4
$\begingroup$

This is a cylinder world (hand-waved), but with gravity definitely "down." Imagine a cylinder whose curved surface is the size of, the United States. However, its gravity is as much like if it were placed on the surface of the Earth.

That is to say, there's definitely a 'floor' of mountains, deserts, tropics, lakes; and there's sides and a ceiling.

On the ceiling, I'd like to have a savannah-type environment that only a few intrepid explorers have used cables and hooks to investigate. Lots of bugs up there.

I'm not concerned with the artificial parts (the glowing orb in the center, the construction of it) yet; but strictly, how can I have upside down trees and grass?

(The structure is artificial, but I'd like plants to grow upside-down towards the light in the center of the massive structure, without artificial assistance.)

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you think of a reason it wouldn't work? Air Bonsai comes to mind, as do countless indoor decorations $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Oct 4 '16 at 23:38
  • $\begingroup$ With upside-down water obviously. What else? $\endgroup$ – Durakken Oct 5 '16 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon That is very interesting. Thanks for links. $\endgroup$ – NuWin Oct 5 '16 at 16:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How does the soil stay in place? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Oct 6 '16 at 6:49
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz - that is a question I have. Tough roots maybe. The sides are going to be an interesting 'side' question later as well. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Oct 7 '16 at 20:53
2
$\begingroup$

Anchorage

There are plenty of real-world examples of plants growing without being anchored to the ground: they're called epiphytes. Assuming your cylindrical world has a reasonably rough surface, plants will have no trouble finding something to anchor themselves to.

Water

This is easy: you have a cloud forest. Instead of getting water from rain, the plants on the ceiling get their moisture by condensing it from the air. This could occur naturally, with clouds forming whenever the humidity exceeds the dew point, or the plants could have evolved to encourage condensation by actively cooling themselves.

Trace nutrients

This is the hard part. Although the macronutrients for plant growth (water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen) have no trouble reaching a high-altitude inverted surface, the micronutrients are a different matter. Plants might be able to evolve to pull nitrogen out of the air, but other elements such as phosphorus are harder to get. You'll either need epic storms to bring dust high enough in the air, or your plants will need to develop a carnivorous lifestyle to get their nutrients from bugs (or birds).

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.