Scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute envision a permanent “megasatellite settlement” orbiting Ceres, which is a large asteroid and dwarf planet in the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. When completed, it could not only function as a human habitat, but as a base for further exploration of the cosmos. Materials would be sourced directly from Ceres itself from mining operations, while its abundance of nitrogen may eventually lead to the creation of an Earth-like atmosphere. Read more for two videos and additional information.
This rotating asteroid habitat would consist of a number of spinning satellites linked to each other using magnetic tethers that form of megasatellite. By spinning this habitat around Ceres at the rate of 66-seconds per rotation, artificial gravity equal to that of Earth could be generated. Cylindrical mirrors would collect sunlight, light the habitat and also block submeter scale meteoroids.
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When first encountered, weightlessness causes nausea and vomiting for some people. However, in a settlement where people experience occasional weightlessness from childhood, it is plausible to think that they can tolerate it well during short trips. The motivation is to have a settlement with artificial gravity that allows growth beyond Earth’s living area, while also providing easy intra-settlement travel for the inhabitants and reasonably low population density of 500/km2. That’s about the population density of New Jersey,” said the paper.