We see Artificial Gravity all the time. In fact, it's so common in Sci-Fi world that I don't think I need to give examples.

Here, Artificial Gravity means a force similar to gravity, but without enough mass behind the scene. It is either produced by centrifugal force/ acceleration (based on Einstein's Principle of Equivalence) or some magical device without scientific explanation (Here, you can take magical word literally or figuratively; yes, fantasy works are allowed).

Which Sci-Fi work introduced the concept of Artificial Gravity?

Here, I am looking for two things:

  • Gravity word is actually used. e.g. Artificial Gravity, Simulated Gravity (possibly in post-Newton era works).

  • Gravity word isn't used, but it is shown. e.g. He dropped the hammer to the floor of spaceship (possibly in pre-Newton era works when the gravity word wasn't that famous, but the concept existed: Aristotle, Galileo, Kepler)

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    I don't really see how anybody could have even had a concept of Artificial Gravity pre-Newton. He didn't just invent the word, he discovered the phenomenon, tested it, and shared it with the world. May 11, 2017 at 16:10
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    If they don't have to explicitly discuss the concept, does this include really old SF where it's just taken for granted that people would be able to walk around normally in their rocketships/moon-cannonballs? May 11, 2017 at 16:14
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    Is that Artificial Gravity, or just regular gravity working in a place where it shouldn't? May 11, 2017 at 16:17
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    @DisturbedNeo Then, you have no idea how stubborn the greeks were. Newton wasn't the first who saw the downward motion. Also, Aristotle believed that there was no motion without cause. It's another thing that they believed objects go into center of the universe which is their natural place.
    – user931
    May 11, 2017 at 16:18
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    @DisturbedNeo See this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_gravitational_theory
    – user931
    May 11, 2017 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


1930: The exact phrase "artificial gravity".

The OED's earliest citation for the phrase artificial gravity is from Olaf Stapledon's 1930 novel Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future, which is available at Project Gutenberg Australia. From Chapter XII, section 3:

It did not take the Fifth Men many centuries to devise a tolerable means of voyaging in interplanetary space. Immense rockets were constructed, the motive power of which was derived from the annihilation of matter. The vehicle was propelled simply by the terrific pressure of radiation thus produced. "Fuel" for a voyage of many months, or even years, could, of course, easily be carried, since the annihilation of a minute amount of matter produced a vast wealth of energy. Moreover, when once the vessel had emerged from the earth's atmosphere, and had attained full speed, she would, of course, maintain it without the use of power from the rocket apparatus. The task of rendering the "ether ship" properly manageable and decently habitable proved difficult, but not insurmountable. The first vessel to take the ether was a cigar-shaped hull some three thousand feet long, and built of metals whose artificial atoms were incomparably more rigid than anything hitherto known. Batteries of "rocket" apparatus at various points on the hull enabled the ship not only to travel forward, but to reverse, turn in any direction, or side-step. Windows of an artificial transparent element, scarcely less strong than the metal of the hull, enabled the voyagers to look around them. Within there was ample accommodation for a hundred persons and their provisions for three years. Air for the same period was manufactured in transit from protons and electrons stored under pressure comparable to that in the interior of a star. Heat was, of course, provided by the annihilation of matter. Powerful refrigeration would permit the vessel to approach the sun almost to the orbit of Mercury. An "artificial gravity" system, based on the properties of the electro-magnetic field, could be turned on and regulated at will, so as to maintain a more or less normal environment for the human organism.

1895: The idea of using centrifugal force to generate artificial gravity in a space vehicle or habitat.

This is in Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's 1895 work Грёзы о Земле и небе (Dreams of Earth and Sky). From Everett F. Bleiler's review in Science-Fiction: The Early Years:

Essentially a long (100-page) essay on topics in astronautics and related fields, but with two extended fictional sections. [. . .] The second section, which is longer, is concerned with superscientific responses to the special physical conditions of a planetoid in the asteroid belt. The plant-like natives, who are humanoid in form, but have small wing-like appendages, obtain energy from chlorophyll and solar radiation. They are far ahead of us in science and perform amazing feats of planetary engineering, like dismantling asteroids into rings or "necklace" formations so that they can take advantage of very low gravity. For space travel between the larger bodies they have systems of step-speed trains that easily attain escape velocity, permitting even interstellar travel. Their dwellings are like small greenhouses; they obtain power from solar cells; and they create gravity by centrifugal force.

Tsiolkovsky mentioned artificial gravity again in his 1920 novel Вне Земли (Out of the Earth). From Bleiler's review:

A short novel describing the first venture into space. Containing long expositional passages, it is the first important hard interplanetary novel since Jules Verne's lunar voyage. [. . . .]lThe vessel functions perfectly, and the explorers put themselves into a hundred-minute orbit around the earth. The author describes the nature and function of space suits, the problems of weightlessness, and artificial gravity as obtained by rotating the ship. Once out in space for a considerable time, the men assemble a gigantic space greenhouse; it is about sixteen hundred feet long, seven feet wide, glazed, provided with suitable atmosphere, and fertilized with the excrements of the explorers.

  • Wow! Centrifugal Force based gravity predates Einstein's Equivalence Principle. I can't believe it.
    – user931
    May 12, 2017 at 6:48

TvTropes to the rescue!

Listed amongst other examples on Artificial Gravity, under the Literature section, is a book titled Auf zwei Planeten (On Two Planets), written by German Sci-Fi author Kurd Laßwitz, the "Father of German Science Fiction". The book was published in 1897.

The story contains Martians that are capable of creating "Abaric Fields". These fields suspend their space station above the North Pole and let them move their ship around in Earth's gravitational field more easily than it would normally allow. So, rather than what we're used to from Artificial Gravity, where it is generated inside the ship to let people walk around like they would on a planet, it is instead generated outside the ship and used as a means of propulsion.

TvTropes believe this to be the Ur-Example, the first recorded instance of the trope.

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