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 Going up? The space elevator project
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markie
Skeptic Friend

Canada
356 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  13:49:42  Show Profile Send markie a Private Message

Hard to believe that this could be a doable thing, but apparently it might be:

http://www.elevator2010.org/site/

Imagine a tethering line made perhaps of carbon nanotubes (very strong) with a cross section about half the size of a pencil, going straight up into the heavens to an orbitting station (above geosynchonous orbit). The pull on the line is about twenty tons. Supplies and stuff are cabled into space on this thing. Awesome.

Mark

pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2996 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  13:55:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
First read about this in Arthur C. Clarke's 3001, but the elevator was made out of diamonds.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  14:24:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by pleco

First read about this in Arthur C. Clarke's 3001, but the elevator was made out of diamonds.


Yes. It's his original idea (I think). The impractical bit was/is that such cable would probably collapse under its own weight.

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Tim
SFN Regular

USA
775 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  16:47:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Tim a Private Message
I've been hearing about this for years.
quote:
Posted by SiberiaThe impractical bit was/is that such cable would probably collapse under its own weight.
Carbon nanotube composite is supposed to be strong enough to hold itself together under the opposing forces of gravity and inertia.

Here's an interesting related article;
http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/space_elevator_020327-1.html

"We got an issue in America. Too many good docs are gettin' out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their -- their love with women all across this country." Dubya in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 9/6/2004
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  17:23:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Yes. It's his original idea (I think).


The idea was originally proposed by a Russian scientist in the 1960's. His concept needed a cable with the tensile strength/mass of diamond.

Enter the carbon nano-tube, i.e. Buckminster Fullerine, i.e. Bucky-Ball, etc....

Which actually could exceed the tensile strength of diamond, which is why a composite will (hopefully, and hopefully soon) be produced that meets the strength needed.

A friend of mine, who works in the aerospace industry, says that chemical propulsion will be much cheaper in about the same timeframe as we can expect to see a space elevator (15-50 years is the range) making such a device(elevator) moderately redundant. It is all about cost of mass to orbit, and if chemical propulsion has the same cost per unit as an elevator...

But still, I'm a huge fan of the elevator idea.

These guys think they will be operating a space elevator by 2018. If so, they will probably own near earth orbit for a while.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Siberia
SFN Addict

Brazil
2322 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  17:57:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Siberia's Homepage  Send Siberia an AOL message  Send Siberia a Yahoo! Message Send Siberia a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

quote:
Yes. It's his original idea (I think).


The idea was originally proposed by a Russian scientist in the 1960's. His concept needed a cable with the tensile strength/mass of diamond.


Ooh thanks for that. I stand corrected

"Why are you afraid of something you're not even sure exists?"
- The Kovenant, Via Negativa

"People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs."
-- unknown
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  18:33:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
This is what intrigues me about markie.

He's more than willing to grant the possibility of things which are currently thought impossible (such as Mills' violation of the law of conservation of energy), but things which are scientifically plausible, such as the space elevator or the creation of artificial life, he deems "hard to believe" or downright impossible.

Is magic necessary for you to not be bored with life, markie? It's an honest question - I'm trying to understand you.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  22:39:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Geostationary orbit ~36000 kilometers. That's one hell of a long cable. About three quarters around the globe.

It appears (twice) in the roleplaying game 2300AD (written in ~1985)
Also in a Star Trek Voyager episode.

In both those cases the cargo-container was eleveted by it's own propulsion, not hauled by wire from the top like an ordinary elevator. Consider the time it would take to lift a cargo container this distance.
At 50km/h (30miles/h) it will take a month.
Some more numbers:
At 50km/h the power needed to keep the speed during the beginnig of the voyage is 13,6kW for every 100kg.
If the cargo-container is 10 tonnes (including propulsion etc and radiation shielding and facilities for human transport) that's 1,36MW, excluding the cargo.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/12/2005 :  23:03:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
It will go faster than 50kph... especially when you pass the first 100 miles.

And here is link to the actual 1960 article where a space elevator was first envisioned:
quote:
http://liftport.com/files/Artsutanov_Pravda_SE.pdf


filthy, if you read it, it is in PDF... just click the big + on the acrobat toolbar (should be just about center on the toolbar) and pump up the font size... it is damn small print otherwise.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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markie
Skeptic Friend

Canada
356 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2005 :  07:43:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send markie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

This is what intrigues me about markie.

