Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Japan wants to build the first Space Elevator

Author Arthur C. Clarke envisioned a very special elevator in his book The Fountains of Paradise. His elevator would stretch from the Earth's surface all the way into Earth geo-synchronous orbit. This elevator would allow you to visit a space station without getting on a rocket or launch payloads of any type without burning any fuel directly. The elevator would need cables 22,000 mile-long just to reach geo-stationary orbit. (in truth the cables would have to be almost twice as long because a counter weight must be attached further out to "hold up" the cables) An they must be manufactured of materials that have unimaginable strength. Estimates are that the material would have to be 4 times stronger than the strongest carbon nano-tubes now available which would mean a substance 180 times stronger than steel.

Now Japan has made the development of space elevator technology a priority as part of the country's long-term space development plans. The Japan Space Elevator Association was created to promote and educate the public on the creation of a space elevator. The JSEA believes that the entire space elevator could eventually be constructed for as little as $10 billion dollars, more or less.

<- Times online article via IO9 ->

No comments: