Category Archives: Pictures / Drawings / Animations / Music / Humor / Game

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Desperately seeking amusement…

And now we see our intrepid explorers playing a fun game of “Marco Polo”.

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I had no idea what “fish out of water” meant until I read the official Wikipedia entry on ‘Marco Polo’ – I guess I must have had a deprived childhood…

See all of our explorer’s activities on their official website.

“Who is screwing around with my head?!?”

For yesterday’s post, I attempted to find non-US Space Elevator related videos – and was notably  unsuccessful.  But then I remembered – Gundam!  This cartoon/anime series is always good for some Space Elevator ‘video’.  Lot’s of shoot-em-up action…

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On a related note, the ‘Gundam Big Expo 2009’  just recently finished.

And if I’m looking a little desperate for Space Elevator material to post, well, you’re correct.  I’m in the middle of my yearly pilgrimmage to Arkansas and am a little out of touch…

Whiling away the time on a Space Elevator

Our explorers are at it again, taking office humor to the Space Elevator…

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Watch all of their adventures at http://www.elevator2space.com

And, this has ‘Space Elevator’ written all over it – let’s hope they write it in to the script…

I think that designing (and testing!) a zero-g or low-g distillery would be a very worthwhile science effort.  I will present a proposal to the ISEC Board that we sponsor such a project.  Volunteers, please contact me at ted-public [at] isec.info…

(Picture thumbnail from here – visit their website to see it in context)

Things get testy on the Space Elevator…

Our intrepid explorers are getting bored and a mean streak is beginning to surface.  It all ends with the dreaded Romulan Throat Thrust.  Oh the humanity…

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Watch all of the adventures of heroes here.

And, there is now a rumor that they may be planning something for the Space Elevator Games – stay tuned!

The benefits of sharing…

Our intrepid elevator riders are back with another two episodes.  Someone has, evidently, pressed all the buttons, so it appears that this trip is going to take some time.

In episode 4, we learn that “Rappaport” is a jokester and in episode 5 we learn the alleged benefits of sharing…

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All of their videos can be found here

Please don’t press all the buttons…

Reader Sean Keane sent me a link to 3 new Space Elevator videos that he and his friends have produced.  The theme is pretty self-explanatory and the videos definitely made me laugh.

It looks like these videos are the first in a series and I’m looking forward to future releases.  My personal favorite of these is Episode Two…

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The home website for these videos is http://elevator2space.com/ and at this site we will, presumably, see future episodes.  I’ll be posting them here, too, when they appear.

Thanks Sean – I look forward to future efforts from you and your cohorts – I think there is a definite chance that the four of you can become cult heroes…?

Designs for a Space Elevator Base Station

In the Department of Architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Professor Michael Fox had his students do a very cool and relevant project, a design of an ocean-based base station for a Space Elevator.  As far as I know, this is the first time that people from the Architecture world have had a go at this.  When the time comes to actually design a real base station, we will need the Architects to work along with the Engineers in order to design this right.  Yes, we could just have a floating platform that looks like an ocean-based oil rig, but why not make it aesthetically pleasing as well?  Plus, architects are going to include amenities and other practicalities that would not be obvious to engineering-type designers.

There are 11 designs in all – each of them really outstanding.  I invite you to visit the main project website and look at the effort each of these teams have put into this project and the level of thought and detail that they have included.  I hope to be writing more about this project in the near future.

The two picture thumbnails in this post are cut from two of the projects.  The topmost one is from the INTERFASE project, created by the team of Ehsaan Mesghali and Owen Liu.  The bottom one is from another project (I’m unsure of the team that created this one, but I’ll find out ?).  Click on either of them for a larger version of the picture.

I urge you to visit the main website and then spend some time browsing the individual designs – there really is lot of fine work here and all of the students are to be commended for their efforts.

More Space Elevator music

This is starting to become very cool – more and more people / groups are releasing music about the Space Elevator.  With the recent find of the song by Apraxis, that makes at least 4 Space Elevator songs I’ve found so far.  Maybe I’ll put up a poll at some point and let people vote for their favorite – we can ask Simon Cowell to host a “Space Elevator Idol” show…

From the website:

Click the play button above to listen. This is now at version 1.0 and its not fully mastered.. etc. 

It’s not totally done but we don’t like to keep the fans waiting!  Stuart T joins me on this track as well and it’s a joy working with him. For more info on the concept keep reading.

There is a Play Button, of course, for the music, and also a description of the Space Elevator concept in ‘500 words or less’.  They also link to the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC – come join us!), so they’re keeping the website up-to-date.

Alien Space Elevator discovered!

Astronomers from the California Institute of Science have announced today the direct observation of a Space Elevator erected by an alien civilization outside our solar system, located around the second planet in the star system Epsilon Eridani.

Just like the great wall of China, which is the most space-visible human-made artifact on Earth, a Space Elevator is easily detected as a 100,000 km searchlight blinking on and off around the alien planet. NASA’s recently launched Kepler Space Telescope is especially designed to detect such beacons, and the detection circuits located the Eridani Space Elevator as soon as the telescope was switched on. 

