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It’s an engineering challenge, says aeronautics professor Mory Gharib, PhD ’83. The idea of accomplishing heavy tasks with limited manpower is appealing, he adds, because it makes logistical sense.
The challenge was posed to Gharib and his colleagues two years ago by business consultant Maureen Clemmons. In 1997 she had seen a picture in Smithsonian magazine of a 340-ton obelisk being raised in St. Peter’s Square in 1586. This feat had required 74 horses and 900 men using ropes and pulleys. Clemmons came up with the idea that ancient Egyptian builders could have used kites to accomplish the task more easily.
Future SURF students take note. Gharib says the team is “preparing to replace the steel scaffolding with wooden poles and the steel pulleys with wooden pulleys like the ones they may have used on Egyptian ships.” Now that he, Graff, and cohorts have shown that a kite can raise a huge weight, they plan to progess to a 10-ton and then perhaps a 20-ton stone. Eventually they hope to receive permission to raise one of the 40-ton obelisks that still lie in an Egyptian quarry. “We may not even need a kite,” Gharib suggests. “It could be we can get along with just a drag chute.”
Originally posted by imbalanced
That is friggin sweet ! Tonight I am going to make a huge ass kite and use it to operate a generator ! So simple it always is so simple.......