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Friday, August 29, 2003

Space Elevator Article

Space elevator.
Space elevator.
Credit: Pat Rawling
Kevin Reimund, or Zzap from the forums, has sent us his excellent article about space elevators. Although it's not quite finished, you can see that his knowledge of the topic is vast and advanced. You can find it here. Here's a snippet:

The space elevator is a concept, so magnificent, so huge and so daunting that it may seem like an impossible, task from the future. But in reality, the concept of the space elevator has existed since 1895 when a Russian scientist, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, envisioned a tower that stretched all the way into space. The idea was quietly forgotten over the turmoil that arose in the world as militarism and imperialism grew popular in the early 1900’s. However, in 1957, another Russian scientist, Yuri Artsutanov drew up a more feasible plan in which a cable was lowered toward Earth while a counterweight was extended from Earth, keeping the cable’s center of gravity at the geosynchronous point. The task was not forgotten and in 1966, four American scientists did tests and found that the cable would require a strength twice that of any known material, including diamond. In 1975, Jerome Pearson did a lot of work regarding the physics of the tower, determining how much material would be needed. He even accounted for fluctuations, such as lunar gravity and winds. The idea was picked up by the legendary eccentric Sci-Fi writer Arthur C. Clarke and publicized 1978.

- posted by Alex @ 14:47 EST