My question has to do with living inside a spaceship, which is mostly made up of a force field containing a breathable, earthlike atmosphere. There is a constant outward pull of something like 0.3 gravities.

Within the main ship there are basically what amounts to monoliths from 2001: A Space odyssey, laid down lengthwise, which generate artificial gravity close to earth normal.

These monoliths range from around 30 meters long to sizes comparable to the surface area of the earth. Energy is imparted via a 'sun' strip that rotates around the central axis of the ship, creating a 30 hour cycle between peaks.

Given all this, the research I've done has indicated that weather would be pretty interesting around the edges of the monoliths. Exactly how is what is escaping me. The zone of increased gravity extends upward the length of the monolith or one kilometer, whichever is less.

I've read these questions.

What effects would moving between areas of different gravity have on a human?

What effects would moving between areas of different gravity have on a human?

Effects of gravity upon weather?

They are related, but don't quite cover everything I'm looking for. The species currently living on these monoliths are reasonably high tech - able to use medical nanotech to mitigate long term muscle/bone loss from low G living, but not able to create actual artificial gravity themselves. So I'm curious what weather would be like - and if there would be any effects on people aside from things like ears popping.

If it would make things make more sense the people could do things like build retaining walls around the edges of the monoliths to keep the weather more stable.

Edit - the ship itself is a cylinder 80 million km long by 10 million km in diameter. The central core is 2 million km in diameter and is inaccessible.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What is the function of outward pulling force-field? I thought a force-field would be used to contain an atmosphere. If it was outward pulling, this could disperse the atmosphere. If people live on the monoliths, do they have houses, buildings, or simply rooms for their habitation? $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Jun 27, 2018 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ The outward pull is simply to have gravity outside the reach of the monoliths, I'm working with the assumption air density would be lower in the upper reaches - this is basically a way for me to have a really big sky for people to fly around in. The monoliths themselves vary a lot, smaller ones usually get turned into ships as they can have engines bolted on to move them. Larger ones are thousands, or in a couple of cases millions of square kilometers, so they have cities, mountains, all kinds of stuff. $\endgroup$
    – Marbrand
    Jun 27, 2018 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ that is Huge! The ship has a diameter that is 1000 times bigger than a planet, and a length that would stretch halfway from the sun to the Earth! $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Jun 27, 2018 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ I did say a large volume :) This is actually shrunk from my initial plans, it was originally going to be measured in AU. I decided to make it smaller with an relative velocity limit imposed by the ship's computer. $\endgroup$
    – Marbrand
    Jun 27, 2018 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


You don't have an atmosphere, you have a gas giant planet.

Mass of 1 m3 earth-air at STP = 1.225 kg. Volume of a cylinder the size of your spaceship (m3) = Pi * (5 * 10^9)^2 * 80 * 10^9

Total mass of your ship's atmosphere = 7.69 * 10^30 kg

For comparison, mass of the planet Saturn is 5.6834 * 10^26 kg

Your monoliths are likely in the heart of this planet, as they will gain mass by runaway acretion thanks to the artificial gravity differential. There will later be gravity differential between the core and the outer atmosphere that will drive Kelvin-Helmholtz contraction.

What happens to the core and the shell depends on what sort of unobtanium they are made of.

So the weather will be that of a gas giant, high winds, increased heat towards the center due to a combination of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelvin%E2%80%93Helmholtz_mechanism and probably D-D fusion will drive convection between the hot core and the cooler surface.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you think the higher air pressure over the monoliths would do to the weather/wind? If I'm reading through things properly it seems to me like air would be pulled in, condensed, and push out the sides - if I leave the sides flat. Which I was thinking would moderate the overall high winds, but also create all kinds of crazy localized weather effects around the lower edges. I'm later going to write a question about overall weather/circulation in the ship. Maybe should have led off with that one. $\endgroup$
    – Marbrand
    Jun 28, 2018 at 4:00
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownian_motion - the air molecules are moving randomly, and colliding randomly, but the gravity of the monoliths accelerates them towards the monoliths. They will be concentrated nearest the monolith, slowly raising the local pressure above the average 1 atm inside the spaceship. Water etc. will condense out with the increased pressure. Now you have the gravity of the monolith, plus the (much smaller) gravity of the denser air and water around it pulling in even more air, and only diffusion driving the particles the other way. This will continue to equilibrium $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2018 at 6:16

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