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Originally posted by Low Orbit
Would you support a Big National Investment into alternative methods to propel Space Craft and Shuttles?
I know the rich will be able to see low orbit space in a few years and if that is true Im guessing the general public is at least 100 years away from it.
How much are we investing in the new Shuttle, I'm guessing 2-3 billion?
Originally posted by Murcielago
ok, the Space Elevator will be 62,000 miles long...not 23,500 miles. The "true" zero gravity point is around 22,300 miles...
Originally posted by Intelearthling
While I like the idea of a Space Elevator, it's my belief that we don't possess the technology to accomplish this engineering feat.
First of all, it would have to be built of a material with a tensile strength we don't have. Nanotubes? While they may be rigid, they may not be strong enough to sustain the forces that will be constantly exerted on the elevator.
Second, the shape of the elevator will be similar to 2 extremely long, tapered needles joined together on their large ends. Now lets consider the diameter. The small ends would have to be large enough to carry tractor-trailer size loads and then the total length of the mega-structure would be an undertaking that would make the Great Wall of China look like a first-grader Tinker Toy project.
Above all, this structure would have to be built in geo-syncronous orbit 'parallel' to the Earth's surface above the Equator, turned 90 degrees upon completion and then lowered to the Earth's surface to be anchored in place.
After this is accomplished, any 'space'-traveler would have to trek to either Africa or South America to ride this elevator to space.
While it sounds good in theory, practical use would be impossible.
I'm still a fan of a 'saucer-shaped' vehicle with super-conducting materials along it's outer edges utilising the planets magnetic feild for lift and propulsion. This was a study conducted by Boing engineers over 20 years ago. I read this in an article discussing the probabilities of building a working 'UFO' type craft.
While the rigidity of nanotubes exceed anything made in nature or anything we've made to date, you've got to remember, the harder and rigid a substance is, the more brittle it becomes and is more likely to fracture.
but concepts have unforseen flaws.
Originally posted by sardion2000
Intelearthling, I mean no disrespect with what I say, I just see that you havn't done your homework on this issue and that irks me somewhat.