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Satty

'Space elevator' would take humans into orbit

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the concept was invented by Arthur C. Clarke iirc

and has been featured in many Science Fiction stories

can't remember which one had

a nice graphic explanation of what happens to the land'n'people near the equator if it snaps ;)

(think ^that^ took place on Mars)

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Read that book years ago and still have it somewhere, can't remember the title at the moment.

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"At present we have a tether which is made of carbon nanotube, and has one-third or one-quarter of the strength required to make a space elevator. We expect that we will have strong enough cable in the 2020s or 2030s," Tsuchida said.

He said the most likely method of powering the elevator would be through the carbon nanotube cable.

So, what are the major logistical issues keeping the space elevator from being anything more than a dream at present?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautics and astronautics Professor Jeff Hoffman said that designing the carbon nanotube appeared to be the biggest obstacle.

"We are now on the verge of having material that has the strength to span the 30,000 km ... but we don't have the ability to make long cable out of the carbon nanotubes at the moment." he said. "Although I'm confident that within a reasonable amount of time we will be able to do this."

Tsuchida said that one of the biggest challenges will be acquiring funding to move the projects forward. At present, there is no financial backing for the space elevator project, and all of the Japanese group's 100-plus members maintain other jobs to earn a living.

"Because we don't have a material which has enough strength to construct space elevator yet, it is difficult to change people's mind so they believe that it can be real," he said.

Hoffman feels that international dialogue needs to be encouaraged on the issue. He said a number of legal considerations also would have to be taken into account.

"This is not something one nation or one company can do. There needs to be a worldwide approach," he said.

Other difficulties for space-elevator projects include how to build the base for the elevator, how to design it and where to set up the operation.

Tsuchida said some possible locations for an elevator include the South China Sea, western Australia and the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean. He said all of those locations usually avoided typhoons, which could pose a threat to the safety of an elevator.

"As the base of space elevator will be located on geosynchronous orbit, [the] space elevator ground station should be located near the equator," he said.

Although the Japanese association has set a time frame of the 2030s to get a space elevator under construction -- and developments are moving quickly -- Hoffman acknowledges that it could be a little further away than that.

Sounds about useful as a tunnel from NYC to China.

let's spend BILLIONS on a project that is two, three, maybe FOUR

decades away from being plausible, and if ever completed will be

forever ONE rouge weather pattern, meteor, earthquake or plane

crash away from destruction and loss of human life.

In 2008, things being what they are globally we need this like a

hole in the head.

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People can use their money how they would like, there is no government backing for this as far as I can tell.

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Found it!

The Fountains of Paradise

Arthur C. Clarke

Copyright 1978 and 1979

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This is the quote that introduces the book:

"Politics and religion are obsolete,the time has come for science and spirtuality."

- Sri Jawaharlal Nehru

To the Ceylon Association for the Advancement of Science

Colombo, 13 October 1962

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Although I would never begrudge private individuals to do what they will with their money, having the right to spend it does not mean it is always spent intelligently.

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