The Gravity Well Barometer: A 100 piece of Sci-Fi Minutia
The term Sensors refers to a broad range of devices on a space ship that are used to observe the environment outside the spacecraft. Under the broad umbrella of this concept are scores of devices ranging from a simple alignment of magnets to devices that pull at the fabric of space itself.
The Gravity Well Barometer is a Sensor system that determines the strength and directionality of gravity well. The basic incarnation relies on a mass of fluid, gas or both that is allowed to float free in a confined and monitored space. This mass is referred to as the bubble. When a gravity well is approached the bubble moves. The speed and vector of the bubble's movement is used to calculate the strength and directionality of gravity well. The sophisticated versions can compensate for displacement caused by the ship's mass and acceleration, overlapping gravity wells and detect surrounding minor masses.
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? Responses (4)
What are the advantages in comparison with usual gyroscope?
I am not sure. I imagined this being much more sensitive as well as being able to give you absolute readings on gravitational force and not serving a replacement for gyroscopeThe real sci-trick to this would be to have these exquisitely perfect readings on the bubbles location and morphology. But I suppose in a sci-fi setting you could a really sensitive gyroscope that responds to even minor changes in gravity that would not cause noticeable changes and use the changes in the gryoscope to determine the likely location of different gravity wells as they are encountered.
I can see these, especially large sensitive ones, being used in locations where gravity might be unstable, or where there is bleeding edge research being done on gravity manipulation.
Mining probes don't have to go drilling cores out of every asteroid in a rubble field, they can just zip around looking for the really heavy ones, and those are the ore bearing rocks the miners want.
Scientific probes and ships examining gravitationally interesting objects, like black holes, neutron stars, etc. With a functional barometer they can get as scientifically close as possible, rather than guessing and hoping. Also, they can use one of these to monitor things that can become dangerous very quickly, like a black hole swarm, or the birth of said singularity.