Hidden Nook

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Friday, April 29, 2005

Commercial Space Elevator

[Media Source*]

(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

"We see the development of carbon nanotubes as critical to the building of the space elevator," said [Michael] Laine. "Opening a commercial production facility enables us to generate revenues in the shorter term by meeting the growing market need for this material. At the same time, it enables us to conduct research and development in this arena for our longer term goal of a commercial space elevator."

News such as this often conjectures images such as this or that but what they really mean is something closer to an "elevator" as this artist basic sketch suggests. This commercial space elevator would be about 62,000 miles high and the company Lift Port aims to have the base of this elevator anchored somewhere offshore in the Pacific ocean near the earth's equator.

Building such a feature would allow for an inexpensive way to transport satellites to space as well as astronauts which would greatly cut down on the cost of putting an object in space. Shuttles (if light enough) could also be deployed from the space elevator saving fuel and expanding the travel distance as scientists could concentrate more on getting to a particular destination (say the moon) rather than on breaking away from earth's orbit.

The challenges with this technology (which is more of a question of "when it will be accomplished" rather than "if") would be how one would secure the cable in the event a Tsunami or hurricane approached the facility (assuming such a base would weather your average storm). Also securing the "elevator" in the event a cable breaks (so that the cargo doesn't kill someone) would also be a necessary precaution to take, something the company will have to factor in (as well as who would insure such a measure in case something goes wrong).

If these challenges can be overcome then projects like these might become more of a familiar site that could transform not only ourselves but also the the world around us. But if the space elevator proposal does not work, we could always be satisfied with space stations orbiting our world instead.

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By Darnell Clayton • 12:59 AM • Email Post • •


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