Artificial-gravity buildings for moon and Mars unveiled by Japanese researchers

Throughout the years, plans for deliverable habitats on the moon and Mars have come and gone. And while all those potential plans may be decades away, Japan has given us quite possibly the best proposal of them all.

This massive 1,300 foot-tall rotating structure is called “The Glass.” The rendering seen above was presented at a July 5 press conference held by Kyoto University researchers and Kajima Corporation, a construction firm based in Tokyo. Designed to rotate every 20 seconds using centrifugal force to achieve “normal gravity,” the plan is to create “artificial gravity living facilities” that basically recreate the living conditions of Earth.

Yosuke Yamashiki, the director of Kyoto University’s SIC Human Spaceology Center asserted to the press on July 15, “There is no plan like this in other countries’ space development plans,” according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Don’t get your hopes up about seeing the project fully realized in your lifetime though. Asahi Shimbun reports that plans to build the massive structure will take close to 100 years, although a simplified version of “The Glass” could be on the moon by 2050.

The team aims to build two separate facilities called “Lunar Glass” for the moon and “Mars Glass” for Mars. The idea, according to the researchers, is as space tourism starts to become more commonplace, there must be ways to “reduce the impact on the health of people living on the moon or Mars that could be caused by low gravity,” Asahi Shimbun reports.

Studies by NASA and other researchers have found that a constant state of weightlessness and traversing across different gravity fields can cause bone loss, back pain, and kidney stones. However, the joint Kyoto-Kajima team pointed out in its press statement that “research on low gravity is limited to the maintenance of the adult body and its impact on the birth and growth of children.”

Further plans for “The Glass” facilities include forests and waterfronts to mimic the biodiversity of Earth along with a transportation system called the “Hexagon Space Track System,” Asahi Shimbun reports. According to the researchers, this interplanetary space train will generate its own gravity while it travels between Earth, the moon, and Mars.

“Developing an artificial gravity residential facility with Kyoto University will be a watershed moment in space research,” said Takuya Ohno, an architect and researcher at Kajima, in the press statement. “We will work to make this joint research meaningful for humankind.”

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