My Blog

Welcome! What is this blog for/What will be blogged here? Well, frankly, only time will tell that ... ;-) The plan is to have stuff like ... what I plan to do/Interesting things that I want to share. My interests and hobbies ... and what I'm doing/not doing for it. Random thoughts/Opinions. Just about anything I feel like writing! have fun!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Space Elevator.

The Space Elevator 3rd Annual International Conference took place in DC June end.

This sounds pretty ambitious (like landing on the moon would be considered in the 60s). The SE is described as "a ribbon with one end attached to Earth on a floating platform located in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and the other end in space beyond geosynchronous orbit."

The ribbon's material wold need to be very strong! As described in the notes by Blaise Gassend, its strenght would have to be in the range of 150 to 200 GPa. The carbon nanotubes that have been created till date are probably in the 1.5 to 3.5 GPa range ... so there is a long way to go.

The conference site sounds pretty optimistic - "Research has found that a Space Elevator capable of lifting five-ton payloads every day to all Earth orbits, the Moon, Mars, Venus or the asteroids could be operational in 15 years."

Its ironic that the SE, if successful, will increase the hazards it will face - since space junk could collide with the SE and damage it. Since SE will make launching less expensive and less risky, it will lead to more space junk in the long term

Other hazards to the SE will be "twisting motion in the ribbon can cause the ribbon's temperature to vary between 100 and 300 K in a matter of seconds depending on the angle of incidence of the Sun on the ribbon".

It seems that there is a challenge, similar to the X-prize, for the space elevator - the Space Elevator Challenge 2010, whose goal is to have a 250 kg climber climb a 16 km tether.


Post a Comment

<< Home