Grav Plates · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Gravity Plates

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
About Solaris | Guide to Solaris | Prologue

Written by skairunner

Gravity plates are large flat structures that are used to simulate planetoid gravity, particularly on space stations. They are heavy, expensive, and consume large amounts of power, so very few ships have gravity plates. Also, gravity plates are difficult to make in shapes other than wide and flat, imposing a minimum size limit.  

Space Health

Gravity plates are most useful for stations with long-term inhabitants as it makes daily life much easier for those not used to microgravity. They are a luxury feature, and a particularly appreciated one, as they enable simple enjoyments such as showers and sitting at a table to dine. Jovians are used to even higher gravity, and the more influential Senators might even refuse to stay at a station without a gravity plate installed.   Gravity plates are also beneficial for staying healthy in space. Resisting the pull of gravity naturally exercises one's muscles and strengthens bones, so staying fit in microgravity requires extra effort in the form of regular exercise. With gravity plates, space denizens don't need to do any of that.

Two Faces

Gravity plates create a field of gravity on each of its sides that rapidly weakens as you move away from the source. The strength of the gravity field cannot be changed after the plate has been manufactured, nor does it vary depending on the power supplied.   Gravity plates start producing their full design strength as soon as the appropriate amount of power is provided. No gravity is produced before, and extra power is dissipated as heat.  

Through The Gravity Plate

Traveling through a gravity plate is an unpleasant experience. You can feel half of your body being pulled strongly in one direction and the other half in the complete opposite one. It also takes a fair amount of physical effort and coordination to lift one's body through the plate. Those not used to the feeling might become sick after transiting the plate, if they succeed at all.   Stations are usually designed so normal visitors don't need to travel through the plate. Smaller stations might place their maintenance facilities and machinery on the opposite side of the plate as to the public area. Bigger stations use elevators that travel just inside the edge of the gravity field's effect in order to fully utilize each plate.  


In the past, gravity plates were exclusively produced by a single company, Gravimetrics Unlimited, owned by Quo, a Merchant Prince of Saturn . The methods and materials were kept a close secret. After many attempts by rival Princes, one spy was able to steal the secret of gravity plates. It was posted on SWAN, ensuring that the gravity plate monopoly was forever ended, though the precise series of events that led to this happening is not known. Speculation abounds, and at least one dramatization, Prometheus, God of Gravity, portrays it as a last ditch effort to democratize gravity plate technology.   Even with the method of manufacture revealed, Gravimetrics Unlimited did not go bankrupt. Making gravity plates is a precision process, and Gravimetrics had the advantage of a fully established process and secure sources of oortite directly from Pluto. Plus, ship and stationbuilders are often conservative when switching providers. The company's massive profit margin was still severely undercut, though. Today, gravity plate manufacturers exist on Mars, Luna, Jupiter, and Saturn.  

Oortite Gold Rush

The gravity plate documents on SWAN revealed that the key material involved in the process is oortite, a rare form of crystal that is found almost exclusively in the Kuiper Belt and beyond. It is dangerous when unprocessed. Previously to this, oortite was obscure and known mostly by niche scientists.   Catapulted into the spotlight, though, oortite became a mysterious and alluring material that had the potential to make someone filthy rich. An ill-fated gold rush of underprepared, over eager civilians launched expeditions to the Kuiper Belt and met horrible fates.

Related Articles

Crystal Technology
Spacecraft Kallisti Aerospace ( Sunderer SF-1 · Sunbreaker SF-2 ) · Jupiter Stella ( Aerie O-1 · Cyklopes SSF-9 ) · Heretic GA-7 · Dragonfly Carrier · Airdocks
Telepresence Interlace ( Super Wide Access Network ) · Remote Projection ( Remote Personality Cache/Display )
Other Bosonic Clock · Gateway Portals · Gravity Plates · Personal Computer
Materials Astrallite · Aurorite
Notice: This article is a stub. If you'd like to see this article expanded, please leave a comment!


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 31, 2023 13:21 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Reading about this made me think of how we take gravity for granted. XD   RIP to the underprepared people of the oortite gold rush.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 31, 2023 13:42

Yes! It's so wild that our own bodies just start wasting away if we spend too much time without it.   Unlike California, the Kuiper Belt is very very *very* dangerous...

Jan 1, 2024 22:36 by Doug Marshall

Very clever use of MacGuffinite to incentivize exploration of the Oort Cloud despite the danger. The way you two are putting this setting together is very fun to read!!   Side note – I'd *love* to read/watch Prometheus: God of Gravity; it sounds like a gripping story!

ASP | AV | OE | SPH | TMS | CDL | LOR | PR
Jan 2, 2024 11:28

Thank you, i am glad you enjoy! I'm sure Prometheus: God of Gravity would be a page-turner of a spy/thriller, too!

Jan 5, 2024 07:21 by Paul

I like the idea of the space gold rush because the real gold rush in the Klondike is already so interesting. Seeing boom towns pop up but with space stations. The poor conditions in which people lived (and disease outbreaks, imagine all the space contagions) having spent all they had to get there and not being able to afford a trip back. Watching the value of clothes and other essentials skyrocketing as more people show up than supplies. Seeing which stories make it back home like the route there being easy all year when it really isn't or that there really is oortite in every space rock.   This little idea sparks a lot of ideas for me but perhaps I have heard one too many Yukon Nuggets (itself a reference to the Klondike Nugget, the first newspaper of Dawson City (the first one was handwritten and nailed to a telephone pole)).

Join the brave skysailors of Linebound!
Jan 5, 2024 08:44

I'm happy that it is inspiring :D This was true for the real gold rush as well, but I suspect that the only people who made money were the suppliers of equipment.

Jan 24, 2024 22:16 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Love the way this works! Also I really need to have an article about Quo now, between this one and the Saturn keystone article :p

Jan 28, 2024 10:21

The idea behind the mechanics is nnie's conception! I think it's pretty cool too.   I'm sure Quo's article is coming.

Apr 9, 2024 01:03 by Aster Blackwell

The oortite gold rush is FASCINATING. I'd love to hear about some of those terrible fates.