Space Elevators

So I have no idea how people come up with ideas like this, which is why I’m posting it. 

A woman I work with has a son who did a project on a new sub-planet that was discovered recently.

 The planet is called Ceres, and it’s in the asteroid belt.  Apparently it’s mass is 1/3rd that of the entire belt iself.  It’s big enough to have a spherical shape (unlike oblong asteroids), and scientists claim that there might be liquid water on the surface. 

 Reading about this planet, I stumbled across an article about how humanity will eventually want to colonize other planets and objects.  Targets in our Solar System include Jupiter’s moons, Mars, the Moon (Luna) and this new planet, Ceres.

 One of the major obstacles to us colonizing space isn’t that we don’t have the technology, because we do.  It’s more a question of cost.  It costs between $3,000 and $15,000 for every kilogram of weight that’s blasted into space by conventional rockets.  So, how do we solve this issue?

 Enter the Space Elevator.  The concept is so wild and strange that it just might work.

I know you’re probably thinking “well, an elevator has to be attached to something, so that can’t possibly work” and you’d be right. 

Imagine holding a string with a baseball on the end.  If you spin around very quickly, the string will be taught.  This is the idea behind the space elevator.   Scientists want to elevate a cable with a counterweight so high that the rotation of the earth keeps the cable tight.  Here’s what it would look like:


You essentially would have a little car riding up and down the cable, which after a certain point wouldn’t need any power because of inertia. The Counterweight could even be a Space Station.

The one problem with this is that there is no substance that is strong enough and light enough to be able to do this. Earth based weather is also an issue.

They are, however working on a substabce that will be strong enough. They’re called Nanotubes and I’ll be damned if I am going to try and explain them.


~ by prometheus0110 on March 14, 2008.

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