He's more than willing to grant the possibility of things which are currently thought impossible (such as Mills' violation of the law of conservation of energy), but things which are scientifically plausible, such as the space elevator or the creation of artificial life, he deems "hard to believe" or downright impossible.

Hmmm well first off, Mill's model doesn't violate the law of conservation of energy. Regarding artificial life, I don't think that science has concluded that it *is* plausible. Science is just tinkering around in an attempt to conclude that it is. Regarding the space elevator, the first thought of it is shocking, but upon further inspection not too difficult to believe (for me personally), largely because I have faith in the scientific sensibilities of those on the project, people who are way more informed in phyics than myself. I have some questions however, like how the pull on the line can be 20 tons and not have it deteriorate the orbit of the station the line is tethered to.

quote:
Is magic necessary for you to not be bored with life, markie? It's an honest question - I'm trying to understand you.
Well I for one find 'magic' in the mundane. To me mere existence is incredible. So I'm not hard to please that way. Some of the more seemingly outlandish things like the space elevator and hydrinos merely seem outlandish at first blush only because they have not been encountered previously.

Mark
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2005 :  09:05:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
I have some questions however, like how the pull on the line can be 20 tons and not have it deteriorate the orbit of the station the line is tethered to.



The station weighs more, and at a distance past geosync orbit there will be a counterweight.

Centrifugal force will keep it aloft.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2005 :  09:30:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
So, what happens if you fly a 747 into the cable?

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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markie
Skeptic Friend

Canada
356 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2005 :  09:41:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send markie a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

quote:
I have some questions however, like how the pull on the line can be 20 tons and not have it deteriorate the orbit of the station the line is tethered to.

The station weighs more, and at a distance past geosync orbit there will be a counterweight.

Centrifugal force will keep it aloft.
Good, ok I get it now. Essentially the angular momentum of the earth' rotation itself is providing the force of 20 tons on the line. And there's a *lot* of energy tucked away in the angular momentum of the earth, so it's not going to drain away any time soon. (!) Tidal friction from the moon is I suspect *way* more of a drag on the earth's angular momentum than is a mere 20 ton tethering line. But just think in 100 billion years (or some such crazy figure) the earth's rotation would have slowed to the point that it keeps the same face to the sun, rotating only once around in a year. So why not put our angular momentum to use while we still can. (hehe)


Mark

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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 10/13/2005 :  10:14:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message
Thats the only problem with the idea really, what if it breaks... lotta money down the drain.

FYI the carbon fullerenes are the strongest materials in the world, if I remember correctly compressed C60 is 30% stronger than diamond and the only molocule which doesnt break when fired at a gold nucleus. A god molocule if there ever was one. The similar nanaotube fullerenes are becoming much eaiser to produce than they used to be.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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furshur
SFN Regular

USA
1536 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2005 :  06:35:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send furshur a Private Message
quote:
So, what happens if you fly a 747 into the cable?

I was wondering the same type of thing. With all of the space junk orbiting the earth how is the cable going to survive. Interesting idea though.


If I knew then what I know now then I would know more now than I know.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2005 :  17:08:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, what happens if you fly a 747 into the cable?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I was wondering the same type of thing. With all of the space junk orbiting the earth how is the cable going to survive. Interesting idea though.



A concern, to be sure. But if you establish a secure airspace around the cable you should be ok. Any elevator, these days, would require some protection from this. But just flying a plane into the ribbon might not break it. As BPS pointed out, we are talking about a new class of materials with strength beyond anything we have seen before. A thread the size of a human hair, made from carbon nanotubes, could support the weight of a large SUV... even if you decided to swing it around on the end of the thread.

As for avoiding space debris... the ribbon would have to be able to survive some smmount of mass impacting it. But the solution to large objects is a mobile base station, something like an offshore oil rig, and the space station end would have to have some ability to move in concert with the base station. Most of the junk we have put in orbit, that is still there, is known and tracked. Have to in order to run any kind of space program.

And yeah.. it is a really interesting idea.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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