I want to create a world where giant rooms containing different biomes and environments are linked together through a series of doorways. This place is a sort of prison designed by a higher race to study a middle age type of humans. The "prisons" doorways lead to environments that could be found on earth such as forests, deserts, caves, mountains ect. Ideally, the way that the doors work would be able to explain how all these rooms can exist and be maintained.

Is this concept realistic?

If so, how could these "rooms" be built, and where could they be stored?

I thought about using "magic" to explain the situation, or just not explain at all, but I would like for there to be a reasonable explanation, even if it never gets revealed.

EDITS: I had considered ideas like a pocket universe or using a small wormhole inside each door, but I am unsure how possible those options are

Edit for Clarity: Each room will be a very large structure, possibly hundreds of kilometers in diameter, containing an entire biome. They will have a door leading out of the structure and into a central hub. In this hub will be many other doors, each of which lead to another large biome room. The doors need only be large enough for a human to pass through, and there shouldn't bee too much distance between the doors. This question concerns the feasibility of connecting many very large structures via a single central location, and how it might be accomplished.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't understand the question. What do you mean by confined so they cannot escape? Having one dome link to another dome isn't enough? $\endgroup$ – Thorne Sep 26 '17 at 5:02
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    $\begingroup$ The key piece of information is how big are the doors?1,10,100 or 1000 meters? If they are 1-100 meters it should be not problem at all 1000 and bigger might be interesting but is probably doable with some thought. $\endgroup$ – Slarty Sep 26 '17 at 8:48
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    $\begingroup$ Ok, let me get this straight. You want a bunch of gigantic rooms, big enough for biomes to exist within. You also want doors leading out of each of these large rooms into a single central location which contains lots of other doors. Each of these doors in this central location lead to another large biome-containing room. Is that correct? $\endgroup$ – MozerShmozer Sep 27 '17 at 21:10
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    $\begingroup$ Pocket universes and/or wormholes are plausible in science-fiction. Scientifically they are possible, but the real question is how probable they might be. But that is only a consideration in the real life. You are writing fiction, and according to the philosopher Spinozoa, nothing in fiction is true or false. Go with either concept and you'll be fine. $\endgroup$ – a4android Sep 28 '17 at 4:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Vylix Even if you feel a question is only borderline ("this might be okay, or then again it might not"), don't hesitate to vote to close (or flag for those of you without VTC prviileges). Worst case is the community disagrees, and nothing happens. Best case is probably OP clarifies the question and you can retract the vote or flag. Second best case would be it gets put on hold, clarified and then can be reopened. Compare my answer How to deal with “I have a High Concept, please do my work for me” questions?, if you haven't already. $\endgroup$ – user Sep 28 '17 at 18:26

Well, that really depends on what you call 'realistic'.

I can suggest a series of portals (that may look like doors), that lead from one universe (planet, area, dimension..) to another. You can either disguise the doors on each end (e.g. inside a remote cave) or, alternatively, explain that only an authorized person can use/see them).

If you want a less Sci-Fi approach, you can maybe try a huge space station, or even a man-made structure on Earth, say in the Sahara Dessert. In such case the 'rooms' will simply be huge hangars with climate control systems etc.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm choosing this answer because it is the best way to explain the worlds. The portals can lead to separate spaces, eliminating the need for airlocks, and very large structures that are connected together. I like the idea that only some people who are "authorized" should be able to actually see the portals themselves, while the general population would just see a doorway leading to a big room. Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$ – Ant Sep 27 '17 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Ant, you seem to be assessing answers in terms of how they describe the doors. What kind of doors do you want? What's wrong with an airlock system? Wouldn't "portals", etc., be effectively airlocks? $\endgroup$ – bgvaughan Sep 27 '17 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ @bgvaughan In a way, yes, but the portals also allow for the rooms to exist separately from the doors, fixing any space problems. $\endgroup$ – Ant Sep 28 '17 at 4:40

Ok, so, Biosphere 2 is a thing. It's approximately 3.14 acres in size (~137,000 square feet) and is a complete, functioning, stable, self-sufficient biosphere. So far the maximum number of people that have lived inside of it (and off the environment inside) is only eight and oxygen levels dropped to failure (of the experiment) levels after about 2 years. And the participants were on borderline-starvation diets.

Quoting the Wikipedia entry linked above, its five biome areas were a 1,900 square meter rainforest, an 850 square meter ocean with a coral reef, a 450 square meter mangrove wetlands, a 1,300 square meter savannah grassland, a 1,400 square meter fog desert, a 2,500 square meter agricultural system, a human habitat, and a below-ground infrastructure.

These numbers only add up to 1.96 acres, but I assume that the remaining 1.18 are accounted for in the human habitat and underground infrastructure (that didn't have numbers). However, these numbers give us something to work with.

