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Old 02-24-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
xg4bx
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Japan plans snail-paced space elevator for 2050

"Japanese construction company Obayashi wants to build an elevator to space and transport passengers to a station about a tenth the distance to the moon.

The elevator would use super-strong carbon nanotubes in its cables and could be ready as early as 2050, according to Tokyo-based Obayashi.

The cables would stretch some 60,000 miles, about a quarter the distance to the moon, and would be attached to Earth at a spaceport anchored to the ocean floor. The other end would dangle a counterweight in space.
The elevator would zip along at 125 mph, possibly powered by magnetic linear motors, but would take about a week to get to the station. It would carry up to 30 people."


Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-...#ixzz1nLQhRf1l
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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This same idea appears in the Mars Trilogy, by Kim Standley Robinson.

Spoiler:

This elevator is actually built twice, after the first one is sabotaged.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:41 PM   #3
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Cool but I doubt it will ever happen.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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This same idea appears in the Mars Trilogy, by Kim Standley Robinson.
... and in Arthur C. Clarke's Hugo and Nebula Award winning The Fountains of Paradise written some 13 years earlier than Red Mars.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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Uh....why?
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:32 PM   #6
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Uh....why?
Space elevators could potentially deliver people and cargo into space at a small fraction of the current cost.

Last edited by Dylrob; 02-26-2012 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:22 AM   #7
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Can't wait to see the cable, and how they run it from orbit to Earth (I'd take the day off to go see that!).
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:17 PM   #8
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This has been talked about for many years, and the details have been worked out. The hold up is the cable, and perhaps funding. If it ever was to actually be built it would save so much money in the long run. There are many risks though. Here are several links for those who are interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

http://www.zadar.net/space-elevator/

http://www.liftport.com/

http://www.spaceelevator.com/

http://www.spaceward.org/
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Old 06-17-2012, 02:09 AM   #9
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How will they work out issues such as the weight ? The mass will have a weight (at least for the first 100 km of the shaft material) which will tug at the space station it will be connected to. The only way to counter that, is for the station to be circling around the earth but it will have no choice of speed since it must constantly stay at the vertical of wherever the elevator base is anchored to.

Also what material will be strong enough to not snap and break on such an extraordinary distance ?

What happens when there are storms, strong winds ?

What about the countless myriads of debris floating around earth, what happens when they (and they will sooner or later) crash on the elevator shaft material ?

the idea is great but actually making it work seems like a very long shot.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:31 AM   #10
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How will they work out issues such as the weight ? The mass will have a weight (at least for the first 100 km of the shaft material) which will tug at the space station it will be connected to. The only way to counter that, is for the station to be circling around the earth but it will have no choice of speed since it must constantly stay at the vertical of wherever the elevator base is anchored to.
You have to balance the whole system such that the Center of Mass is at Geo-stationary orbit. The balancing mass is out FARTHER than geo-synch, and it balances the mass of the cable down to Earth. The cable gets lowered from orbit, takes a long time. If you can get enough output from the processes that make carbon nano-tube fibers, that is strong enough to do the job.

The benefit of the elevator is energy and cost, and not putting out some of the nasty chemicals used in lots of rocket fuels. And, if you take a week to get to orbit, then the stress on the passengers is much lower, allowing people in weaker health to make the journey.

And, there are orbital benefits to going further out along the elevator, which gets you orbital escape velocity to go elsewhere without using rocket fuel to get out of Earth orbit.
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