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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
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Space Elevator

09/28/2005 2:33 PM

LiftPort Group Inc. has successfully tested a robot climber capable of climbing a ribbon attached to a weather balloon to an altitude of 1,000 ft. The group hopes to ascend to 1 mile before to long. The robot is just one component of the space elevator through. The other is the ribbon that it will climb, currently a fiberglass composite. The developers hope that there will be a carbon nanotube ribbon in the not to distant future.

In a related story NASA has announced a space elevator contest for engineers. From Space.com: "In the $50,000 2005 Tether Challenge, teams will compete to make the strongest tether of a specified diameter. Tethers will be stretched until they break, and winners will advance in a March Madness-like bracket system. The winner must then beat NASA's "house tether," made of existing material, to snare the cash."

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The Engineer
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#1

I just don't get the space elevator idea

09/28/2005 10:49 AM

It just doesn't seem practical. It seems really expensive and fragile. Can't we do better than this? It sounds like an idea from an elementary school.

Of course, I've been wrong plenty enough in the past to actually be looking for an answer here if anyone out there feels like explaining it to me.

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The Feature Creep

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#2
In reply to #1

Re:I just don't get the space elevator idea

09/29/2005 11:07 AM

If you have a strong enough tether it works just fine. As for cost, it is REALLY cost effective, you can have a station at the top that distributes items sent up the elevator. It removes the huge cost of launching rockets and the infrastructure costs that go with it.

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Guru
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#3
In reply to #2

Truth catches up with fiction

10/10/2005 7:45 AM

I'll have to look up the reference, but this was the premise for an award winning SF story nearly 10 years ago.

The story revolved around the effects of a strike and concurrent revolution on the people stuck in the lift

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The Feature Creep

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#4
In reply to #3

Re:Truth catches up with fiction

10/10/2005 8:27 AM

I think that was The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke (1980 Hugo Novel, 1979 Nebula Novel). I think there was also one called "When Gravity Falls." I can't remember who wrote that one.

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