good reason?
They needed an awful lot of food. They couldn't last long when things got rough, so to speak. At leat that's what I thought was the most recent theory. The asteroid hit, debris cut out the sun, food sources became much more scarce. The more food you needed, the more quickly you would die.

Latest posts

Members online

No members online now.