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Space Elevators: Low Cost Ticket to GEO?

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the seven-days-of-muzak-and-seven-more-to-go dept.

Space 429

Crocuta writes "The current issue of Science News features a cover story that discusses the current developments in space elevator technology. NASA has been working on such devices for many years, but private companies such as Highlift Systems are now jumping on the space elevator bandwagon, no doubt seeing the huge potential profit in a low cost per pound delivery system. PhysicsWeb has a somewhat older, but much more technical article on the formation and structure of the carbon nanotubes that form the basis of the proposed tether cables. With a development like this, we could shoot entire boy bands into space and make the world a better place."

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Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411428)

Just how long until some muslim wack-job flies a plane into the space elevator??

Re:GET SOME PRIORITIES! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411451)

You people are slow.

Can I get a double FP?!?!


Re:GET SOME PRIORITIES! (3, Insightful)

Art Popp (29075) | about 12 years ago | (#4411518)

Ah, so we should stiffle useful technological advances, and live in fear of terror until the problem magically goes away?

The universe is a big scary place; we won't have the pleasure fully discovering this if we crawl under our beds and hide.

So when to elevator tickets go on sale?


Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411564)


SWEET! I got a bite from someone with a UID < 30k! It'll look great on my troll resume.

Re:GET SOME PRIORITIES! (2, Informative)

Lord Apathy (584315) | about 12 years ago | (#4411626)

Well to be truthful, if it matters, it won't really matter. If the thing is made of "nano tubes" some fucker flies a plane into it all we will do is hose it off and go right back to business.

Riiiiight... (5, Funny)

keep_it_simple_stupi (562690) | about 12 years ago | (#4411432)

We have enough trouble getting stuck on elevators between floors in 5 story buildings. Could you imagine getting stuck half-way to the moon? They better be sure to put one of those bright red emergency phones on this bad boy.

Re:Riiiiight... (5, Funny)

unicron (20286) | about 12 years ago | (#4411488)

Maybe they've got one of those big ass staircases, like when a roller coaster breaks down.

Re:Riiiiight... (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 12 years ago | (#4411588)

Screw that, install a slide.

Re:Riiiiight... (4, Funny)

jmv (93421) | about 12 years ago | (#4411660)

Yes, and by the time you're on the ground your ass is at 2000 degrees (choose your unit)...

Re:Riiiiight... (1, Troll)

Myco (473173) | about 12 years ago | (#4411742)

Dumbass, it wouldn't be "degrees" if it were Kelvin. ;)

Re:Riiiiight... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 12 years ago | (#4411553)

Depends on who you get stuck with. Rather then being found with the bosses new secretary in a complicated position you get found with a broken man with three kids.

Re:Riiiiight... (3, Informative)

unicron (20286) | about 12 years ago | (#4411576)

Tits are nice, but I'm all about an oxygen supply.

Re:Riiiiight... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411577)

But would it still have to beep at every floor, or doesn't the ADA apply to space?

Erlang (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411599)

If the system software were written in Erlang, that won't be a problem.

Of course, those kitten-fucking pigs'll use Java, dooming millions to an icy grave in the sky...

Re:Erlang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411676)

...dooming millions to an icy grave in the sky...

I've already started the screenplay for "Space 'vators." Sigourney Weaver can play the tough chick battling the evil alien and the unresponsive elevator. "Come on, God damn it!!!"

"In space, no one can hear you scream between floors."

Re:Riiiiight... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411620)

And what happens when the cable snaps?
Will it cut the Earth in half??

On the other hand... (2)

Scratch-O-Matic (245992) | about 12 years ago | (#4411682)

you and the secretary could get it on, and it wouldn't have to be a quicky.

I have a better idea: #@ +1; Innovative @# (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411715)

"With a development like this, we could shoot entire boy bands into space and make the world a better place."

With a development like this, we could shoot The Chump-In-Charge [] into space and make the world a better place."

Egenia Loli is a fat PIs stop her NOW STOP HER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411433)


Ok. I am really getting tired of Slashdot reposting the crap rag OSNEWS on here. Please, PLEASE stop "editors". I don't know which of you has a fetish for Eugenia Loli, but this is supposed to be a Nerds site, not a technically impaired idiot site. Please, I implore you, please, STOP RE-POSTING OSNews *Crap* here. Here stuff is devoid of technical cross examinations, rife with conjecture and poor spelling and grammar, and she does what has long been disallowed here, the censoring of Anonymous Cowards. It is bad enough Slashdot isn't critically edited or reviewed, but in the absence of recourse by a commenting public free from censorship and suppression, OSNews is a totalitarian one way street. Please consider that she is likely to be getting kickback to review and announce things, and with her one way system, she could very well be lying to suit the needs of her underwriters without having recourse.

Eugenia Loli needs to exposed. I will post 3 articles that show how fascist the Greeks can be, and that people like Eugenia perpetrate. Then I will cover My Big Fat GReek Wedding, with Fat being the operative word. Then some random Eugenia quotes. I hate you Eugenia, for being a fascist at OSNEWS. You are a pathetic waif who can not accept dissent, and you dictate to your small and withering community. I hope you get ovarian cancer.

Fat Eugenia Loli's Friends Ban all electronig games by mistake. Its people like Eugenia Loli that show that the formerly great state of Greece has erorded into a festering inbred, stupid hairy totalitarian fucks like herself. Now is the fatty greases sweltering out of her cellulite that makes it seem like Grease would be a more apropro name than Greece.

The Night Defender Fat Eugenia Loli Fat

Sweating and farting nervously on the verge of mental meltdown, ELQ reloads each of her precious OSNews pages, making sure all is well. Fifty Internet Explorer windows are open in Windows XP, it's gridning the hard drive to death. ELQ's cable modem and NIC activity LEDs are nearly solid from the raw frenzy of almost constant browser reloading. Eugenia's eyes twitch rapidly from window to window with Mercurial speed to make sure that any rogue comments do not escape her attention, always hitting her refresh buttons with pinpoint accuracy. No logical order for checking, purely random and impulse driven by raw Mediterranean temper, stopping for the occasional savage bite from a pork loin still affixed to the bone, Eugenia's eyes never leave the monitor.

"N-n-n-n NO! No TIME for Dance Dance Revolution, oh but it's been so long! I cannot allow the BASTARD flooders' comments to be seen. MY DOMAIN IS SACRED!"

Hair is frizzled and days unwashed, asscrack just barely half wiped in a frenzy to return to her monitor, having taken a large shit earlier. No time to flush! Her armpits are over-ridden with pubic hair, her fat flaps reek of B.O. and yeast from days of neglect and hour upon hour of sweating. Relentless sweating.

"Cannot to be keeps up this pace! I may be need to go to hospital for exhaustions" she pants in desperation, wiping the sweat from a matted hair lock with her week-old t-shirt offering.

The hour of judgement approaches! Comment number 45 in thread 374 is clearly of anti-Greek sentiment! It reads "Eugenia continues to post yet another story that's simply ripped off from other websites. How much longer can this continue? It's my opinion that she has poor editorial skills. I think they should be revoked."

"YOU BASTARD FUCK!", Eugenia erupts in raw hatred, simultaneously ripping a 120 decibel-at-1-meter fart into the back of her chair. "Nobody is to be attack my site!" Eugenia blasts away at 10 words per minute in a barely-coherant broken English. She's on a mission. After several hours, the words on the screen are completely shattered and in disarray, they make no sense. Eugenia is impressed with her English progress and submits her lousy retort. Relaxing only for several seconds to savor the rush, she continues her patrol, sleepless into the night.

Yup, a self-employed pissing loser with a family, 600 acres of deeded land, several automobiles and a four-story house. What do you have? 2,000 British pounds to your name, a playstation2, some computers and a husband that picks up the tab for everything? That's what I thought, you fucking olive-picking, highboot fecal smear of a bridge troll.

QUIP: Well, what a waste of a good fortune. Assuming that it were true, of course. Which is something that most of us won't do, given your guttermouth rambling and apparent poor breeding.

Taken from OS News posting by Eugenia 03/04/2000 Your post would be a lot more credible if you omitted like every 25th word to simulate your bad english. Actually I didn't even read it at all, isn't that awesome?


Have you ever taken a step back and looked at your life? Taken a calming deep breath, cleared your head, and
assessed the situation? Looked around at what you have made for yourself, what you've done and how it's affected
you? If you had, it wouldn't be hard to see that things aren't as rosy as most people would be comfortable with;
furthermore, it seems as if you're not comfortable with you or your situation either. It's no large feat to
realize that things in your life are falling apart, and have been for quite a while. In fact, you don't really
seem to have a life now and all that you own or have is going to go away eventually because it's not yours. Yes,
Eugenia, here's the simple, terrible truth: your life is in shambles and it's only getting worse.

Let's take a look at the swill and depravity that you live in.

Your Slashdot journal entry from Saturday, March 02, 2002 encapsulates your attitude toward hygiene (or lack
thereof) in one sordid little pill:

there is only ONE thing I can't stand: The upstairs people. They do things with the water at 6:30 in the
morning, every morning
[I though you had a four story house, you fucking lying fat bitch]

Eugenia, this is known as bathing. The concept may be foreign to your rancid Greek arse but it's a fact of life to millions of Americans everyday. Oops! I forgot you're not an American citizen. Well, we'll touch on that

Here are a few quotes out of your Slashdot journal, taken from Sunday, March 03 through Thursday, March 14, 2002 that do well to exemplify your lack of will-power and discipline.

Today, I started a "real" diet. And yes, this time, the diet IS HERE TO STAY [...] my diet goes well
[...] Diet goes ok, I suppose. I mean, I feel that I do a more balanced diet now, as opposing of losing
weight right here, right now. I hope it continues well [...] I feel a bit weak, but it is not too bad
[...] Argh, I got a terrible headache now [...] I am roasting some pork and oven potatoes

Within just a short eleven-day period we see a rapid downward spiral into fleshly indulgence and lack of self-
control, hastened by physical sickness and ailments resulting from simply eating properly. Your body has attuned
itself so finely to your horrid eating habits that it actually grows ill over these eleven days to the point
that finally, in desperation over a migraine, you cook up a grease-laden meal to satiate your thirst for all
things fat.

Have you no self control? Look at yourself! You have a gut that just won't go away-- you look like an ugly,
stinky, fat little troll even on your wedding day for Christ's sake! Have you no pride or respect for yourself?
Not even just enough to make you stave off those pork and potatoes? Gluttony will destroy your life, Eugenia.
It's already destroyed your body.

Eugenia, it's clear to me (and everyone else) that you're mentally unbalanced and delusional. Please, seek help
immediately. You are in dire need of counseling and/or therapy for a myriad of issues, among which are hygeine,
self-discipline, and proper English grammar. We're behind you all the way, Eugenia, you can do it.

Eugenia: The Fat Fucking Smelly Greek Pig

You fat fucking smelly Greek whore! Do you even wash on the rare occasions when your husband wants to fuck you? I bet your arse smells like a pig farm after eating all of the fucking pork and potatoes you cook-- you do nothing but sit all day, sweating and farting. It must smell like a swamp where criminals dump bodies in the sweltering heat.

Do you even shave? You sound like a lazy fucking wart of a housewife who wouldn't even bother. I bet the place is a mess too: dishes needing done, a layer of dust over everything, and stains and spills here and there. What a fucking pig-- a hairy fucking Greek bitch-pig.

Oh yeah, and your "skills" are laughable. You can't code for shit-- there's more holes in your PHP site than in a Greek brothel. Your English is terrible, which is pathetic for an editor-in-chief of a news site that reports in the language. Your obvious biases and slants make you look even more silly and unprofessional, as well as your multi-paragraph rants and fits of rage you write in your own forums. It's no wonder no one takes you seriously.

In short, ELQ, FUCK YOU. You are a loser, a no-lifer, a wanna-be, and a fecal smear in the world of technology. You are a detriment to the community you claim you serve. I challenge you to refute one thing I have said. You can't; it's all true.

And you know it.

Eugenia, why you're a drain on society.
I am Greek and english is not my native language. We do OSNews for fun (however, OSNews takes most of my time every day), so if you have a problem with my spelling and grammar either a) do not come back (spare us and save your time too) b) send me a proofread version of the article in question. Whining about something I can't radically improve overnight, is not an option.

Ahem, Eugenia. You've been living in English language countries for AT LEAST A DECADE from what I gather. You've spent the last year and a half giggling moronically and getting your bologna tits caught in a wringer after you've been trolled. Here's an idea you smelly twat: Get some advanced ESL text books and read those. Fuck, you've probably spent more time eating the dried phlegm from your nasal cavity than studying English. You are living in an English language nation, and are therefore a burden on society without sufficient language skills. You're not fit to be my house maid, as far as your language skills are concerned. Furthermore, you are a lazy cunt since you've not been motivated to do this relatively simple task as of yet. Please stop polluting the technology/operating system scene with your garbage writing, you seek out the spotlight like a fucking tomahawk missile seeks heat. It's PATHETIC! Get English text books and get a fucking life you stupid little olive-smuggling whore!

In case Eugenia Loli-Queru is reading
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Next week on OSNews she's going to review a commercial floppy disk formatting program. She gives it 95%. DUMB CUNT.

Greeks ban electronic games by mistake
Beware Greeks writing laws
By Adamson Rust: Sunday 01 September 2002, 17:40

ONE OF THE SO-CALLED CRADLES of European civilisation appears to have got its Aristotles all in a twist over computer gaming. And mobile phones, for that matter.
The Greek government appears to have lost its marbles.

The government wanted to prevent its people from wasting their money by using electronic slot machines but the democratically appointed government has banned all computer games everywhere by mistake.

And now the cops are raiding Internet cafes to enforce the said SNAFU.

The law, according to our Greek correspondents, prohibits any kind of game that is played on any kind of electronic equipment.

And it appears to have been drafted so loosely that that includes mobile phones.

Theoretically, the cops could bust into people's homes but so far apparently they have arrested Internet cafe owners and customers who were fighting a few rounds of Q3 CTF.

Next thing, the cops will be creeping up on people using their mobile phones just to make sure they're not playing a quick game rather than using them for their real purpose.

Here are some details of the cock up in Greek.

And there's more details about this at the Greek Net Cafe organisation.

Give us a glass of hemlock, Socrates!

Greek govt bans all computer games
By Thomas C Greene in Washington
Posted: 03/09/2002 at 16:45 GMT

The government of Greece is making heroic efforts to humiliate the nation in front of the entire world, by banning all electronic games. That's right; something as innocent as playing computer chess on your laptop in a hotel lobby is now a crime with penalties of up to three months in stir and a fine of 10,000 euros.

The purpose behind this charming legislation is to crack down on Internet gambling (which already was illegal) -- or, rather, to enable legislators to enact their little public dance of righteous aversion to Internet gambling.

Improved enforcement of existing law is all that was needed, but there's a problem. Unfortunately, the Greek government is "incapable of distinguishing innocuous video games from illegal gambling machines," according to an older article from the English-language Kathimerini newspaper, written while the bill was under consideration.

Now it's official. The legislature has concluded that all electronic games have got to go because the bureaucrats they're maintaining on the public payroll aren't swift enough to figure out the difference between video poker and TuXkart. Perhaps enforcing literacy requirements and sobriety regulations for government workers would have been a more productive approach, but it's too late for that now.

Greek ban on gaming threatens Internet cafes
By John Lettice Posted: 04/07/2002 at 12:49 GMT

A Register reader in Greece emails us claiming that the Greek government has effectively outlawed Internet cafes by "all LAN and Internet games and any kind of game that is supported by electrical, electronic or software means." If anybody so much as has something looking like a game on the screen, he tells us, the cafe manager is liable for arrest.

All of this makes some kind of perverted sense. Computers in Internet cafes are gaming machines, sort of. Or at least they have that potential, and Greece has already shown signs of considering them as such. More recently, Greece banned all amusement and gambling machines, including the likes of Pac Man.

You pay for computers in Internet cafes, you can play games on them, so yes, there you go. And a little further research leads us to believe that Greece's position is maybe not so wildly eccentric as one might initially think. Here in the UK one does have to pay duty on gaming and amusement machines in public places. You can get a little more information about the position by tearing through this section of the 1995 Finance Act, but frankly we do not recommend it.

It would however seem logical to us for Internet cafe machines playing games to be classed somewhere within the amusement machines category, and therefore liable for duty. If they're not, then pubs installing computers instead of amusement machines could be on to a good wrinkle. So, some form of cafe tax? OK, but what, then, are we going to do about all of those people in pubs who'll sometime soon be whipping out their 3G phones in order to play online games?

In Greece, obviously, they'll just arrest the nearest bar manager, while in London's West End we foresee a variation on traffic wardens slapping Internetting Tickets on careless mobile gamers...

'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' Rolls on
Wed Aug 14, 3:23 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) - In a summer of huge movies that last just a few weeks in theaters and are lucky to break even, one little film won't quit.

The celebration has lasted all summer for "My Big Fat Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia Wedding," a micro-budgeted romantic comedy with great word-of-mouth that has steadily climbed from 20th place on the box-office chart to No. 8 last weekend. The film, about a woman who defies the traditions of her loud Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia family by marrying a man who isn't Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia, cost only about $5 million to produce. It has collected nearly $45 million since it's April debut, and the end of the honeymoon is nowhere in sight. "I feel like I connected with absolute strangers across America. That's what I love more than anything," said Nia Vardalos, the star and writer, who adapted the film from her one-woman stage show. "The money is like, 'Yeah, yeah.' ... That works in the Hollywood system," she added. "But this is the greatest feeling in the world: when women are coming up and saying 'I'm you.'" Vardalos, 39, said she had thought the film would cover its cost and maybe turn a small profit. "I thought I could just die happy that I made a Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia-American movie and I actually got to star in it and that's it," she said. While "Men in Black II" and "Minority Report" have earned three times as much as Vardalos' film, they also cost about 20 times more to produce. Once marketing costs are factored in, those movies will likely show a profit only on home video. By comparison, "My Big Fat Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia Wedding," playing in only 723 theaters, continues to add screens and draw packed houses. Brian Fuson, box-office analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, said it could hold a spot in the top 10 for several more weeks. "It was a slow roll-out, a few more theaters each week, building its way up," said Fuson. "It's basically what every small independent film hopes will happen." The project developed after actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, who is Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia-American, saw Vardalos' Los Angeles stage play in 1998. They liked it so much that Hanks purchased the rights through his production company, Playtone Co., and agreed to let Vardalos adapt the story and take the starring role. Other producers had shown interest in the story, but most wanted to change the family's ethnicity to Hispanic or Italian, saying Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenias wouldn't resonate with mainstream audiences, Vardalos said. "They came to me and said, 'We saw your play,' and it's almost like the subtext was: 'And now we're gonna wreck it,'" Vardalos said. "They said, 'Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia, Italian -- it's the same, isn't it?'" The difference may just be the details -- baklava vs. cannoli -- but Vardalos wanted to express pride in her heritage while poking fun at universal idiosyncrasies: prying parents, overprotective brothers, oddball aunts and uncles, and the ritualistic force-feeding found at big family gatherings. Raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Vardalos started her career studying musical theater and worked in the box office of the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. When one of the actors missed a performance one night, she filled in because she knew all the lines. The next day, the group hired her as a performer, and the rest played out like a Hollywood movie: Among the Second City performers was her future husband, Ian Gomez, who appears in the movie as her fiance's best friend. Her own traditional Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia wedding -- full of boisterous relatives, oodles of food and the grudging fusion of cultures -- inspired her stage act. She is considering a sequel set in Greece, perhaps something along the lines of "My Big Fat Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia Honeymoon," and has received numerous other acting offers. Vardalos is reluctant to specify future plans or take a guess at her movie's final box-office take. She doesn't want to jinx anything. "I'm a Fucking.Pig.Greek.Eugenia tragedian, so we're scared of stuff like that," she said.

La la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la laLa la oh la la la yum la la.

Eugenia, is that you? I hate you because of the way you censor. I hate you, and if I had to live in your kingdom in real life I would suicide attack you. Your death would be worthy ends to my means.

This is just another example of spineless crap moderation by Eugenia. I hate her fucking fascist fat fronds of celluite dripping down her bones and puddling up near here wrists which hinge har fat sausage fingers.

Mao Tse Tung, Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Pinochet, Mussolini, Marshall Joseph Tito, Slobodan Milosevic, Idi Amin, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Juan Peron, Ayatollah Khomeini, Ferdinand Marcos, General Suharto, Pol Pot, Fransisco Franco, and certainly the worst of the bunch, EUGENIA FAT PIG LOLI's editing/moderating [read: censoring] ALL AGREE on ONE THING:


So, you busy little plebian proletariat BITCH, get busy, you have some censoring to do! FUN!

Good job you little neo-commies BITCH, EUGENIA FAT. Don't want to hear the other side, shoot the fucker in the head as an ENEMY OF THE STATE [In this case anyone who seeks to improve the sad state of OSNEWS and its fucking lame conjecture.]

A few haikus to commemorate the sucktitude:
Crack Pipe
Crack smoke wafts though air
Dumb shit LOLI QUERU
Try to suck less, please

Crack smoke wafts through air
Humorless LOLI QUERU
Why do you hate me?

The Proletariat
OSnews Commie
LOLI QUERU fears new idea!
Censor him quickly!

Get busy moderating this down, you little minions of the FAT GREASE LORD obedient prefects of the corrupt CUNT, LOLI! You are the vanguards of chunky brown vaginal discharges, and dissent is not allowed!

Re:Egenia Loli is a fat PIs stop her NOW STOP HER (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411528)

Why not simply get yourself a good 10-20 trolls to make fake hotmail accounts, create accounts through something like, and troll her to high hell on a wednesday afternoon when she's taking her (large) lunch break?

And inform -1 slashdotter's too. We would like to watch (if we can't participate).

frist spot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411435)

frost spit

Repeat? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411438)

This is somewhat a least we mentioned the space elevator before and the plans of NASA.

another use for it... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 12 years ago | (#4411442)

what about deep space? if we accelerate the payload up the space elevator wont we also get the slingshot effect of the earth's rotation adding to the energy we are putting into the payload to get it flung toward the outer planets at a much higher starting velocity and while using less fuel?

Re:another use for it... (2, Insightful)

nihilvt (212452) | about 12 years ago | (#4411584)

The "slingshot effect" is only useful for trajectory changes. It allows one to save fuel when changing directions. Due to conservation of energy, when you approach a planet and slingshot away from it, you end up with the same velocity on the way out as the way in. You will accelerate as you approach a planet, but you will decelerate the same amount on the way out.

I've said it before (3, Insightful)

khendron (225184) | about 12 years ago | (#4411450)

And I'll say it again. I *love* the idea of a space elevator. But I do not see how it will reduce the cost of going to space as much as some people claim. The maintenance costs for the tower will be tremendous.

Re:I've said it before (3, Insightful)

mikeee (137160) | about 12 years ago | (#4411497)

Maybe. But it's hard to see how they can be worse than the 'maintainance' costs of rebuilding the whole damn rocket every time you launch one.

Yeah, yeah, the shuttle is reusable, but disposable rockets are actually cheaper than that engineering nightmare, from what I read...

Re:I've said it before (3, Informative)

sketerpot (454020) | about 12 years ago | (#4411507)

The tower shouldn't be too much more expensive to maintain than the NASA Shuttle fleet, in my estimation. The ribbon itsself would be very strong and placed in an area with very mild weather. And it would manage to lift about a ton of cargo to space every day!

That would still be very expensive, but immensely less expensive than using the current methods of reaching orbit for comparable amounts of cargo.

Of course, my estimates are open to dispute, and I could be wrong. But I don't care: the space elevator is cool!

Re:I've said it before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411667)

They are pobably taking into consideration the lower turnaround times for launches, and other things when making this statement. (at least hope so)

It's easy (4, Funny)

theonomist (442009) | about 12 years ago | (#4411707)

Cars will be drawn to the top of the elevator by a team of trained mules, hitched to a rope of a length roughly 1.8 times the circumference of the Earth. We anticipate only minor difficulties obtaining a right-of-way through most nations (with the possible exception of Sweden, because they're lame).

The mules will be fed and cared for by dedicated and highly trained staffpersons. At the end of their useful lifespan, most retired mules will be adopted by loving families everywhere. Unclaimed mules will be shot, as will be unclaimed members of loving families. Irresponsible and gratuitously hostile critics, who clearly do not have the best interests of humanity in mind, will be shot also.

On special occasions and international holidays, children of all races, creeds, colors, and nationalities, clothed in their quaint and colorful native garb, will be invited to throw superballs and apples from the top of the elevator. They will be charged only a nominal fee for this unique privilege. Highly sophisticated surveillance technology will enable all the world to enjoy the festivities!

We are now accepting investments in this historic, one-of-a-kind investment opportunity, not to be missed by the progressive and forward-thinking investors of our great nation. We anticipate incalculable earnings; we also anticipate neglecting to calculate them. Please give us all of your money right now and I promise you'll not regret having been so easily gulled.

ok but (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411455)

what happens when the cable snaps?

Re:ok but (3, Informative)

Nintendork (411169) | about 12 years ago | (#4411491)

This story is a repeat that I've seen at least one other time here on /.. If I recall correctly, the cable is very unlikely to snap, but if a terrorist were to break it, the cable would fall to the ocean and there wouldn't be any devastating impact.

If only I could outlive the R&D (1)

Docrates (148350) | about 12 years ago | (#4411458)

Ever since slashdot first posted news about highliftsystems (I'd provide a link to the news story, but I already have all the karma I need), I've devoured every bit of information I can regarding the space elevator. After reading about 1000 pages regarding the issue, I came to the conclusion that it IS possible. Go to the highliftsystems mentioned in the news post and read the PDFs that are there before you start screaming "cold fusion!". You'll probably reach the same conclusion.

Re:If only I could outlive the R&D (2)

GMontag (42283) | about 12 years ago | (#4411532)

Somewhat agree, but I have been reading about this since Arthur C. Clarke published 2061: Odyssey Three. I will believe it when I see it working, in person.

Re:If only I could outlive the R&D (1)

dodald (195775) | about 12 years ago | (#4411643)

Didn't he say "The space elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" I hope he wasn't talking about the average person, because if so, we are a long way off.

Re:If only I could outlive the R&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411744)

To quote Ghandi (though in an entirely different context): First they ignore you, then
they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Lift Smift (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411460)

What we want, is a low cost solution to make your ass look like this []

Oh great, one more reason for Bush to intervene (-1, Flamebait)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | about 12 years ago | (#4411462)

in foreign affairs.

Space elevators need to be located very near the equator, and if you look at all the countries near the eqautor, they're rife with anti-Americanism. If you think Bush will let haters of American gain the high ground, forget it.

My predictions is we'll see a coup in a convenient third world country on the equator, like Venezuala or India, with the installation of a pro-American government before we biuld a space elevator.

Re:Oh great, one more reason for Bush to intervene (3, Informative)

Docrates (148350) | about 12 years ago | (#4411530)

After a cruise through tropical waters, you arrive at a large, anchored platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

The very first few lines of the article. The anchor would be a modified oiling platform, not a tower in ecuadro, Brasil or Peru (which, BTW, are NOT anti-american). This platforms are located outside any countries jurisdiction.

Re:Oh great, one more reason for Bush to intervene (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411561)

The US already has property closer to the equator than anywhere in India. Whip out your atlas and take a look at Jarvis Island or Baker Island - They are a ways south of Hawaii.

Re:Oh great, one more reason for Bush to intervene (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411574)

The equator DOES NOT pass through India or Venezuala ..

The equator passes through 13 countries: Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Sao Tome & Principe, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Maldives, Indonesia and Kiribati.

Equador and Brazil are both relatively close .. and relatively friendly.

Blew it in Bolivia (2)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | about 12 years ago | (#4411651)

Well - he blew it in Bolivia. I bet he'll try again, though.

Re:Oh great, one more reason for Bush to intervene (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 12 years ago | (#4411717)

like when we needed oil in the 70s, we just annexed saudi arabia. Oh wait, we didn't.
In the 80s when the japanese auto makers were killing us in the markets, we led a coup there. Hmm, we didn't do that either. Kuwait? We put back the same government that was there before saddam attacked. Check your history... when have we EVER installed a pro-american government in order to obtain resources? We have done so for other reasons, mostly to replace totalitarian dictatorships with democracy. But we have never done this to get resources.

Those of us already in orbit... (5, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | about 12 years ago | (#4411463)

Those of us already in orbit can't wait for the space elevator to be complete. Finally, we can get some cable TV.

WTF is it with Slashdot and this shit? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411465)

I see more space elevator articles here than anywhere else. Do otherwise worthless "nerds" get off on 23,000 mile-long cables?

Re:WTF is it with Slashdot and this shit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411661)

Actually, totally hot babes get off on my 23,000 mile-long cable.

Free Electricity (5, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 12 years ago | (#4411466)

With an object that goes through t the ionosphere you would get a constant stream of free electrons surging through the damn thing. Throw a power station at the base and BOOM. Free electricity. The only question I have is if we pull down electrons in the upper atmosphere would there be an impact?

Re:Free Electricity (2, Insightful)

i8a4re (594587) | about 12 years ago | (#4411674)

Well, the free electrons in the ionosphere are a conductive layer that shields us from radiation. So, if you deplete it too much, you'll not only get free electricity, but you could probably get your xray taken just by going outside.

Programming error (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411474)

Imagine asking for the basement, (floor -1), and getting sent to floor 65535 instead :-).

Arthur C Clarke predicts: (5, Interesting)

Big Sean O (317186) | about 12 years ago | (#4411475)

Arthur C. Clarke popularized the Space Elevator and once said "The space elevator will be built about fifty years after everyone stops laughing". _1 .htm

Repost (0)

LucidityZero (602202) | about 12 years ago | (#4411477)

Repost. About a month ago.

One other thing (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | about 12 years ago | (#4411489)

"With a development like this, we could shoot entire boy bands into space and make the world a better place."

Make sure you "forget" to give them space suits, air, food, etc. You would be amazed at how sneak those boy bands can be at making come backs (Mark Wahlberg comes to mind as do the Monkiees)

Here we come... walking down the street....

Re:One other thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411703)

(Mark Wahlberg comes to mind as do the Monkiees)

Interesting, as Mark Wahlberg was the lead actor in "Planet of the Apes" remake.

Re:One other thing (2, Interesting)

susano_otter (123650) | about 12 years ago | (#4411732)

The Monkees weren't a boy band so much as a postmodern satire of the Beatles. You must be capable of holding a grudge for a very long time, if you're still bitter about their "comeback".

Mark Walhberg, meanwhile, never really had anything worth coming back for. The moment he realized this, he changed jobs, finding work as a halfway-decent actor. If all the boy bands made Wahlberg's "comeback", music would be a much better place, and movies wouldn't be any worse than they currently are.

Also, the "let's shoot boy bands into space... without space suits!" comment is older now, but not any more tired, than when it was first made. Remember that you're posting on Slashdot, where we already know you don't like boy bands. Originality is much more important than mindlessly repeating the same inane remarks over and over again. Bandwagoning the editor's own tired "insights" puts me in the mood to space you, ahead of the pop-music chorus line of the week.

At least the boy bands are paid professionals: they can dance and sing better than you or I, they work hard, they maintain wholesome appearances, and they appear to be having a lot of fun. They're getting paid for something they do well, and it's something they enjoy doing well.

I'm not moved by the music that's written for them, and I abhor the whole music industry/marketing system that makes boy bands possible and lucrative, but the bands themselves are no more evil than they would be if they appeared under a system of independent copyright-owning artists.

Imagine a songwriter who believes his work would appeal to a certain demographic--highschool girls, for example. So he amasses some capital, hires a group of clean-cut young men and a choreographer, writes some catchy tunes, teaches them the lyrics, music, and dance steps, and hits the road. They work as a team, and work hard. They get lucky, create some buzz, burn an album, collect some royalties from downloads and webcasts (in addition to the take from their touring), and generally have a good time writing and fronting the music.

That's not so bad, is it? No different from the independent rappers, emo bands, country singers, folk artists, &c. that will spring up in our hypothetical RIAA-free utopia. I think boy bands will always be with us, and I don't think they will ever be the problem.

It'll be just our luck... (5, Funny)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | about 12 years ago | (#4411498)

. ...that when it gets built, the Longshoremen will insist that loading and unloading it is a union job.


heres another low cost ticket to GEO (3, Funny)

night_flyer (453866) | about 12 years ago | (#4411499)

cant get much lower []

We'll never fund it (4, Insightful)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 12 years ago | (#4411502)

As fascinating as it sounds, unfortunately, Congress will never fund such an endeavor -- as far as they concerned, space is a useless void that we now have no reason to explore after the death of the USSR.

The idea might be feasible -- I prefer the idea of a giant cannon/mass driver/gauss gun to shoot us into space myself -- but the idea of a 100,000km tube supporting an elevator is too farfetched to ever get funding, especially with increasingly conservative US administrations that would rather spend money launching rockets not into space, but into third-world cities, as well as European powers that have their own budget problems due to their social welfare systems that prefer to spend money on Earth and not in space.

Re:We'll never fund it (1)

susano_otter (123650) | about 12 years ago | (#4411749)


Oh, wait... that was a troll, wasn't it?


Never mind. It's not like I was taking you seriously anyway.

The Babel effect (5, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | about 12 years ago | (#4411503)

The problem with something this tall is that it will inevitably be destroyed, and we will be scattered throughout the earth and forced to speak different languages.

Some Books to look at.... (3, Interesting)

CSG_SurferDude (96615) | about 12 years ago | (#4411510)

Some Books to look at:

The 1979 Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel, The Fountains of Paradise [] by Arthur C. Clarke.


The Web Between the Worlds [] , by Charles Sheffield, using the same idea, published about the same time Clarke published his book.


Of course, Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy [] .

Risky investment (3, Insightful)

jukal (523582) | about 12 years ago | (#4411522)

Think of the space elevator structure as a 100,000-km-long highway that will require ongoing maintenance and repair," says Smitherman. It will stretch 2.5 times Earth's circumference.

How many gazillion of billions do you think it will cost. If not by any accident, how many terrorists does it take to blow it up? There just is not and cannot be such big amount of capital tied into one physical place. It might be possible to build it - once, if you find someone who is ready to BURN that money. Someone who invested all his money into a in 1999 is worth economics nobel prize compared to this.

Re:Risky investment (4, Insightful)

Casca (4032) | about 12 years ago | (#4411597)

You build it in the middle of the ocean on an old oil platform. You create a military-like death zone around the platform, say going out 50 miles in all directions. It might be hard to protect something like this built in a city, but in the vast expanses of the ocean, not a problem.

Re:Risky investment (2)

Neil Watson (60859) | about 12 years ago | (#4411681)

Are you 100% garanteed to detect and destroy a submarine? Can you destroy any missiles fired at it?

I would love to see the elevator built but he's right. How could it be defended from someone who doesn't care whether he lives or dies as long as the target is destroyed?

Re:Risky investment (2)

Casca (4032) | about 12 years ago | (#4411734)

Hell yes. Active sonar is a wonderful thing. Destroy a missile fired at it? Good luck getting close enough to fire one to begin with.

How could it be defended from someone who doesn't care whether he lives or dies as long as the target is destroyed?

I think we could make it reasonably difficult for even the most determined nut to be able to harm this thing. Hell, just make everyone who gets near it have to go through an MRI first, just to pick out the people with 5lbs of explosives packed where the sun doesn't shine.

If we can build it, we should build it. If you aren't moving forward, then you're moving backwards.

Re:Risky investment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411740)

If not by any accident, how many terrorists does it take to blow it up?

Well, hopefully by then, greedy countries will stock fscking over the poor ones, creating the hatred and terrorists in the first place.

But there isn't much money to be made in that situation, so it ain't gonna happen...

More info (4, Informative)

Truckle (601283) | about 12 years ago | (#4411536)

Here are some more links to info on our very own Slashdot:

Here []
Here.. []
Here.. []
and Here []

I can just hear the laughter (2, Funny)

airrage (514164) | about 12 years ago | (#4411544)

I can just hear the laughter from outer-space:
"GLeebob, come here quick look what those silly humans are trying. Yup, they're trying the ladder-thingy. Remember when we tried the ladder-thingy..Ooooh, that was a dumb-idea. What will they do next, human-pyramid? Come on humans, bang those rocks together..."

Re:I can just hear the laughter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411672)

Ooooooooooh look, Iraq has nukes! This is going to be coooooooool!

This is stupid beyobd measure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411551)

Seriously, isn't this like the 10000th time this has been posted on /. over the years?

Is my item allowed? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411552)

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Really good NASA article (5, Informative)

Tidan (541596) | about 12 years ago | (#4411572)

Here's a nice sized (15MB) report [] done by NASA. They talk about all sorts of problems that need to be worked out to make get this project off the ground t/pdf/472Edwards.pdf

Re:Really good NASA article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411750)

They talk about all sorts of problems that need to be worked out to make get this project off the ground


Why not just use a Honda Civic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411592)

With the stupid racers "ricing" their civics out, I'm sure if you combined a few of them together with some tape we'd be able to launch everything cheaply out of the earth.

Shit, even if we don't succeed, we'll have a few less ricers to wory about!

Wow... I had a dream! (1)

azteca79 (162018) | about 12 years ago | (#4411601)

This is weird, the other night I had a dream that I was in Paris, near the Eiffel tower and I saw a cable going up to the sky, and I remember one slashdot story I had read about a space elevator.

This is real, I really had this dream about 2 days ago.

Re:Wow... I had a dream! (1)

TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) | about 12 years ago | (#4411753)

Wow... I had a dream!

*golf clap*

Elevator + Orion = Fun! (3, Insightful)

peacefinder (469349) | about 12 years ago | (#4411604)

Why stop with one seemingly improbable concept?

Once the elevator is built, use it to haul pieces of an Orion craft to the top and assemble it there. When it's ready, let it go, flinging it out of Earth's magnetic field. Once clear, light it up and go see the solar system.

This way there's no radioactive contamination of the atmosphere, minimal risk while getting the "fuel" in orbit, and it's a handy way to get a crapload of plutonium out of our hair.

Saturn in fifteen years, anyone?

we could.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411608)

we could shot your ass into space and make the world a better place

Repeat Article Proof (5, Informative)

Nintendork (411169) | about 12 years ago | (#4411617)

The last posting [] about this stuff even had a link in it to a 3rd posting going even further back. Is there really so much interest in these projects to justify the frequent reposts? As far as I can tell, there hasn't been any massive progress to make the justification. Michael, may I recommend a book for you [] ?

This Technology will enable (0, Offtopic)

DJ FirBee (611681) | about 12 years ago | (#4411627)

All your base are belong to us!!!

All your base are belong to us!!!

All your base are belong to us!!!


out of curiosity... (2)

Nate Fox (1271) | about 12 years ago | (#4411630)

Discovered in 1991, carbon nanotubes are long molecular tubes of carbon atoms that resemble cylinders of minuscule chicken wire (SN: 12/16/00, p. 398). The bonds between carbon atoms in this configuration are so robust that, weight-for-weight, carbon nanotubes are at least 100 times as strong as steel. They are, in fact, the strongest material known. A carbon-nanotube string half the width of a pencil can support more than 40,000 kilograms, Edwards notes. That's equivalent to the weight of 20 full-size cars.

How much could spiders' silk hold if it were that thick? I've heard that its quite a bit stronger than steel, but is it more than 100?

Re:out of curiosity... (3, Funny)

(trb001) (224998) | about 12 years ago | (#4411728)

How much could spiders' silk hold if it were that thick?

I can't answer that question, but I *can* say you'd need a lot of friggin spiders...

Re:out of curiosity... (2)

Nihilanth (470467) | about 12 years ago | (#4411759)

they're creating spidersilk in the udders of goats now, it's called "biosteel". Hooray for genetic engineering! It's really inefficient to harvest silk from spiders, because they're too territorial. The protein from spider silk gets mass-produced in a milk-producing creature, where it can be harvested in huge quantities. Thing is though, from what i remember, biosteel biodegrades (go figure).

I still want my bulletproof spidersilk trenchcoat, though.

I knew it (5, Interesting)

Docrates (148350) | about 12 years ago | (#4411642)

The minute I saw it on slashdot, just like the last time, I knew people would go into the "this is just impossible" mode without at least giving it a shot.

Ok, I'll bite. READ THIS [] (warning, it's a pdf file), and once you do, say it again. I'm not saying this paper is wrong, but it's enough information to realize that there's no one thing preventing it form happening. Not even money, as it would all cost about the same as the International Space Station. The one thing that doesn't exist as of yet is the nanotube wire, which feasbility is clearly only a matter of time. So if the existance of the Space Elevator depends on the existance of a 90,000 Km long nanotube wire (the fabric industry is used to threads this long, again, read the paper), then there's no doubt that it will become a reality.

The space elevator is doing for me what the apollo program did for my parent's genration: It's giving me an overdose of inspiration.

Re:I knew it (2)

dubiousmike (558126) | about 12 years ago | (#4411752)

I hear you. I got the same feeling from reading Clarke's book when I was 12.

And of course, in the age of instant gratification, I want it now!

What's Really Going On Here (0, Troll)

Baldrson (78598) | about 12 years ago | (#4411650)

If you thought defending infrastructure like The World Trade Center required giving up your rights, what do you think you'll have to give up to defend gargantuan centralized infrastructure like this?

All this talk of a huge centralized project is just a response to the inevitability of NASA being shown to be what it is: A social control device to impede the dispersal of life [] long enough for bureaucratic structures to adapt to the freedom promised by cheap access to space. As pressure builds from the best news since the transistor [] that has recently come out of India combined with the real response to it from the West coming out of Texas [] , we'll see more and more of this kind of talk from the bureaucrats.

We already have a space elevator . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411655)

and it's called my penis. Grab onto it, show me a picture of Cindy Crawford, and you'll be in LEO in the the bat of an eye.

*ding* (5, Funny)

joe_bruin (266648) | about 12 years ago | (#4411668)

top floor: shoes, ladies ligerie, space. please mind the gap.


mcrbids (148650) | about 12 years ago | (#4411670)

Does anybody remember a /. article a while back link to this story [] about how carbon nanotubes cannot handle bursts of common, ordinary light?

Yes, that's right! A standard camera flash will cause carbon nanotubes to explode!

Check out the link, there's a neat video showing this effect at work.

I can just see it now, on the front page of the newspaper... Tourist arrested for carrying terrorist device and it's just a FLASH CAMERA!

Yeah, I'm excited that the technology to do this is just now barely within our reach - but it'll be a while before it's squarely in our grasp.


Krieger (7750) | about 12 years ago | (#4411721)

Mod parent up... I do remember that... I'm curious what the destructive power of a large nanotube cable would be, especially since the small ones created visible explosions (not large, but visible).

It's almost as much fun to ponder as what would happen if the cable snapped and fell ala Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.


Nihilanth (470467) | about 12 years ago | (#4411735)

i can't imagine it would be too dificult to surround the carbon nanotubes with an opaque sheath. i mean, really. I doubt they would build a structure that would explode if you took a picture of it, especially when you consider things like, oh, i dunno, lightning.

Doubt it (2, Interesting)

geek (5680) | about 12 years ago | (#4411683)

I watched someone talk about their plans for doing just this on TV about a month ago. I can't remember what show exactly.

Basically it was a ribbon that started somewhere in the Pacific on some island and went straight up into space attached to an anchor. The ribbon was paper thin but wide and incredibly strong. The reason for it being thin was because of wind resistence which is a major factor especially when its an area with tropical storms. It also had to be a no fly zone since if a plane clipped it, either the ribbon would go or the plane would be cut in half.

It sounded all well and good but the price was hefty and implimenting it sounds near impossible. It would save us a lot of money in the long run considering how much space shuttle launches cost. I just can't see it being reliable. You wouldn't catch me riding on it, thats for sure.

One thing I do know, if they get it to work then it'll be one of the greatest engineering feats ever. I hope they can do it, but I doubt they will.

go spacenoids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411695)

sig Zeon!

And if it fell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411711)

We could have a kewl ribbon around the earth with a nice little bow....

Nah... (5, Funny)

McCart42 (207315) | about 12 years ago | (#4411719)

Sounds like more of a Shelbyville idea...

F#@$%ing stooooooooopid (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411720)

Its apsolutely insulting that this 'news' has been on slashdot about 5 times. Why don't we build one GREAT BIG elastic band and, slingshot people into space?? We can start with the assh0le that thinks the space elevator is a good idea. Slashdot should wise up and post information that has a chance of occurring. Science Fiction never made shit up like this.

First is the Hardest, Sending one to Mars (3, Interesting)

brandido (612020) | about 12 years ago | (#4411725)

One of the things that I find interesting about the whole process of the Space Elevator principle is the idea that after the first one, it is possible to relatively easily spawn of daughter cables, so that if the first one took 2.5 years, subsequent ones would take less than a year. Not only does this provide for additional capacity, it raises the possibility of selling cables! It also makes the first entrant into the Space Elevator arena almost automatically dominant.

Additionally, you can create a daughter cable, and then use the cable to sling the entire daughter cable to the red planet - suddenly, we have a means to get to Geo Earth orbit, a way to sling stuff to Mars (using the cable) and a way to get down to the surface of Mars, and back up! This is probably the most feasible way that I have heard of to explore Mars.

Hmm (5, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 12 years ago | (#4411731)

Couple of points :

There are obviously enormous difficulties with building this cable, with having it survive lightning strikes, deliberate damage ( could a single guided rocket with an armor piercing molten jet warhead destroy this wire in one hit? If that happened, wouldn't the $10,000 missile have caused 50 billion worth of damage or more...everyone knows that a project like this is going to cost 10 times the current estimate), the mechanical wear as the spacecraft slowly claw there way up...

A far simpler and cheaper solution is a massive ground based laser array. (which incidentally is how they are proposing to power this thing...why not skip the cable and build a much bigger laser). The beam would vaporize propellant attached to the bottom of the spacecraft, eliminating perhaps 90% of the danger of rocket travel (the rocket blowing up has always been the biggest risk...if it uses a nonvolatile, inert propellant) and reducing the cost to a tiny fraction of current expenses.

Since the laser system would be a large array, it would not have to be built to nearly the quality standards that a manned spacecraft has to be constructed to since if one of the lasers burns out, blows up, ect the rest of the system picks up the slack.

worried about terrorists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4411737)

Remember this article? ml ?tid=134

I'd be more frightened of the thing blowing up at the crack of dawn... er firecracker of dawn?

Impractical for the near future (2, Informative)

wpmegee (325603) | about 12 years ago | (#4411739)

For example, the base tower would have to be 31 miles high, according to this article [] . Which is 90 times higher than the current tallest structure on earth, the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada is only 1/3 of a mile (about 170 stories) high.

There is also talk about using carbon nanotubes [] to make up the cable. The pricetag, 40 billion dollars (see 2nd link).

Frivolous waste, just for a GEO (1, Troll)

sharkey (16670) | about 12 years ago | (#4411741)

NASA spends $1,000,000 plus to built a space-pen, the Russians use a pencil. Now, they are building a space elevator to get down the street to buy a cheap car that couldn't hit 55 if it was droped out of a plane.

Seriously though.... (1)

mao che minh (611166) | about 12 years ago | (#4411760)

Are there any comprehensive articles floating around the web detailing the potential savings that such systems would deliver when compared to conventional rockets? (google searches are delivering hundreds of articles about the technology and the companies eager to continue their development, but nothing concerning costs) Pardon me for my laziness if I missed an obvious link in the article.

A thought/question I had though: would the best places to build such elevators be at the poles or the equator? I am having a hard time picturing it in my head, but a globe tilted to one side spinning through an airless void - I can't see how the positioning of such a system in one location on the globe would be more favorable to any other. Weather systems, perhaps, which would rule out Antartica (the Winter storms there are so violent that they generate the great Summer waves of California and Alaska - but I guess a site full of geeks already knew that).

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