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Space Elevator
mental
Brisbane, Queensland
2512 posts
A JAPANESE construction firm claims it could execute an out-of-this-world plan to put tourists in space within 40 years by building a lift that stretches a quarter of the way to the moon.


Obayashi Corp claims it could use carbon nanotube technology, which is more than 20 times stronger than steel, to build a lift shaft 96,000km above the Earth.

The company said it would carry up to 30 passengers at a time and travel at a speed of 200km/h for a week, stopping off at a station at 36,000km.


http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/going-up-japan-builder-eyes-space-elevator-20120223-1toy2.html

http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2012/02/22/obayashi-corp-plans-36000-km-space-elevator/

http://www.news.com.au/technology/firm-floats-plan-for-96000km-lift-into-space/story-e6frfro0-1226278956044
10:47am 23/02/12 Permalink
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10:47am 23/02/12 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
12700 posts
It's technically possible to have a station in geostationary orbit with a cable running up to it - however using 'carbon nanotubes' is not possible at this stage because you cannot create large structures with nanotubes yet.
10:50am 23/02/12 Permalink
m3nt4l
Brisbane, Queensland
2513 posts
I'm more interested in the end goal than the method atm.
10:53am 23/02/12 Permalink
arkter
Gold Coast, Queensland
648 posts
10:59am 23/02/12 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
12701 posts
Space tethers have been well-researched for 20 or more years. I guess ultimately they have limited practical use in a commercial sense.

The best use I've heard of for tethers is to accelerate objects which are in space by spinning one object around another (i.e., like giving a kid a dizzy-wizzy) and then severing the tether at the right time to send the high velocity object out on a designated route.
11:00am 23/02/12 Permalink
thermite
Brisbane, Queensland
9025 posts
The practical use is to get into space.

See those videos showing a shuttle taking off and all the fire and searing heat and evaporating water and burnt grass and all that s***? Well that's really expensive and inconvenient.

11:02am 23/02/12 Permalink
Outlaw
Gold Coast, Queensland
1540 posts
I'd prefer an escalator tbh
11:33am 23/02/12 Permalink
Opec
Brisbane, Queensland
7522 posts
Didn't nasa or someone looked into this and also invested into this a while back? They basically just gave us as it's currently too hard and too expensive with existing tech.
11:34am 23/02/12 Permalink
demon
Brisbane, Queensland
6702 posts
every couple of years there pops up a story of how someone is going to build a carbon nanotube space tether... which tends to make me skeptical when i see yet another one.

having a space tether doesn't magically give you an energy-free elevator to space. if you want to lift mass into space you still have to overcome gravity.
11:39am 23/02/12 Permalink
m3nt4l
Brisbane, Queensland
2514 posts
Yeah, but once it is constructed it should be a less wasteful approach to lifting mass.
11:42am 23/02/12 Permalink
3dee
Brisbane, Queensland
6959 posts
And you still need energy before the geostationary altitude to raise the platform/gondola/elevator. Once you're past the geostationary point, you would theoretically be able to gain speed by way of centrifugal force, am I right?
12:37pm 23/02/12 Permalink
gamer
2293 posts
having a space tether doesn't magically give you an energy-free elevator to space. if you want to lift mass into space you still have to overcome gravity.


sarcasm
F*** your so on the ball!

We should really be using disposable use-once chemical rocket propelled capsules to lift people to multi story buildings...
/sarcasm

A tether would use way less energy and money raising weight into space and be a huge factor safer then a multi-stage chemical rocket system.
01:45pm 23/02/12 Permalink
demon
Brisbane, Queensland
6703 posts
purely theoretical lift systems do use a lot less energy. they don't really lift anything though, except my eyebrows.

õ_õ
02:19pm 23/02/12 Permalink
Captain Lateral
Brisbane, Queensland
4423 posts
what happens if you have a weight that falls down as you go up? then you would only require the energy to move the weight difference, which would be a lot less than a rocket & fuel.
02:34pm 23/02/12 Permalink
m3nt4l
Brisbane, Queensland
2517 posts
How does the weight 'fall down' when it's outside the pull of our gravity?
Shame Arthur C Clarke will never see it happen.
03:19pm 23/02/12 Permalink
Hogfather
Cairns, Queensland
11969 posts
what happens if you have a weight that falls down as you go up? then you would only require the energy to move the weight difference, which would be a lot less than a rocket & fuel.

