COULD RAPTURE EXIST? – Bioshock Science Ep. 1


Hey what’s going on guys, I’m Mike & In
Bioshock, Rapture is a utopian city rested nicely at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean.
As a living breathing city, Rapture is a genuinely well intention utopia featuring a skyline
that rivals that of New York City. The man behind Rapture, Andrew Ryan. So what if Rapture
was real? To put it bluntly, Rapture is a technological
nightmare to design, but in this video, we are going to assume that not only does Rapture
already exist, it is designed and built the exact way it is portrayed in the game which
just so happens to be about 433 km west of Iceland at a depth of about 2200 meters under
water. At this depth, the water above you would apply a pressure of 21,570 kPa or 213
times normal atmospheric pressure. Not to mention, the water temperature would be totally
freezing. At this depth there is no chance Rapture could survive, let alone be built.
It is technically impossible with technology from modern times, let alone the 1940s. Although the water pressure on Rapture would
be extreme, if it was located a few hundred miles north-east, water depths could be manageable
at around 760 meters. Manipulation of Archimedes’s Principle at this depth could keep the whole
city afloat. Take the Freedom Tower for example. Assuming it was water tight, Freedom Tower
would actually float. In fact, the water pressure above the tower plus the force of gravity
is only a little more than that of the buoyancy force. Not only would the structure not get
crushed from the water above, it would actually be ⅔ lighter than if it was on the surface.
Though bringing it down to the ocean floor and bolting it down is another problem. I have been somewhat misleading however. Lateral
pressure would be immense, causing it to crush like a hot can is cold water. There are design
considerations that could be made, but at this scale, the effectiveness would be questionable.
Not to mention, erosion would eat away at the metal and concrete, and joints would begin
to leak. Basically, repairs would be a logistical nightmare. For a modern city to function under water,
a few considerations need to be made. Atmospheric conditions need to be maintained, food production
needs to be sustainable and energy production needs to be stable. In the game, Hephaestus
is a power facility that uses the real life, naturally occurring, geothermal vents found
in the region to produce electricity. Geothermal activity can be a problem structurally, but
in terms of heat and energy, it’s the only thing keeping Rapture alive. Geothermal activity
is important to Rapture because at its depths, the water temperature can be sub-zero and
no natural light can penetrate. Geothermal heat could be used to produce steam to run
turbine power plants but it can also be piped to living spaces for space heating. According to the game, Arcadia is the living,
breathing lungs of Rapture filled with lush forests and abundant plant life tasked with
generating the life-sustaining oxygen the city needs. In the game it’s noted that
Arcadia is responsible for all of the oxygen for Rapture, but It’s unclear what the population
of Rapture is. Assuming the population was around three million, that many people would
exhale 2.7 million kilograms of CO2 every day which is equivalent in mass to about 540
fully grown elephants. At those levels, Rapture would needs over 45 million large trees to
absorb it all. Even though there likely wouldn’t be enough plant life to sustain the environment,
there are supplementary means for oxygen production. Looking towards the International Space Station
for inspiration, electrolysis of water is the process of splitting water into its elementary
parts of oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen is used to breath and the hydrogen could be used
in desalination plants to produce fresh water. No utopia could survive forever and Rapture
is no exception. Rapture could never survive, the ocean was always going to reclaim it.
Although the signs of erosion are becoming more pronounced, Rapture was destroyed from
the inside out. Rapture suffered from one fundamental flaw, a flaw that was intrinsic
to it’s nature, Rapture was isolated. What destroys civilization faster than erosion
are people in confined spaces with nowhere to escape. It’s no surprise that human nature
got the best of Rapture, in fact there are numerous studies on the psychology of human
isolation and confinement. Psychological health is a major concern for example on manned missions
to Mars. In fact, there was a 520 day experiment where a handful of people simulated a mission
to Mars and the results mirrored that of Rapture, albeit at a much milder level. For starters,
the crew suffered mild yet higher levels of depressive symptoms and psychological distress.
Also, crew member’s sleep schedules began to sway abnormally, performance swayed with
it. In Rapture this problem is exacerbated by the fact that at 2200 meters below the
surface, no natural light penetrates, fracturing the body’s natural circadian rhythm. It’s
amazing that Rapture thrived as long as it did, but it’s no surprise that when society
finally did collapse the populace became psychopathic, drug addicted, thugs. As Andrew Ryan once said, “We all make choices,
but in the end our choices make us”… Although there are some inconsistencies about
how Rapture was designed and constructed, the world is genuinely a sight to behold.
One avenue that was only lightly explored, is the theory that Rapture’s true location
is in fact not where smugglers claimed it to be. My theory is that the city is actually
located north-east of the given coordinates where the water is shallower which would allow
light to pierce the shallower depths and shine into Rapture’s plentiful glass architecture.
Anyways, that was just a quick look at the world of Rapture. If you want to see another
episode on this awesome world, leave your suggestions down below. Also, I’m going
to be giving away a PC copy of Bioshock. All you need to do is head over to my Twitter
follow and tweet at me with the hashtag #YoMike. I’ll be picking a winner in the next few
days. Anyways guys, thanks for watching.

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