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Space Elevator Conference

JohnFaith writes "High Lift Systems will be sponsoring a conference in Seattle on implementing a carbon tether space elevator: http://www.confcon.com/sp_elev_02/sp_elev_02.html. There's also a story in the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/13 4489679_spaceelevator08m.html. This type of application has been mentioned in various nanotech books, so it will be interesting to see if the conference will mention molecular machines as a way to build these structures."

9 Responses to “Space Elevator Conference”

  1. rumplestiltskin Says:

    Implementation Agonies

    If I recall correctly, asteroid Mathilde, the first rendezvous for the EROS mission, is an ice asteroid, suitable for fractionating, distilling, electrolyzing, and opening a space gas station with.

    But what I am wondering is: what Carbonaceous/Chondritic asteroids are in favorable orbits for transfer to synchronous orbit around Earth?

    Anyone know?

  2. ABliss Says:

    orbital transfers

    Sending a probe is a little different than moving asteroids.

    If we had an energy source to move such objects wouldn't we be able to build infrastructure and colonies proximate to the asteroids? To transfer large astronomical objects into Earth orbit would require large amounts of energy – yes or no? Why wouldn't we transfer energy and resources from distant sources into pure useful material at those sources? This would be peferable than processing more materials on Earth's surface or in Earth orbit. We could avoid the worst follies from our industrial past from continuing close to Earth and ensure that any uncertainty and negative consequences on the bio-geochemical processes vital for human survival are not threatened.

    Situating the site where production of toxic waste materials away from society eg. on the surface of other useful celestial bodies would be more sensible. Global ecological viability would not be threatened if polluting industrial activity occurs outside of Earth's delicate biosphere, and more generally anywhere near the planet.

    I'd like to see space elevators creating new places to reside in and visit while keeping industrial activity with its uncertainty distant. I want Earth orbit to be a place of serenity where people can look back on Earth and watch its natural beauty florish. Hopefully nanotechnology will be able to create an infrastructure in which people are more wisely able to manage energy. My suspicion is that by about 2024 we will have made the technological development to create space elevators and that shortly after they will be successfully used. Think backwards 22 years (we had no or few cds, microwaves, email, mobile phones, etc) and your feelings about space elevators may be realised.

  3. guybar Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    To transfer large astronomical objects into Earth orbit would require large amounts of energy – yes or no?

    not really, if you use a light sail for a small ateroid.

    light sails are slow, which is not a problem for asteroids, but is a show-stopper for living cargo.

    so yes, bringing asteroids to earth orbit is much cheaper than going there ourselves.

  4. Mr_Farlops Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    There may be one hiccup with this idea.

    What tidal effects will this asteroid have on the Earth's oceans? And what environmental effects will that have?

    I suppose one could solve the differential equations and find that the effects are quite small but some alarmists may not pay attention to that.

    An objection to think about and head off before we do it and someone complains.

  5. The Living Fractal Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    Tidal effects shouldn't really be a concern, but if they are, why not keep the asteroids in a moon orbit? The moon isn't that far away, it's a good place to set up an industrial complex, and if we were to cover the sun-side of it with solar cells it could produce a significant amount of electricity — enough to automate the entire process, methinks.

  6. guybar Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    every asteroid large enough to create tides is actually a moon, not an asteroid, for such a large body you will not be able to use light-sails (or any other known propulsion method).

    my comment specificly targeted SMALL asteroids.

  7. Steve_Moniz Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    The tides are getting lower anyway, as the moon recedes. An increasing mass at the upper anchor point (hauled in from above to balance the mass being raised from Earth) would slow the rate of tidal change – a net benefit!
    However, sweeping a (probably) conductive cable perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field will induce an electrical current. That power must come at the expense of the depletion of the magnetic field and/or Van Allen belt plasmas. This will obviously lead to an increase in harmful rays and the collapse of the Earth into a blackhead.

  8. SkevosMavros Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    The moon has a "sun-side"? I think you mean the "far side" of the moon – the side we don't see from Earth, making it a less ugly place to build a large solar array. Yes?

    The moon has days and nights too…

    :-)

  9. The Living Fractal Says:

    Re:orbital transfers

    Good point, though I think it could pretty beautiful to see from Earth.

    Oh well, you're probably right, the Dark Side of the Moon is the best place.. for huge solor arrays AND for music. heh

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