Within the generation ship Ascension, there appears to be normal Earth-like gravity. Yes, I know about the twist from the end of episode 1x02,

that they are not really in space.

Nonetheless, there must be some explanation from the point of view of the people on board the ship (some of which even seem to be scientifically minded).

My impression was that it's generated through constant acceleration along the direction of flight. This seems to match up with the visuals, in that decks are stacked along the length of the ship, so "down" as seen by the crew points to the aft of the ship in the direction of flight.

This would require a constant acceleration of 1G (or at least something sufficiently close to it), which brings some mathematical problems.

On the other hand, this answer swiftly assumes that the acceleration of the vessel might be a lot lower than 1G:

Of course, we could use a lower rate of acceleration. For making a 100 years journey to Alpha Centauri, the slowest rate you can have would be to continuously accelerate at 0.00175g

This might point to some alternative means of creating the artificial gravity aboard the ship that I did not consider.

Thus, is gravity indeed supposed to be generated by acceleration, or is there some other source?

To the downvoter: Note that I am not asking for an explanation of a fictitious future technology here. The series this refers to is, by its premise, based on today's technology (or rather, even upon that of the 1960s). Given that it is, in a way, a part of the very premise of the series that there are no "obvious plot-holes" in the setting, one can expect that this feature of the ship is supposed to make sense either based upon some existing concept, or hand-waved in-universe towards the protagonists at some point.

  • My understanding was that the people onboard were told they would be under continuous 1g acceleration, and either didn't question it, or didn't have the math to figure out it couldn't be correct. Obviously, they couldn't very well have the passengers experience anything other than 1g.
    – DavidW
    Mar 31, 2019 at 16:52
  • 1
    Obligatory: "It works just fine, thank you."
    – Cadence
    Mar 31, 2019 at 17:05
  • @DavidW: "didn't have the math to figure out it couldn't be correct" - that's what I can't quite believe to be true for the entire population of 600 (?) people, quite some of whom are probably highly skilled in technological (and, by extension, physics-related) matters. "Obviously, they couldn't very well have the passengers experience anything other than 1g." - I had actually wondered about that; even if we assume the constant 1g acceleration to be correct, the turning maneuver at the midpoint of the journey would leave the ship with some moments of zero gravity. Mar 31, 2019 at 19:57
  • Turnover would be one of the times where everyone on board goes to their bunks and is sedated. No problem. Mar 31, 2019 at 23:56
  • 1
    You can turn while under constant forward acceleration. True, you'd have to account for the net perpendicular velocity gain, but that could have been planned for at the start, or you could rotate slightly beyond the nominal course to correct back to it given enough time (which they have). Of course it's easier to just tell everyone they need to be strapped down and sedated. (Though the attentive might wonder how the lake stays in place.)
    – DavidW
    Apr 1, 2019 at 1:39


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.