Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Bullet Train to the Stars

Space Elevator

Riding silently into the sky, soon she was 100km high, higher even than the old pioneering rocket planes, the X15s, used to reach. The sky was already all but black above her, with a twinkling of stars right at the zenith, the point to which the ribbon, gold-bright in the sunlight, pointed like an arrow. Looking up that way she could see no sign of structures further up the ribbon, no sign of the counterweight. Nothing but the shining beads of more spiders clambering up this thread to the sky. She suspected she still had not grasped the scale of the elevator, not remotely.
Firstborn by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter

Japan has made the construction of a space elevator a priority in its long-term space development plans, and even though NASA doesn’t envision a working elevator until 2200, a group called the Japanese Space Elevator Association (JSEA) reports that one could be operational in a few decades and cost as little as $10 billion.

The sticking point, as usual, is the material for the cables. The JSEA thinks that carbon nanotubes are the answer, and speculates that the elevator could be powered using technology similar to that in Japan’s bullet trains. The JSEA team even brought a working model (made of Legos!) to the 2008 Space Elevator Conference in July.

Retired Software Engineer Ted Semon maintains a blog devoted to aggregating information about space elevator design and construction. His events calendar lists upcoming conferences, and he has a large list of reference sites. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in beanstalk technology.

(via io9)

Posted in Space September 29th, 2008 by Chip
Comments Off on Bullet Train to the Stars

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.