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So picture this: Earth has a similar gravitational pull to the Moon, maybe even closer to zero G. Lets say, theoretically, that an atmosphere similar to our own has been established, and we're all living in sweet, sweet harmony.

In a question asked about how the human body would develop under low-gravity, ideas were thrown about that perhaps we'd be quite long, not-very-well-formed humans (of course nobody can say for sure, this is all theoretical).

Taking this into consideration, how might we have developed our environment to cater for this? How might buildings have been designed differently?

How different would the built environment be if Earth was low-gravity?

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closed as too broad by MichaelK, L.Dutch, Vylix, sphennings, Frostfyre Aug 23 '17 at 12:12

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Well, the Moon has a very hard time holding on to an atmosphere, as does Mars. Now, part of the problem for those is that neither has a magnetic field to speak of, which allows the solar wind to interact directly with the outer layers of the atmosphere, but still: Maintaining an atmosphere requires a reasonably high gravity. If a planet doesn't meet that basic criteria, it's going to be unable to hold on to an atmosphere, and any life as we know it is a moot point. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Aug 22 '17 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael Kjörling fairly certain there's a question on this site about that exact topic.. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 23 '17 at 7:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Cthulhu This kind of question is problematic. What you just did is ask: "Ok, assume everything is unchanged compared to now. But then we have changed this one thing. And, that one thing than changes some other things. What becomes changed and how is it changed?". This problem is further compounded by the thing you want changed will change everything all thew way back to the creation of the planet. Evolution in particular will be severely affected by this, and considering how chaotic the end result of evolution is, your question is unanswerable. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Aug 23 '17 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelK Hence why I used "theoretically". Thanks for your comment but I'm quite happy with Aric's answer below. $\endgroup$ – Cthulhu Aug 23 '17 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Cthulhu Adding "theoretically" does not help you here. Because the theory of evolution is such that any factor that changes the "fitness" of a species will affect the outcome for all following generations. And a change in gravity will change what is the best fitness for all species, all the way across time. Also, I must ask you this: why do you want it this way for your story? Is low gravity and the implications of that actually important for the story you want to tell? Why do you need it? If you answer this we can probably give you a much more useful answer. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Aug 23 '17 at 8:48
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I'm going to focus on construction and buildings, assuming that you've got earth-similar atmosphere, flora, and animals somehow.

Support

Low gravity reduces the weight of anything with mass. This means that your support doesn't need to be as strong. You can make buildings a lot bigger using the same materials that we have, or build the same size buildings from weaker materials.

Materials

It's likely that your trees and other plantlife are weaker, since they don't need to support as much weight. This means that wooden structures will be pretty much the same as our wooden structures: Good for one or two floors, but not skyscrapers.

If stone is available in your world, it will be much easier to transport (large blocks could possibly be carried by hand) and any ancient castles will be larger and taller since the weight isn't as intense. Bricks will likely be made a little bigger, since they are lighter. Cement will still be needed.

Metal will be overpowered

Metal like we have today will allow for some amazing structures compared to what we have. Bridges could be really really long and skyscrapers could be much larger.

In general, all of your modern buildings will be significantly bigger, since supporting that extra weight is easy. Stuff like the Eiffel Tower will be childsplay compared to these.

Mobility

Lifts would be able to carry more mass due to the reduced weight. Stairs may be taller too, due to your human species being a little taller. This also means that ceilings will need to be pushed up a little.

Furnishings

All of your generic doors, chairs, tables, windows, and the likes will be pretty much the same. Of course, they might be slimmer since they don't need to support as much weight and bigger due to your taller people.

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  • $\begingroup$ Doors would be larger since movement in a low gravity environment would be more of a bounding gate than walking. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Neely Aug 22 '17 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ One thing to note in moving materials: it might be lighter, but that doesn't make it any less massive, so no single handedly carrying tonnes of material unless you've already planned how you're going to deal with inertia. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Aug 23 '17 at 7:41

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