The following is based on the paper that has been published on Vol. 45 of “The Science of Ships” in March, 1992, in Japan.
There are numerous serious problems on earth. The environmental degradation, continuous population growth of human beings, and food shortage incurred by the increase in the population, however, seem to be the most urgent issues that we have to address and resolve.
VOL.45 NO.3 1992
It has been only a short while since humanity has come to realize that earth was neither an infinite nor inorganic space. Its resources are limited; earth is sensitive and alive. If the population of mankind continues to grow, then we will soon lose the space for housing and living. And this problem is following our shadows even up to our deathbeds, as securing a patch of land in cemetery is becoming more and more difficult in some countries. Land, which has assumed the central role in our lives for a long time, is running short.
Now I would like to analyze human history in a somewhat different light, namely, so-called physical history.
Matter on this earth consists of three phases: solid, liquid, and gas. And if we ever have to make a metaphor, I think we would agree that our life would fall onto the category of “solid” as we have cultivated and lived on land, which has born great importance to mankind. In fact, until recently, humanity has waged numerous wars to acquire more land, which was considered as an asset of a country and often, a sign of wealth. The world map that we have today is the result of such infinitely many wars occurred among tribes, ethnicities, and states.
If we compare our lives of today to the solid phase of matter, then I think we can extend our metaphor and claim that the future of humanity will correspond to the gas phase of matter. As the knowledge of space science gets advanced and humanity acquires more aeronautical technology, “Space Age” will not remain a dream of fanatics.
As solid first transforms to liquid before changing to gas in most of the cases, however, if we have so-called “Solid Period” and “Gas Period” (i.e. Space Age) in the history of humanity, then I think it is totally imaginable to have something called “Liquid Period,” in which human beings march on to ocean and make it into new residential place.
Ocean, as space, still embraces so much that we do not know and understand. It is my belief that we must make more effort in understanding the large body of water and utilize it more. The idea of Ocean Republic has emerged from such belief of mine.
The centerpiece of the idea, Ocean Republic, is rather simple, though might be a bit ambitious. It will consist of many artificial islands, similar to gigantic sailing yachts, floating on oceans.
The islands can come in many sizes, ranging from several hundred meters to ten kilometers in diameter (here, I have drawn a picture of a larger island). Each island would be supported by several cylindrical floats, which are made of steel. For the sake of simplicity, I am going to call the islands VLSI (Very Large Sailing Island) from now on.
On the surface of the VLSI’s, we would first want to build cylindrical skyscrapers, which play an important role in keeping the VLSI’s in their places (discussed later). Next, we would also erect residential houses, office buildings, business facilities, factories, colleges and universities, power stations, airports, harbors, etc. Basically, VLSI’s would function as a small city-state, where people live a life from birth to death. The idea of Ocean Republic is to float (or make) such floating city-states on oceans, thereby providing additional spaces for us human beings to live.
The VLSI’s would not require any special force to stay where they are. The only forces they need for existence are ocean current, wind, and Coriolis effect. On the Northern Hemisphere, the ocean current of Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean rotate clockwise while on the Southern Hemisphere, it rotates counterclockwise. The VLSI’s supported by these forces and steel floats underneath would revolve on their axes on the ocean current.
Relying only on natural energy and doing nothing on our part, however, poses several challenges. For instance, should VLSI’s be carried away by the ocean current and land on coral reefs by any chance, they would not be able to avoid consequential damage. Moreover, it would be much more difficult to control in the arrivals of typhoons and hurricanes. In order to resolve all these dilemmas, we must add one more element to the whole picture. The VLSI’s must utilize winds as yachts do and control their movements.
To utilize the wind, we can attach a gigantic sail to each of the VLSI’s. However, as you can imagine, it would be difficult to control VLSI’s with such sail. The VLSI’s range from several hundred meters to ten kilometers, and controlling a sail as long as long as any of these lengths is difficult. (Of course, there are sails that are controlled by computers nowadays, but these are for small vessels.)
Another way of utilizing wind is to use the cylindrical skyscrapers, which I introduced above as a part of the objects on the VLSI’s. How to use the skyscrapers as sail and how to change the wind force into thrust – these would be the main issues in utilizing the skyscrapers.
