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simpsons-movie-dome-1Tonight, the Discovery Channel aired an amazing documentary on the Houston Dome project. The country’s fourth most-populated city faces real environmental danger from heat, hurricanes, and several other natural disasters.

So is the solution a giant dome encasing the city?  Some seem to think so.  No, this isn’t The Simpsons Movie revisited, this is a REAL idea.

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The proposed Houston Dome would have massive doors that could be closed to insulate the city from hurricanes and other inclement weather.  A concrete foundation ring 3.1 miles around would then anchor the dome deep into the ground.

The Houston Geodesic Dome would have a surface area of over 21 million square feet, making it the biggest structure with the largest roof on the planet.  More than 369,000 narrow steel struts would form the frame and almost 75,000 of them would have to fail before the dome would become unstable.

Rather than use regular glass, engineers would use a lightweight plastic called ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). The material weighs just 1 percent as much as glass, it will not shatter, it can be fixed easily and it would gently drift back down to earth if it happens to come loose from the dome’s frame.

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At the highest point of the Houston Geodesic Dome, hinged panels could be opened to ventilate the city, clear humidity or pollution and reduce the load on the dome’s air filtration systems.

Large, helium-filled air ships would be used during the construction of the dome to help hold its shape until the structure is complete.  Just one of these fuel-efficient ships is able to stay aloft for hours and carry a 4,100-pound payload.

This thing is just too amazing to imagine, although, Houston is hot enough.  One has to wonder how ridiculously hot it would be under a dome!

If you want to explore the Houston Dome, you can do so here or view the video below to learn more…

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