#1329: Tardisub

I know that submariners are supposed to be made of stern stuff but today’s invention is a low-tech way to help improve their living conditions.

Interior designers aren’t supposed to be made of stern stuff, but they do know about how to make small spaces seem much bigger. One way is by using mirrors.

Today’s invention is to fit mirrors (plastic, impact-safe ones would be fine) to the inside surfaces of some bulkheads and cabinets on board submarines. Although the Captains Nemo wouldn’t necessarily want to view their stubble close-up, the occasional reflective patch would provide much better light distribution and an increased sense of space for people in cramped conditions.

(I imagine a windowless Mars-bound spaceship would benefit similarly).

#1307: Orbitube

Last week I was asked by someone about weightlessness and it sparked a curious train of thought. A body travelling around the Earth will be in orbit if its velocity is given by v^2 = rg. What if this occurred not in space, but at sea level? A velocity of sqrt(6.4E6 *9.81) = 8km per sec (Mach 24) would be hard to achieve due to air resistance.

Today’s invention is therefore a pipeline joining cities which are far apart. This is in the shape of a perfectly circular arc bolted to the ground and made of sections of pipe which are sealed so that the whole pipeline can be evacuated.

Airlocks allow a capsule to be inserted and a series of external railguns accelerates this to huge velocity (and brakes it again at the far end).

During transit, the capsule will experience microgravity (possibly useful for in-transit materials processing). This arrangement would allow a small payload of cargo to get from New York to Melbourne in 35 minutes.

(Suddenly opening the downstream end would provide a way to inject satellites into a higher, conventional orbit).