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Old 11-08-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
VulcanRider
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Default Space elevator -- one step closer...

Next Stop, the Moon: Seattle Team Wins Space Elevator Competition
Quote:
LOS ANGELES — A Seattle team has collected a $900,000 prize in a NASA-backed competition to develop the concept of an elevator to space — an idea spurred by science fiction novels.

The team's robotic machine raced up more than 2,950 feet of cable dangling from a helicopter.

Powered by a ground-based laser pointed up at the robot's photo voltaic cells that converted the light into electricity, the LaserMotive machine completed one of its climbs in about three minutes and 48 seconds, good for second-place money.

The contest is intended to encourage development of a theory that originated in the 1960s and was popularized by Arthur C. Clarke's 1979 novel "The Fountains of Paradise."

Space elevators are envisioned as a way to reach space without the risk and expense of rockets.
More at the article...

I'd love to see a way for Joe Tourist to visit a space station. I also think that'll be the least expensive way to develop a true space program, where we can build ships for space that don't have to deal with the atmosphere and the higher gravity.

Wonder how long it'll be before somebody wants to step out partway up the elevator and hang glide / skydive down for 20 or 30 miles?
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:17 AM   #2
ElfBane
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Default Re: Space elevator -- one step closer...

20 miles = 105,000+ ft. You would need to be wearing a space suit because of the low pressure and lack
of oxygen. That might put a damper on the free fall experience.

30 miles = 158,000+ ft. Things are even worse here. You might even be in near space here, which would
mean re-entering the atmosphere. That would put a SERIOUS damper on the free
fall experience.

P.S. Just checked, 30 miles high isn't space yet. List is here...http://www.spacetoday.org/SolSys/Ear...udesChart.html
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Last edited by ElfBane; 11-09-2009 at 06:46 AM. Reason: accuracy
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:02 AM   #3
VulcanRider
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Default Re: Space elevator -- one step closer...

So maybe they start from only 10 miles up. I just picked a couple of round numbers. If they build it, I'd bet $$ that some schmuck will want to jump off of it, and if one jumps from 10, somebody else will want to top it by going from 11, and so on, and so on. Maybe that'll help develop better space suits. Or body bags
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Old 11-09-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
Chewbacca
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Default Re: Space elevator -- one step closer...

V. cool, thanks!

Wealthy thrill-seeking space tourists are vital to that industry's growth. They are also the demographic that will probably populate space first inside very expensive orbital penthouses.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:30 PM   #5
Legolas
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Default Re: Space elevator -- one step closer...

You need a loooot of music to make that kind of elevator happen.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:22 PM   #6
VulcanRider
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Default Re: Space elevator -- one step closer...

It'll be a few decades before they start selling tickets. They haven't even written the music yet that'll be on the oldies station for the ride up...
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