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"Space elevator entrepreneurs shoot for the stars"

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posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 07:05 PM
The Link

The annals of entrepreneurship are full of world-changing ideas, pipe dreams and visionary projects plagued by missteps and skepticism. Then there's the space elevator, which is all of the above on steroids.

If you don't know what the heck a space elevator is, you're not alone. In a Fortune Small Business/Zogby International survey of U.S. entrepreneurs, 69% were unfamiliar with the term. Here's how I usually explain it: Imagine spinning around while holding a piece of string attached to a tennis ball. The string goes taut; that's centrifugal force. The same holds true for the rotating Earth. Put a counterweight in geosynchronous orbit, drop down a superstrong equivalent of that string and attach it at the equator. Voila! You have an elevator tether, up which you could run a freight car the size of a 747. (The car would be propelled by a laser beam -- that implausible technology is a column all its own.)

Space Elevator on Wiki

Pretty cool stuff.

Because it would reduce the cost of getting people and materials to space by roughly 90%, a space elevator would disrupt the $5 billion satellite-launching industry and kick-start the space tourism business. And that's just the beginning. Lift hundreds of tons of stuff into orbit every day, and suddenly all sorts of science fiction ideas become feasible: powering the entire planet with energy from orbital solar power farms, mining the asteroid belt, building zero-G hotels, sailing the solar winds to the moon or Mars, disposing of our radioactive waste by shooting it into the sun -- you name it.

This really could be the beginning of a new era of space exploration and travel. The implications of making the cost of getting into space so much cheaper and efficient things could really change up there. I personally am not knowledgeable about space and space exploration but this seems like a pretty big thing IMHO. Enjoy.

posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 08:03 PM
I've always been fascinated by this idea since reading sci-fi as a kid. The potential!
Ok, pun intended. Think tho: a huge mass of asteroidal iron interacting with the earth's magnetic field & tethered to the ground @ the other end of what will likely be some form of carbon nanotube technology - there's got to be a way to get huge amounts of electricity out of that. Enough to power the vehicles perhaps. Get on an electric train in a city & an hour later be in orbit... outbound for a 3 month stint mining He3 on a Lunar colony!
It all comes down to having the political will, or the wealth & long term vision, to set up the kind of orbital factories that would be needed to make the tether, because boosting it up their in tiny parts would be cripplingly expensive. Then there's capturing an asteroid of course...

posted on Dec, 8 2009 @ 08:14 PM
Arthur C. Clarke wrote a lot about them in his books. He might even have come up with the idea. Anyway, yeah, once they have a material strong enough (they say about a decade) then they'll start building.

posted on Dec, 9 2009 @ 06:37 PM
reply to post by Animal

First time I seen one of these was in the tv show Dr. Who I think. Pretty neat stuff. Could be a real boon to space exploration.

Regarding capturing a iron asteroid, the asteroid is not necessary to create electricity. They have created electricity (lots of it) by dragging a tether through the upper atmosphere. So, in that sense, the elevator might even be self powered...

1st floor, Mens wear, 2nd floor, ladies wear,,, 3,468th floor, Earth Observation Deck

Sounds cool. Hope I'm alive to see one in real life.

posted on Dec, 12 2009 @ 10:32 PM
But what would be strong enough to support all that weight? Can they even make such a thread (or whatever would be used).

posted on Dec, 12 2009 @ 10:44 PM

very cool. hope it is working in our lifetime !!!

[edit on 12-12-2009 by grantbeed]

[edit on 13-12-2009 by grantbeed]

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