I don't think you're really getting the whole space elevator thing. Its not like a cubby house where you can have a counterweight.
03:21pm 23/02/12 Permalink
Captain Lateral
Brisbane, Queensland
4424 posts
How does the weight 'fall down' when it's outside the pull of our gravity?
you don't need assistance getting outside the pull of gravity, you need assistance getting to that point in your climb "up". the counterweight wouldn't be efficient to start with, but would be significantly more effective as you reached the top. there are other tricks you can do with leavers to make the "fall" of the counterweight more efficient, like using multiple stages and keeping the counterweights close to the ground.

I don't think you're really getting the whole space elevator thing. Its not like a cubby house where you can have a counterweight.
... thanks hoggy, I was struggling to see the difference.

what would be stopping you putting a pulley at the geostationary point as long as the centripetal forces holding the elevator tether outstretched generated enough force to counteract the combined weight of the elevator + counterweights?

05:12pm 23/02/12 Permalink
Nerfy
Brisbane, Queensland
5413 posts
Oh dear, in the book I'm reading, revolutionaries blew off the anchor of a space elevator, causing the diamond cable to fall and loop around the planet twice, the second time around falling with such force that it made canyons and caused sonic booms to flatten everything in either direction. Now I'm afraid of awesome elevators.

Also lateral, check your sig.
01:27am 24/02/12 Permalink
FaceMan
Brisbane, Queensland
8365 posts
You do know what happened last time they tried something like this...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

01:44am 24/02/12 Permalink
Nerfy
Brisbane, Queensland
5415 posts
I do so, was raised ultra christian. :P

Anyway, you should be focusing on more important supernatural-things, like Ragnarök. That s*** will be bad.
02:15am 24/02/12 Permalink
parabol
Brisbane, Queensland
6756 posts
Oh dear, in the book I'm reading, revolutionaries blew off the anchor of a space elevator, causing the diamond cable to fall and loop around the planet twice, the second time around falling with such force that it made canyons and caused sonic booms to flatten everything in either direction. Now I'm afraid of awesome elevators.

Red Mars was one of my favourite books :)

Got stuck on Blue as he was spending 50+ pages describing lichen and moss, etc.
02:19am 24/02/12 Permalink
euphoria
Gold Coast, Queensland
2024 posts
Just had a look - no Kindle version for Red Mars... for Australian customers. I despise these stupid region based publishing laws! :(
09:01am 24/02/12 Permalink
Nerfy
Brisbane, Queensland
5478 posts
Red Mars was one of my favourite books :)

Got stuck on Blue as he was spending 50+ pages describing lichen and moss, etc.

I'm on the third now, Red was definitely my favourite, whereas the others continue on with the story in a cleaner but less exciting way. More like wrapping things up.

And I think I know where you meant with the lichin :P, though I really enjoy the 'getting life growing on mars' and natural selection concept, so liked reading that. The landscape descriptions are really repetitive and less interesting to me though, my eyes tend to glaze at over those points now. I do hope that people don't get so antsy about the 'pristine naturalness of mars' if we manage to get there to settle it. There's likely some several quatillion planets to explore and get info from, but it may never happen if the human race doesn't get out there and survive first.