Sail is often used to change the force of wind into thrust. However, it would be difficult to make skyscrapers into the forms of sail and at the same time to control them. We therefore are going to utilize a physical phenomenon called Magnus effect. We often hear Magnus effect in everyday life in the talks about the curved motion of spinning balls. When spherical object (does not need to be spherical always) is rotated in a fluid, a force perpendicular to the line of motion is created. We are exactly going to utilize this force.
However, just because we made the skyscrapers into a cylindrical form does not mean that we can easily rotate the entire building. Thus, instead of spinning the entire building, I came up with two alternatives. One, we can rotate only the outer wall of the skyscrapers by building the outer wall and inner structures separately. Second, we can make many outlets of air on the outer surface of the building. By pushing air out from the outlets and making the air current flow, we can create a similar situation where as though the cylindrical skyscrapers themselves are revolving.
In reality, however, we would also use computers in navigating the path of the VLSI’s, so that they would not land on coral reefs or rocks and avoid hurricanes. In any case, Magnus effect that we create using the skyscrapers would serve as an essential complement to the computerized movement of the VLSI’s.
Method of constructing VLSI
How to construct such VLSI’s, I think, is a huge question to everyone. In theory what I proposed might work, but does humanity, at this point, possess all the knowledge and technology necessary to realize Ocean Republic? For example, the amount of resources required to build an artificial island of 10km in length 5km in width is nearly 10,000 times of producing a tanker. With the current world’s production level of steel, the question of whether or not we are able to procure that amount of steel is remains highly dubious.
Ocean Republic, however, is a dream. I have, so far, developed and advanced my idea on the belief that we might be able to and we will be able to. And I will continue to discuss the plan based on the same belief on the following pages. At this point, humanity needs to come up with and advance at least the following technologies in order to construct the bases (the surface) of Ocean Republic. (Figure: Cross section of a VLSI)
- A technology by which we can rapidly produce a mass of structure bodies made of calcium. It would act as reinforcement structure in building VLSI’s. I am thinking that a clue can be found in the application of biotechnology. The environment where the calcium frame bodies produced would require a lot of catalysts and calcium ions.
- The method which I covering the lump of the big iceberg with an insulation material and freezer.
- The use (a structure body with the pumice) of the volcano engineering
- Development of the foaming steel(the iron and steel materials with air bubble.
- Development of the foamcrete (the concrete that the air bubble entered.)
We can apply those method..
Functions and usage of VLSI
Then I want to mention about the usage (purpose ) of VLSI.
- Residential place (1,000 to 10,000,000 residents per VLSI)
- Agricultural fields
- Fishery and aquaculture grounds
- Bases of marine and mineral resource development/mineral extracting sites (methane clathrate, uranium, manganese, etc.)
- Hydrogen manufacturing facility
- Manufacturing factories of all kinds
- Power station (Will generate energy both for the island itself and for continents. The energy shipped to the continents can be stored in some chemical form.)
- CO2 compression processing institution, a reuse processing institution
- .Recycle facilities of industrial waste or human waste
- The purification of the sea, cleaning ( supplying oxygen in the seawater and activates the sea water) facilities
- A ship staging base, the space airport ( space ship launching base and landing space when it located in the place of equator) .
- Research center or institute center of worldwide or a university or corporation or organization.
- A huge recreation and resort space.
- A common burial ground (marine cemetery)
The VLSI should not belong any country or nation.It will belong “Ocean Republic”.Some country should not own this Ocean Republic and VLSI. But they should be goverend by some supranationality like the United Nations. In addition, it may be really the age with no nations nor borders when the “Ocean Republic” will come true.
It seems to be similar concept like big island like VLSI.. SF writer Jules Verne seems to have thought about such an artificial island, too. But there seems to have been a huge engine. So it is quite different with thisVLSI without engines.
Even now, it is possible to build a few hundred meters diameter VLSI. But it will be still a dream to build a few kilo meters diameter VLSI. But I think that it is one step of the realization to have such a dream.