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It is often suggested that gravity should be simulated by rotating the entire habitat module of astronauts in microgravity. But wouldn't pole dancing be enough? The individual astronaut swinging around a pole stick, like a daring strip dancer/acrobat holding on to it with her hands while throwing herself around it with her body at 90 degree angle to it. An astronaut could maybe swing like this in a sleeping bag, or while doing some exercise. With minimal design requirements for the spacecraft. Wouldn't this be enough for the bodily fluids to learn about in what ends the head and the bottom are?

We've got an example of a Skylab pole-artistronaut right here: enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I did the maths and at best you could get 0.5g (at your feet level). $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Nov 16, 2016 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Antzi 0.5g is pretty good! The poor astronauts could spend some time with their heads pointing outwards too, if that helps. Maybe off topic here, but a treadmill along the inner walls of a wide spacecraft is a better idea than a central pole with tethers cutting to substantial habitation space. And better than rotating the whole spacecraft or a whole habitation module. Has such a minimal individual centrifuge been seriously proposed? $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Nov 16, 2016 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ There is quite a famous film of the crew running around the inside wall by the way (and impact stresses on the legs might even help reduce bone loss, but I'm speculating). I looked for experiments using the pole but didn't find any; this chapter and other references state the pole was intended for getting around, but most crews tried it for a while before packing it away. (In short - I tried but didn't find any scientific results for a pole.) $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:32
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    $\begingroup$ You realize most of the work of pole dancing is due to overcoming gravity? $\endgroup$ Nov 17, 2016 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ @LorenPechtel I get easily distracted, but I will weigh this in the next time I study this subject more closely. $\endgroup$
    – LocalFluff
    Nov 17, 2016 at 5:08

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Nice try, but no go on your idea. For a bunch of reasons:

  • The gravity field under normal Earth-bound conditions is uniform, head-to-foot. Centrifugal force increases in proportion to radius: zero at the hands on the pole, 0.5G at the feet. The whole distribution-of-fluids thing will not be fooled.
  • Hanging from your hands from a pole puts tension on limbs and axial spine. Gravity puts compression on all those parts.
  • Your balance and orientation sensors are in your inner ears, close to the axis of rotation (the pole). You are asking for major puke-o-genic side effects.
  • If you got an itch, how you gonna scratch it, hanging onto that pole?
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