One thing that's annoying, as per usual with old sci fi (though not as bad, given that these were written actually pretty recently, in the 90s) is the underestimation of the power of information technology. People on Mars would, I imagine, be able to have a very decent knowledge and connection to Earth, if only through technologies such as street view, google earth, digitial tv shows, social networking, etc. Without having left Australia, just for the sake of the Internet, I don't feel terribly disconnected and unconcerned with the rest of the planet and humanity, it all seems pretty much one big deal, which especially seemingly arises as you get a grasp on the astronomical realities of humanity's predicament. Maybe it's a mindset thing, but I doubt that future generations on a planet only a few lightminutes away would feel all that disconnected from here, and vice versa. Similarly I expect that they'd still be hooked on the same media, still interested in Terran history as much as we might be with say ancient Greeks, and considering it a part of themselves in the same inevitable way. With regular travel possible between, even without being the one taking the travel, it can still feel very connected.
07:05am 06/03/12 Permalink
Raven
Melbourne, Victoria
6570 posts
Have they resolved the problem of C*** still being too heavy for their own weight? Ie, for that length of cable, they need to be able to withstand the pressure of that much cable pushing down on it. Which, last I checked, was still outweighed by a ratio of stupid:1.
09:28am 06/03/12 Permalink
v8mini
Brisbane, Queensland
35 posts
just shoot rockets into space at the moon with tourists strapped to the outside, still works pretty good
09:03am 13/06/12 Permalink
Raven
Melbourne, Victoria
7033 posts
Bahahaha, I just read my last post before this thread was revived 3 months later - it read like:
"Hey, uhh, guys, have you forgotten something?", followed by a brief "oh s***" moment, and put a nail in the coffin of that idea :)

"Hey guys, you realise an equally wide square won't fit in a hole of the same diameter?"
09:23am 13/06/12 Permalink
arkter
Gold Coast, Queensland
822 posts
just shoot rockets into space at the moon with tourists strapped to the outside, still works pretty good

Your idea is bad and you should feel bad :P
12:23pm 13/06/12 Permalink
thermite
Brisbane, Queensland
9746 posts
"Hey guys, you realise an equally wide square won't fit in a hole of the same diameter?"


Yes, it will. That's why manholes are round not square, a square cover would easily fall into the hole.
12:45pm 13/06/12 Permalink
Scooter
Brisbane, Queensland
5908 posts
There are plenty of Square Telecommunication Manholes and d***loads of Rectangular ones.
12:52pm 13/06/12 Permalink
thermite
Brisbane, Queensland
9748 posts
Well then they're s***. Here is a list of reasons a round manhole cover is better:

A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening, whereas a square manhole cover may fall in if it were inserted diagonally in the hole. (A Reuleaux triangle or other curve of constant width would also serve this purpose, but round covers are much easier to manufacture. The existence of a "lip" holding up the lid means that the underlying hole is smaller than the cover, so that other shapes might suffice.)
Round tubes are the strongest and most material-efficient shape against the compression of the earth around them, and so it is natural that the cover of a round tube assume a circular shape.
Similarly, it is easier to dig a circular hole and thus the cover is also circular.
The bearing surfaces of manhole frames and covers are machined to assure flatness and prevent them from becoming dislodged by traffic. Round castings are much easier to machine using a lathe.
Circular covers do not need to be rotated to align them when covering a circular manhole.
A round manhole cover can be more easily moved by being rolled.
A round manhole cover is cheapest to manufacture relative to other shapes because it requires the least amount of metal to cover an opening wide enough for a person to get through.
Most manhole covers are made by a few large companies. A different shape would have to be custom made.
If a manhole cover were to be displaced by a car or anything else, it could easily slip back into position and would not have to have any angles matched up.
If a manhole cover were to be displaced it would not pop or damage the tires of an automobile.
01:02pm 13/06/12 Permalink
Ickus
Perth, Western Australia
259 posts
It's technically possible to have a station in geostationary orbit with a cable running up to it - however using 'carbon nanotubes' is not possible at this stage because you cannot create large structures with nanotubes yet.


Not to mention they are farken expensive... but then again they did give themselves 30-35 years for these limitations to be overcome and then build it.
01:55pm 13/06/12 Permalink
Jerry
Queensland
4178 posts
they could also use it to exhaust greenhouse gases out teh ozone layer! no need to worry about global warming then

inb4 next earthquake


Best not to build on american soil either.. planes could run into it

then there is the space junk to worry about

last edited by Jerry at 16:44:08 13/Jun/12
04:41pm 13/06/12 Permalink
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04:41pm 13/06/12 Permalink
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