O'Neill Cylinders, illustration by Rick Guidice for NASA
Questions That Need Answers Right Now
In a rotating space station, would there be a constant wind on the surface?
Specifically, how strong of a wind? Is there simulation software to run models on (maybe OpenFoam?)
How will atmosphere move around within the station at different elevations?
Will atmosphere tend to slow down the rotation over time? by how much?
What conditions will cause clouds or rain? (last one something to do with dew point and moisture content in the air,
answer would follow somewhat from a map of pressures at different elevations)
I assume hot air in a rotating space station would tend to float toward the center? Thus, if the (inner) surface is mostly
around 60 to 70 degrees F, what can we say about the temperature at the middle in something like
Kalpana One (a kind of squat cylinder)? What if sunlight were collected at the end caps, and reflected such that
it is reemitted from a giant magic bar in the center. What would this do to the temperature and pressure
at different elevations?
What is the math to compute the possible size of station based on material cohesion?
What is the force of air pressure on the hull compared to force pulling hull apart due to rotation?
See for instance this wonderful summary of modern material strength on space station size.
It also delves into atmosphere density gradients, and rough estimates for pressures due to atmosphere
and non-structural components necessary for humans.
What is relationship between volume of compressed air vs. air at 1 atm?
What volume of cannister is necessary to reinflate a station of a given volume?
From 2 given masses, what is the stability and 3-D path of a typical lissajous orbit around various langrange points?
How much does the multitude of bodies in the solar system affect the stability? How is this computed?
For something like Kalpana One, if light were collected at endcaps and redirected (fiber optics?) to
a kind of central faux-sun, how would that light compare to natural sunlight on earth?
Plants in general need (so I hear) reds for flowering, and blues for leafy growth.
How much of this reflected light would be necessary to support a bunch of plants and adequate lighting
on the inner surface? Human made lights necessary?
Is there some reason why L5 seems to be so popular for station placement, and not L4? Just the name?
Some how easier to fly to from the involved bodies (ie from Earth to the l5 point of earth-moon system)?
Are relativistic effects all that relevant for calculating orbits around planets beyond Mercury?
Is there some existing software with a C or some other programming api that can compute approximations for orbits?
This would be for the purpose of creating realistic-ish orbital situations.
...need to investigate, for instance, the Gaia Sky!
Will have to experiment. Seems to be able to show the orbit of the Gaia space observatory (launched 19 December 2013)
orbiting around Earth-Moon L2, as well as
a variety of other celestial objects. It is released under the MPL 2.0. Another open source project to examine
is Celestia (GPL).
One fabulous space toy is (the proprietary) Universe Sandbox, where you can set up various unlikely celestial configurations
just to see what explodes.
Say an asteroid hits a station (size and speed dependent on what makes a good story).
How does this affect station dynamics on a rotating station?
What kinds of airspeed can be expected rushing out of a resulting hole?
how feasible is it to still run around inside and set up machinery to patch (compared to movies
that show catastrophic depressurization)?
Would it make the station precess? would this wobble subside? (I have not tried building in Space Engineers)
Perceived force in rotating space stations is defined: A = ω2/r
Perceived force due to coriolis effects: F = 2*m* ((station rotational velocity vector) x (velocity of object in rotating frame))
There is a plethora of information relevant to making art, novels, and movies with real, or at least plausible science
at Atomic Rockets.