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Beyond Earthly Skies

A World Like No Other

16 Mar 2013, 02:42 UTC
A World Like No Other
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

He could smell the earth and the trees around the shallow lake beneath the balcony. It was a cloudy night and very dark, just a hint of glow directly above, where the clouds were lit by the shining Plates of the Orbital's distant daylight side. Waves lapped in the darkness, loud slappings against the hulls of unseen boats. Lights twinkled round the edges of the lake, where low college buildings were set amongst the trees. The party was a presence at his back, something unseen, surging like the sound and smell of thunder from the faculty building; music and laughter and the scents of perfumes and food and exotic, unidentifiable fumes.- Iain M. Banks, the Player of Games (1988)An Orbital is a rotating megastructure consisting of an enormous band of material arranged into a ribbon-like ring measuring millions of kilometres in diameter. The entire megastructure is spun to create day-night cycles and produce artificial gravity on the structure’s inner surface. As the Orbital spins, centrifugal forces hold the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere against the structure’s inner surface to support the desired type of ‘planetary’ environment. In this article, I will describe an archetypical Orbital whose entire inner surface is made ...

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