At 8000 square meters per biome we can construct a volumetric section of "structure" that is 200 meters wide and 400 meters long (this is on the scale of a football stadium). For simplicity, we'll make this a cylindar with a radius of 100 meters, filling one side with dirt and underground infrastructure. Structural support will largely be on this "bottom" side as well.

Stringing 8 of these structures together into a ring we can create a toroidally shaped structure approximately 510 meters in radius. We can spin this at 1.32 rotations per minute and get ~1 G worth of artificial gravity, which due to the size of our structure will be within a nominal comfort zone (i.e. the difference in angular velocity between a human's head and a human's feet won't be terribly noticeable).

I can't find any numbers on how to calculate how strong the materials need to be in our construction, but as a non-engineer and non-physicist this seems at least within the realm of plausibility and good enough for story writing. Still, we're dealing with an amount of material weighing in near the 80,000 tonne (157,000,000 pounds) range and need to support it via tensile strength. And I'm just not sure how to even go about looking up the math needed to continue. If we're not constructing it as a space ship/station we don't even need to bother. It sits on the ground and covers an area the size of a dozen football stadiums. Large certainly, but still smaller than the TV studio portrayed on The Truman Show.

All in all this structure will probably sustain between 30 and 60 people indefinitely, figuring each person will need between 1000 and 2000 square meters worth of functioning biome to sustain the oxygen levels. Food will probably still be on the "starvation" end of the spectrum depending on the distribution of land devoted to agriculture vs. biome diversity and nutrient cycles. Onstensibly one acre feeds a person (~4000 square meters), but we could probably cram that in small with hydroponics, vertical farms, and skipping the "night" half of the day/night cycle. Use pink light to cut down on your power bill.

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    $\begingroup$ To ensure limited cross contamination of the different biomes, each "doorway" would actually need to be an airlock with equipment to cleanse and sterilize people and equipment crossing through. $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Sep 26 '17 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Thucydides Oh, definitely. You'd probably want to keep the doors open most of the time (to allow for ecological balance) but being able to close them and seal off a zone would be a necessity. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s no longer trusts SE Sep 26 '17 at 16:23
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    $\begingroup$ If you keep the doors open then there is no point in having doors at all, all the biomes will be cross contaminated. Keep the airlocks sealed except who it is necessary to enter a biome. $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Sep 26 '17 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ This was a really well thought out answer that I had considered. The only problem is that the rooms might be too small, and like others said, an airlock system would need to be built. Also, the original experiment failed due to air and food shortage. That was with only eight people as well. There would need to be a much more oxygen and food production to support a larger population. Perhaps, highly genetically modified plants could fix both of those problems though. $\endgroup$ – Ant Sep 27 '17 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Thucydides That would be a good way to starve the jungle biome of carbon dioxide: there's more vegetation turning it into oxygen than there is animal life consuming it. There are various other resource cycles as well. Any given single biome isn't going to be 100% self-sufficient, that's why the smallest unit is called a biosphere. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s no longer trusts SE Sep 27 '17 at 15:56

Of course it's possible.

Each area would require environmental controls and possibly a holographic projection system to simulate the environment. See The Truman Show or The Hunger Games

As for location, it can anywhere as the environments are simulated. It would be underground, undersea or on another planet. No magic required.

If you wanted to go a step further, you could even simulate the domes themselves using something like a holodeck or matrix.

You could even do away with the domes and use pocket dimensions. See World of Tiers

What you need to think about is why they are there even if the reader is never told as it will shape the rules behind the place. It could be an alien experiment or rich person reality TV or even some kind of Ark or zoo.

  • $\begingroup$ I had considered a pocket universe, but how would a door be able to reach one? $\endgroup$ – Ant Sep 26 '17 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ The doors are portals $\endgroup$ – Thorne Sep 27 '17 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ Just out in the news dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4925958/… $\endgroup$ – Thorne Sep 28 '17 at 0:41

Air pressure is going to be a problem. Assuming these are all massive enclosed spaces, then any connections between them will be subject to air flow based on the pressure differential. Rooms with higher ceilings, and thus more weight of air, will forcibly blow into smaller rooms when these doors are open. Assuming these rooms are miles across and hundreds, if not thousands of feet high, you can get extreme pressure differentials, aided by differences in humidity and temperature, that would make traversing something like a hallway almost impossible.

So you will need an airlock system so two habitats are not directly connected by an open corridor. The door from one habitat opens into a small room that matches pressure. Then the habitat door closes and the room pressure is changed to match the next habitat, then that door opens. Even if this is just a mechanical system with no automatic pressure change, the doors, before they are unlocked, can open small slits to allow for the small room to equalize with the large habitat. This will allow the door to be opened if the next hab has a higher pressure, or keep the door from being blown open if the next hab has a much lower pressure.


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