When asked about the significance of the discovery, ISEC’s president Ted Semon remarked that it is only logical that an alien advanced race would build a Space Elevator as they become a space faring civilization.  “It is what I would do” he added.  “This is also another example of science fiction predicting science fact.  As is well known, the TV series Star Trek placed the planet Vulcan in the Epsilon Eridani system and now we find that there is actually an advanced civilization there.”

Scientists caution, however, that no more than 12 adults or 2000 lb (which ever is less) should be loaded onto the elevator at any given time, and that you should be careful of the closing doors.  Also, if you have small children with you, you should prevent them from pushing all of the buttons as this could extend the trip by several days.

More Space Elevator stuff on YouTube

It’s been a while since I’ve inflicted shown you Space Elevator related videos I’ve found on YouTube.  No, this is not the Jay Leno version of “Videos I’ve found on YouTube”, it’s mine…

This first video is of the ‘future history’ variety, talking about Space Elevators in the 31st century: (Note – updated on 03APR09 at the request of the author of the video, Erich Stüssi.  He emailed me to tell me that the video I had posted was just the ‘rough cut’ of a school assignment.  The one below is the final version.  Thanks for the update Erich.)

This second video is of YerbY, another musician singing about a Space Elevator.  This YouTube version is the ‘solo acoustic’ version of his song, Space Elevator (on the album called “Space Elevator”). He also has a website where he has an orchestral version of this song plus some clips of other tunes on the album.  From his website:

My album Space Elevator is the culmination of the writing I did during most of 2008. On the album, I sought not to write your average pop songs. There are no repeating choruses or verses. Every word of the lyrics was stated with care. I arranged the instruments with the goal of letting each song unfold gradually from beginning to end, hopefully taking the listener through the same journey I went through in writing it. Also, there is no “filler” on the album; I worked tirelessly on each song until I felt it expressed the idea I intended to convey. I posted the few songs above to provide stylistic samples; I wrote Space Elevator hoping for it to be heard as a complete work.

And, without further ado, here ’tis…


Finally, saving the best for last, is the Space Elevator Games recap / teaser put together by the Chicago video production company Bitter Jester Creative, Inc.  If you were at the last Games, you undoubtedly saw this group, filming everything in sight and interviewing almost everyone in site.  They are putting together a video about the Space Elevator Games with an emphasis on the human side rather than the technical side (though that will be shown, too).I really, really like this video and I can’t wait to see their final product.
 

LaserMotive upgrades their motor…

Yes, it’s true, LaserMotive now has a spiffy new motor for their climber.

Check out their blog post for a picture of the motor and some more details…

Note that they are also looking for alternative uses for this motor.  Hmm…  I think they should use it to power a robot that automatically pumps out draft beer…

Here’s one that pours canned beer from (presumably) a mini-fridge inside of it.  I love how it pours the can in three different phases so that it (almost) doesn’t allow the head to overspill.  It would have been even cooler if they would have had a knife go across the top of the glass to knock off the excess head 🙂  Of course, one would die of thirst waiting for this thing to finish…

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Here’s one that does bottled beer.  It has a unique (and unsanitary) way of ensuring that the head doesn’t spill over the top of the glass.  I love the little ‘swirl’ action at the end to ensure it gets every last drop…

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And here’s a ‘lazy robot’ – you have to hold the glass, but it will ring the bell and want a tip from you…

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And finally, for you Pownce fans (may it rest in peace), the INEBRIATOR!!!

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Draft beer, gentlemen, think DRAFT beer.  If you need help, this is the place to go…

Balloon-evator

And now on Flickr, we have a picture of;

“The Space Elevator’s temporary low altitude support balloons, photographed here looking down from the construction shuttle at 15 miles above the Earth. The ballons provide additional stability/lift to the carbon nanotube ribbons in the lower 20 miles as they are unreeled from the international space colony transit station, sitting in geo syncronous orbit at approximately 200 miles above ground. The carbon nanotube material was first used commercially in the first decade of the 2000’s for DVD shrink wrapping….proving it’s worth then as a virtually impregnable material and frustrating thousands of consumers.After damage from several incidents involving homemade comets the Space Elevator program is currently stalled pending litigation against ‘Sprockley Space Toys’ and their ‘Comet Creation Kit’.”

The ‘author’ of this picture (Bruce Lemon) also goes on to tell us that;

“The elevators run 24 hrs Mon-Sun Jumahl, as long as it’s not too cloudy..(clouds interfere w/ the laser powered shuttle cars). Fee is $35,000 US dollars per 20 pound/1 cf payload, with a 50% discount for elevator construction consortium governments. 2 buttons currently, w/ an additional planned for the moon at an unknown future date. No smoking, and meals are an extra $10.”

So this is way cool – when can I book a ride?

(Click on the picture thumbnail for a larger version, or visit Bruce Lemon’s photostream on Flickr.  He has several hundred pictures loaded, the last one, as of the writing of this post, was of one scary looking goose…)

Tranquility Dome

Here’s a pilot for a new web series, Tranquility Dome.  There is a Space Elevator and already it’s been destroyed!!

