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I know the magnetic field would need to be very large, but if an organisation like NASA with huge funding and resources could build a large enough device, could a man float in that magnetic field to simulate zero gravity?

I would love to know how large the device may need to be, though presumably it would be in relation to it's power (are we talking 747's or football fields?).

My idea is that this would be safer than astronauts training under water in their enormous pools (and reduce risk of drowning as per recently in the news), and would help them train for the International Space Station etc. without the stop/start effects on the zero-G airplanes.

We can levitate frogs and other small insects (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqKeiiezqzc) so presumably it would be possible to scale everything up for a man or woman - possibly wearing clothing/apparatus to help achieve the zero gravity effect.

I guess the next question would be are there any health effects should a large enough magnetic device be produced?!

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I have just briefly checked the articles of diamagnetic levitation, and assume that it is possible. I have personally experienced the effect of large magnetic field and it was disturbing. I was working on some equipment when one of my colleagues gave me a permanent magnet. I placed my hand over it and i felt pain and sensation. My colleague warn me that the magnet is very strong ~1 Tesla. Hence large magnetic field can cause pain. It can also cause heart failure/disorder. Hence I would say that without suit (diamagnetic levitation) it would be much safer in water than in magnetic levitation.

About the suit. In magnetic interaction only the same poles repel, hence to repel someone you need to built a suit which is 1. magnetic in nature, 2 it should have no magnetic field inside (health reasons) and 3 all the outer body is of same polarity (I think it is possible to meet these requirements). This require a very special material that is 1. Ferromagnetic in nature and have high retaintivity and 2. flexible in nature.

I think that

  1. it is possible to levitate someone in magnetic field but it would not be easy for him to move a muscle inside that suit.
  2. The elevation of a person will depend on the total weight of suit and his body and it would not be easy to move in vertical plane and not easy to keep everyone in same plane.
  3. It would be quite energy demanding if the simulation room is made from electromagnets.

Overall I would say yes theoretically it may be possible but there are several practical hurdles.

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