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Space elevators for laymen

  1. Nov 7, 2007 #1

    DaveC426913

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    I'm looking for good links to stuff on space elevators, particularly for laymen, or even school-age students.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2007 #2

    berkeman

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    What's a space elevator?
     
  4. Nov 7, 2007 #3

    DaveC426913

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    You jest.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
  5. Nov 7, 2007 #4

    stewartcs

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  6. Nov 7, 2007 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Forgive me Berke. I could not bring myself to think you were asking seriously. :redface:
     
  7. Nov 8, 2007 #6

    berkeman

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    No worries. After seeing the wikipedia article, it is something that I'd heard of before, but when I saw you mention the term, I wasn't sure it was the same thing.

     
  8. Nov 8, 2007 #7

    DaveC426913

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    I rue the fact that the name beanstalk has not caught on. It is both very accurate and whimsical.
     
  9. Nov 8, 2007 #8
    There is a nice fictional book about the construction of a space elevator "Fountains of Paradise" by Arthur C Clarke. It's just fiction, Clark basically rejuvenated the concept of a space elevator that was first brought up by a Russian scientist, forgot his name.

    Today there is alot of proposals and designs of various space elevators. The only problem is the material required. It has to be super light and super strong, and not be corrosive. I think we already have that in form of carbon nano-tubes. But we lack the industry, and know-how to efficiently manufacture hundreds of miles of cable.

    There is dozens of clips on Youtube:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Nov 8, 2007 #9

    FredGarvin

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    Dave,
    You do realize that the mere posting of a question will bring every space elevator whack-o on the net in here in no time.
     
  11. Nov 8, 2007 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    :rofl: I never realized that this qualifies as subculture, but it probably does!

    Are you implicity suggesting that the idea itself is cranky, or just that that it has a crank following?
     
  12. Nov 8, 2007 #11

    FredGarvin

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    I am implying that the following has a serious crank factor to it. Personally I think that the space elevator will never happen, even if we have thousands of plants turning out carbon nanotubes by the truckloads. However, like most things I am adamant about, I wait to be proven wrong.
     
  13. Nov 8, 2007 #12

    DaveC426913

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    I knew it had a big following, I'd no idea it was considered by some to be cranky.
     
  14. Nov 9, 2007 #13

    FredGarvin

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    I call it cranky because of all of the people that have come on this board, it seems that 95% of them think that once we get carbon nanotube production going that it will be a simple matter of hooking them together with a tether and some motors.
     
  15. Nov 9, 2007 #14

    Ivan Seeking

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    I tend generally to take the opposite view of things: I expect that it will happen until someone convinces me that it's not possible; and then I may or may not listen. :biggrin: But in this case, I recognize that the engineering challenges are daunting - the harmonics and wind shear forces being the ones the most come to mind for me.
     
  16. Nov 9, 2007 #15

    FredGarvin

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    The structural problems are the ones that I think of as being the biggest hurdles as well.
     
  17. Nov 9, 2007 #16

    russ_watters

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    Is that two questions or one...?
     
  18. Nov 9, 2007 #17

    russ_watters

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    As of today, engineering challenges are a distant second to the challenge of producing carbon nanotubes in such quantities. It's like discussing a bridge from New York to London - sure, there are engineering challenges, but the scale is what makes the very idea of building a bridge from New York to London asinine.
     
  19. Nov 9, 2007 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    That doesn't seem like a fair analogy to me. I see it as being more akin to the transatlantic cable.

    In what way does the scale of this concern you? We know that this is the issue but that can change quickly. It doesn't justify declarations of failure. Besides, Fred was assuming that we have production of nanotubes going.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2007
  20. Nov 9, 2007 #19
    In most industrialized countries, I think this would be close to impossible. Nobody would ever insure the construction and the environmental impact hearings would still be going on when the sun went dead.
     
  21. Nov 9, 2007 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    How is this any worse than the space program; say a mission to Mars?
     
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