Hypothetical materials used to construct (this) shell world

As there are multiple definitions for shell world, this needs some clarification. In this case, a shell world refers to a body with the surface being domed over and possibly propped up by the atmosphere, not a Matroska-style shell world or a shell using a gas giant as a ballon for support creating a planet with hundreds of time the surface area of the earth. This one is much tamer. The question here is relatively straightforward, in that what would such a shell be constructed of. The planet, or planetoid, in this case, is roughly the mass of the moon, with a surface gravity of roughly 0.2 g, and smack dab in the middle of the habitable zone of the star it orbits. In the habitable zone of the star, it orbits. The shell, in this case, should be

  • Transparent to visible light and infrared radiation, and potentially lower wavelengths
  • Should be resistant to charged particles, should be resistant to UV radiation, completely non-transparent, to anything above UV.
  • Energy for the initial production isn't an issue
  • Verry little energy for matitence
  • The surface should extend to at least 2500 feet to allow for some form of natural weather cycle(Or a different appropriate height for a natural weather cycle.). By this, it's mean cloud formation(and so rain)
  • Should be resistant to space debris- eg it shouldn't go "pop" when a stray sharp rock hits it. hence the term shell.
  • Resources aren't an issue
  • Cost isn't an issue
  • Can be propped up by massive internal pressure, massive pillars, both, or something else. Take your pick.
  • Material doesn't have to be within the realm we're currently capable of producing. An example of the SORT OF material might be graphene, as in it can and does exist, can exist, we just can't mass produce it yet. What material or materials should be used to construct THIS shell

-Stupid autocorrect

  • $\begingroup$ What are you exactly asking? If we had such material we would be coating satellites with it, instead of spending money in tracking and avoiding debris $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 19, 2021 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Point taken, question will be editied. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2021 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ Your shiel should be made of Acme Unobtainium produced through their patented Handwavium process. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2021 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ What's wrong with typical glass dome? Breaking of tile is unavoidable if asteroid hit for any passive material, and u just need to replace sections in time, and there will be enough of it. By glass I mean some layered structure not necessarly one plain sheet, but it out of scope of the comment. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Apr 20, 2021 at 7:40

1 Answer 1


It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

The dome will be a free standing geodesic dome built of cut blocks of clear water ice. It will be thicker at the base and thinner towards the top, as domes are. Ice is remarkably clear to visual spectrum EMR and opaque to damaging shorter wavelength radiation like xrays. It may be somewhat blue down under the ice dome.

Also, ice will heal. An impactor striking the ice may crack the surface which will then reseal through mass action.

Sublimation of the outer layer could be problematic. An outer layer of gooey long chain hydrocarbons sits atop the pleasure dome to prevent this. Additional water (free of dissolved gases, to keep it clear) will be sprayed atop the dome to regenerate it as needed.


ice absorbtions


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