Explain why a wheel-shaped design could be used to create a simulated force of gravity for the occupants in a space station.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Having a space station shaped like a giant wheel rotating in space (as in the movie 2001 - A Space Odyssey ) will induce a force that can simulate gravity on Earth. The force of gravity on Earth is 9.8 meters per second squared, or 9.8 m/sec^2. The radius and angular velocity of the wheel will determine how strong or weak that force of gravity is, and is given by the formula

a = W^2r

where a is acceleration in m/sec^2, (acceleration is another word for force) W is the angular velocity in radians per second (a radian is a measure where the radius length equals an arc length of a circle) and r is the radius.  To achieve something like Earth gravity, the acceleration should remain constant at 9.8 m/sec^2, and the angular velocity and radius of the wheel must be proportional and take into account restrictions of human physiology.  Se the link for a calculator and more description: