Japan to build Space Elevator

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by madanthonywayne, Sep 22, 2008.

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  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4799369.ece
    Japan is starting a massive project to build the world's first space elevaator
    Read the whole article at the link above
     
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  3. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    I think space elevators will never be feasable. Instead of puring money into that, Japan were much better of trying to solve its energy needs.

    If there is a serious Gulfwar with interrupted supplies, there is going to be a cold winter in Japan...

    Specially liked this one:

    "the cable would need to be about four times stronger than what is currently the strongest carbon nanotube fibre,"
     
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  5. Sciencelovah Registered Senior Member

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    The title of the article inside the original link is a bit misleading, it said to build
    the elevator to the stars. For a moment, I was like... there is no way you
    can anchor an elevator until the stars, because the earth keep rotating and
    revolving.

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    Anyway, the article is said it is to be built until 36,000 km distance, which
    means until the geostationary point. Unfortunately there is no explanation
    about the size of the elevator or its speed.

    I am just wondering.. 36,000 km is about 3 times of earth diameter. Means, to
    go and back would equal to 72,000 km or 6 times rounding the globe.

    The existing fastest elevator is made by Japan and has speed of 750 m/m
    (meters per minute), or about 45 km/hour. So, just for the travel time only
    it will takes 1600 hr, or about 2 months. The elevator will probably have to
    travel slower because it has to transport also some foods and drink for about
    2 months? What about the stuff for recycling the water, poop, etc

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    It sounds
    a bit too science fiction for me. Nevertheless, if it can be made, it should be
    the greatest science achievement of the century.
     
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I know people who are involved in carbon nanotube manufacturing and scale-up issues, and they just laugh at the notion of a space elevator. Just being able to mass produce carbon nanotube materials would be a great benefit to the Japanese economy, that could be the only real goal here.
     
  8. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Why, specifically? Is there some specific reason?
    This might sound like a serious problem, but when you consider that the last 5 years of research have seen a 100x increase in tensile strength, it seems very likely that the materials will soon be strong enough.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2008
  9. kenworth dude...**** it,lets go bowling Registered Senior Member

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    is this from the ladder to heaven episode in south park?
     
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    What is the economic upside of having a spaceelevator? As someone pointed out, it would be VERY slow. What if a hurricane hits the platform???

    It is an interesting concept to toy with, nothing else...

    Also, how do you keep it in place/90 degrees vertical with strong winds 2-3 miles up??? The baloons going around the world are going by 80-120 MPH in their altitude...
     
  11. NGM Registered Member

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    What if an airplane full of pissed off Muslims hits it? Hmmmmmmm? Upon it's completion, it would be their supreme target. Imagine 72,000 km of this cable falling back to earth. How much would gain speeds fast enough to disintegrate and how much would continue to the planet? What would it hit upon landing?

    It's not like tall structures haven't been targeted already. This one would be a magnet for wackos.

    I know! You could build one on each side of it with armed guards every 100 meters. Yeah, uh-huh, that would work.

    What a fantasy.
     
  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Cutting the cost of putting something into orbit over 100 fold would not be a benefit? Here's another, more feasible option being developed in the US. A variation on the magnetic linear accelerator. Instead of using a linear accelerator, it uses a ring so that the speed can be built up gradually. It could only be used to launch pretty hardy payloads as the launch vehicle would be subjected to 2000g!
    http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn10180-huge-launch-ring-to-fling-satellites-into-orbit.html

    This may be a good way to go. One system to launch supplies, and another to launch more fragile cargo like humans.
     
  13. orcot Valued Senior Member

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    No timetable, no mentioning of any budget.

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    Annyway if it's true that it would only need to be 4 times stronger then the current best nanotubes then that basicly means that we could already build a martian space elevator with only 38% of the gravity and the fact that the martian GEO is over then 2 times smaller (35000km VS 17 000 km).

    PS 2000G's, Seriously?:bugeye:
     
  14. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Not entirely true:
    Yep. But the military already has electronics that can survive 20,000g!
     
  15. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Shooting up stuff is cheaper and cheaper. Also, after everyone has their own personal satellite, what else we are going to shoot up???

    Again, I don't think it is physically feasable, even if economically it is...

    Not to mention, how are you going to build it? I keep seeing similar threads coming up on this forum, but we might as well discuss perpetuum mobile...
     
  16. Sciencelovah Registered Senior Member

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    If I understand it correctly, the article says that by using magnetic accelerator,
    the elevator can travel with the speed of 10 km/s which is equal to 36,000 km/hr.
    In this case, to travel the overall distance of 72,000 km (two way trip), it will only
    needs 2 hours.......

    So far I just know that the fastest train which travel with magnetic force
    (the maglev train) is 'only' operating with a speed of 581 km/hr.
     
  17. NGM Registered Member

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    And when a bug hits the windshield, OMG!
     
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    Sorry, but you're confusing two different systems for putting things into orbit. The looped linear accelerator and the space elevator.

    The linear accelerator would launch things into space by accelerating the launch vehicle in a loop using electromagnets. Once the target speed is reached, the capsule is launched into space without the need for rockets except for course corrections.

    The space elevator is basically an elevator anchored via a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. The article didn't go into any details regarding how fast the elevator would be or how it would be powered.
     
  19. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    yeah, those silly little detailes that we don't care about...

    seriously, it is a freaking DREAM!! We will have human on Mars way before any space elevator shit...

    Now if the Japanese are really considering this, than I am losing my respect for them. I know they also plan huge pyramid cities (another stupid and hugely idealistic idea) but I think that is more just a concept and they don't really think of making it...
     
  20. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    As space elevator is possible with existing fabric... from the moon to L1!
     
  21. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

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    Looked it up on Wikipedia. There are just so many problems, here is another one:

    Powering climbers:

    "Nuclear energy and solar power have been proposed, but generating enough energy to reach the top of the elevator in any reasonable time without weighing too much is not feasible."

    And another one:

    Satellites

    "If nothing were done, essentially all satellites with perigees below the top of the elevator would eventually collide with the elevator cable. "

    and yet, another one:

    Meteoroids and micrometeorites

    "Meteoroids present a more difficult problem, since they would not be predictable and much less time would be available to detect and track them as they approach Earth. It is likely that a space elevator would still suffer impacts of some kind, no matter how carefully it is guarded.
    Far worse than meteoroids are micrometeorites; tiny high-speed particles found in high concentrations at certain altitudes. Avoiding micrometeorites is essentially impossible, and they will ensure that strands of the elevator are continuously being cut. "

    The best is not to address these issues:

    " The challenge of preventing fiber breakage from initiating a catastrophic failure cascade seems to be unaddressed in the current (January, 2005) literature on terrestrial space elevators."
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2008
  22. madanthonywayne Morning in America Staff Member

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    I agree, it would be an enormous undertaking. I think the looped linear accelerator has promise, though.
     
  23. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

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    Do carbon nanotubes come from decayed dinosaur fossils like all carbon in the universe? No wonder the cables are so strong. T-Rex had giant muscles.
     
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