Space Elevator – coming to a planet near you

from CNN – Shades of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel “The Fountains of Paradise”…

A new space race is officially underway, and this one should have the sci-fi geeks salivating.

The project is a “space elevator,” and some experts now believe the concept is well within the bounds of possibility — maybe even within our lifetimes.

While JSEA has set a time frame of the 2030s to get a space elevator under construction — and developments are moving quickly — Hoffman acknowledges it could be a little further away than that.

When this happens, and it will, this will be one of the most disruptive events in the history of the human race. On the order of gaining the ability of language and much greater than the discovery of the Western hemisphere.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. G Pulviczek says:

    …Dick Cheney.  I’m open to suggestions that he be allowed a spacesuit.

  2. Car 31 says:

    This is exciting.

    One other challenge that wasn’t mentioned in the article was the ever increasing amount of space junk that could jeopardize a cable/elevator.

    Yes, I know, I’m a geek.

  3. dwyer says:

    It was always here.

  4. Precinct854 says:

    There is no “there” in space. Space industry and space habitation are less attractive than colonization of Antarctica. Building a space elevator would be like constructing an undersea tunnel to that barren continent from South America with the expectation that coal shipments or some equally low value material will pay for the venture.

    I rank confident prediction of space elevators being possible by 2030 with predictions of fusion power too inexpensive to be metered made in the 1950s. It has been 15 to 30 years away for the last 50 years.

      • Precinct854 says:

        NASA would have larger budget than it does now, but not one penny for men in a can. Space exploration and research are important goals. Men in space are a stunt only useful for increasing national pride.

        And don’t go saying, “Oh but what about velcro and microchips?” The microchip did not come about because of a few orders for a new product from NASA. The integrated circut was first demonstrated in 1956 and was well on its way to being a comercial product before the Apollo orders came in. And the thing that really spured it on was not man in space, but missiles in silos. The direction of causality runs the other way for nearly everything claimed as a spinoff, the technology made the space race possible, not the other way around.

        Manned space exploration as producer of great science is a myth just as it was a load of bull when NASA sold the International Space Station as a place to do biochemical research. You know how much real science has been done in that hundred billion dollar boondoggle? Bupkis.

        But once again I’ll repeat my assertion. NASA does good science and is a valuable agency. Their work on everything from flight physics to the rovers on Mars is first rate. But men in space? As useful as building an undersea city.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          But long term, there is incredible value in sending men up, first to other planets, and then to other solar systems. And just like the first 100 years or so of exploring the new world, there’s no profit in the initial efforts.

          • Precinct854 says:

            By 1592 Spain was the richest and most powerful nation in Europe.  Tenochtitlan had been looted by 1519, not to mention all the other modestly successful conquests and settlements before then. By 1546 the shipments of silver were becoming so large that inflation was becoming a problem. No profit for the first 100 years? Nonsense.  Not profitable in the first 20 years you might have something, but not 100.

            I’m not only right about the short term, but I very much doubt maned exploration and settlement of space will ever be as useful as using the equivalent amount of money for robotic exploration and development of space. If at some point humans become cybernetic hybrids… well then I might be wrong. But as long as we’re dependent on biology there isn’t a spot on earth that wouldn’t be far more friendly and profitable to colonize than space.

            Doing profitable joy rides like the tourist trade in Antarctica? Maybe. And maybe even soon, but just as with the far south it isn’t going to lead to economic activity even without a treaty in the way.

    • bob ewegen says:

      Maybe putting my money into an all-electric home instead of insulation and storm windows wasn’t such a good idea after all. But it did get me elected to Congress;-)

  5. divad says:

    …personal jet packs and flying cars?  I seem to recall Popular Mechanics telling me that we’d have them by now.  I’d rather have those than a space elevator.  

    /not a big fan of elevators

  6. Laughing Boy says:

    For nuclear waste.

  7. Canines says:

    There probably won’t be a 13th floor on the proposed Space Elevator.

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