Space elevator one step closer.
February 16, 2003 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Highlift Systems may have found a better location for their space elevator in Perth, Australia. Calm waters, few thunderstorms, not too far from the equator, international airport. (Slashdot discussion) I live in Perth, so I'm excited about the prospect, but our current premier may need a little prod.
posted by krisjohn (8 comments total)
I'm consider setting up a "Bring the space lift to Perth" type community BBS thing, but I don't have personal access to a PHP/mySQL web host, etc. Can anyone recommend a free forum service that's worth it? (or is there anyone with an existing phpBB board that I can have a forum on? TIA.)
posted by krisjohn at 5:08 PM on February 16, 2003

Wow, a solar tower and a space elevator! Go Australia!
posted by homunculus at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2003

A big thank you to Jason at e3 for the forum:

I've made up a smaller URL that goes to the same place:

There's also a solar tower forum there.
posted by krisjohn at 7:55 PM on February 16, 2003

I'm familiar with the idea that it requires less fuel, less power, to launch a rocket into orbit at the equator (because you're spinning faster there, like the outside groove on an lp), but does anyone know how latitude effects operation of a space elevator (i still like "sky hook" better)? amount of counterweight? or what?
posted by steef at 6:19 AM on February 17, 2003

The station could be connected to more ribbons for journeys on to the moon or beyond.

Hmm, I'm having problems picturing how that would work. The station and the moon could be on opposite sides of the planet from each other, it's just not possible.

Course, I'm pretty skeptical of the whole space elevator idea. I'm just not convinced that it'll ever work, science fiction not withstanding. Besides, can you imagine the disaster if the thing came crashing down? To say nothing of the fact that you could probably paint a big bulls-eye on the thing because it'd be a major target.
posted by piper28 at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2003

Quick answers:

* You'd have a cable that simply goes out to the Moon's orbit then you'd just wait for it to come round.

* If it breaks then most of it burns up and a bit of it spashes down (its anchor is located in the sea)

* As for a target, sure, but it wouldn't be like an international airport with thousands of people getting on and off every hour/day -- it would be a secure location and no doubt a no-fly zone. (I bet it would be a real bastard to hit with a stinger.)
posted by krisjohn at 2:17 PM on February 17, 2003

For anyone who's read Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars you'll recognize this as a damn sweet sci-fi wet dream. I seriously doubt we'd get
1) the funding, it's called 17 billion now but i'd be damned if it doesn't cost 3 or 4 times that
2) the materials, we may be able to make nano-tubes in small batches but we'd need a damn big cable to get up there (and one hell of an anchorage to boot)

I have no doubts it could be done, but i dont' think it will within our lifetime...however, if it does come to be sign me up to be on the design team!
posted by NGnerd at 2:42 PM on February 17, 2003

A spokesman for the National Space Society of Australia, an amateur space enthusiasts' society with international links, Tony James, said the concept was feasible.

I wonder how many people the reporter had to talk to before she found someone to say it was feasible. An "amateur space enthusiasts' society"? Sure, why not.
posted by quarantine at 1:15 PM on February 19, 2003

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