I hope this turns into a real series as something about this grabbed me – it’s actually well done IMHO.  But they have to do something about the teeth…

(Image of the “NorthPac Elevator” is a screen capture from the video – click on it for a larger version)

Iron Man – The End, and an interview with Bob Layton

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I finally have my copy of the new Marvel release, Iron Man – The End.  It’s been one busy week, so I didn’t have a chance to read it until tonight.

The issue is about 98% Iron Man and 2% Space Elevator, but hey, 2% of a Marvel Iron Man issue is nothing to sneeze at.  I was initially going to do a review of the storyline, but decided against it because a) I am not competent to do so as I really know nothing about the comic book genre and b) I thought it would be more interesting to tease out the 2% Space Elevator bits to see how they stack up against the ‘currently accepted model’.

To begin with, the earthport of the Stark Space Elevator (Tony Stark = aka Iron Man) is based on a tiny island.  This does not fit the currently proposed model, which calls for an an ocean-based, movable platform.  The Edwards-Westling book gives eight reasons why we would want to have a movable base;

  1. Able to move the ribbon out of the path of orbiting objects and also any storms strong enough to be dangerous.
  2. Can be located directly on the equator in the most weather-friendly position possible.
  3. Can be located in international waters.
  4. Can be located near populations or not as selected.
  5. Large-scale, mobile sea platforms are tested technology (Sea Launch).
  6. If the ribbon breaks, much or all of the lower portion will probably fall into the ocean.
  7. No high-altitude operational challenges (snow, thin-air, etc.)
  8. Easier to ship really large, bulky, irregular-shaped items to a Space Elevator via sea than on land.

Some difficulties of a ocean-based earth-port vs. a land-based earth-port are also mentioned in this book;

  1. Vertical movement of the anchor
  2. Movement of the power-beam(s)
  3. Salt
  4. Remoteness

Personally, I’ve never liked the idea of an ocean-going earth-port – the idea has always seemed a bit dodgy to me.  When I first read The Space Elevator, everything proposed made sense EXCEPT for the earth-port.  Having to move the earth-port itself to induce a wave in the tether in order to make it miss a bit of debris (or a satellite) is really inefficient.  Why not have lasers zap the 99.99% of the debris that no one cares about and have thrusters mounted on the ribbon every 1,000 Km or so and let them move the ribbon as necessary for the rare bit (live satellite or whatever) which cannot be zapped?  Just find the thruster that’s closest and use it.  And, with the portion of the tether which is in the atmosphere now probably going to be a cable rather than a ribbon, it will be minimally affected by the wind.

So, my heart is with Stark on this one, though the ‘prevailing wisdom’ says otherwise…

The next item mentioned is the tether itself.  To quote from the relevant frame; “Basically a giant nanotube ‘grown’ from a geostationary Space Station.”  Travel on this tether will be by (again quoting); “…magnetically levitated shuttles (which) will carry passengers and cargo at less than two percent of current costs making the stars accessible to the common man.”  Hmmmm.

Again, the current model says that the baseline tether will be shipped to GEO, assembled, and then simultaneously deployed downwards (towards earth) and upwards (away from earth), this to keep it stable.  If the tether is only ‘grown downwards’, as is shown in the comic book, pretty soon (very soon, in fact), gravity will have its say and will pull everything down.  Yes, you can have a counterweight at GEO (with nothing above it) to hold the tether in place, but it would have to be ginormous, far bigger than the space station shown in the comic.  Also, later on in the issue, there is a picture of the tether in the clouds, looking like it’s being ‘grown downwards’, but it’s not a tether at all, but rather a very large structure.  This is reminiscent of the ‘Clarke model’ from his Fountains of Paradise novel.

So, IMHO, I don’t think the tether scenario in the comic would work at all…

The next Space Elevator item was, well, there was no ‘next item’ – that was it.  Like I said, 98% Iron Man, 2% Space Elevator.

If you want to find out if Tony Stark succeeds in building his Space Elevator, you’ll just have to go out and buy the issue 🙂

When this issue was first announced, I emailed one of the storyline artists, Bob Layton, and asked if he would be willing to answer a few questions for us.  He graciously consented and below, is our short interview with Bob.

[Space Elevator Blog – SEB] Have you been following the evolution in thought regarding the development of a Space Elevator? Do you consider it to be a realistic possibility or just a crazy idea?
[Bob Layton – BL] I believe that it’s a totally realistic concept and I hope that we eventually apply our energies as a society to make this science into a reality.

[SEB]Why did you pick a Space Elevator as Tony Stark’s “Ultimate Project”? Were you at all influenced by author Arthur C. Clarke and his fictional engineer (Vannevar Morgan) building a Space Elevator as his ‘ultimate project’ or was there another inspiration behind this?
[BL]When David Michelinie and I were originally concocting the plot to Iron Man: The End back in 1999, I had just finished reading Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Songs of Distant Earth’.  The scientific theory around the Space Elevator in that story served as an inspiration.

[SEB]If it’s not revealing a plot line you’d rather keep secret for now, does Tony Stark use the ‘Edwards model’ for building a Space Elevator (a carbon nanotube ribbon as the climber cable, anchored in the ocean at the earth-end) or the ‘Clarke model’ (a more solid structure anchored on land) or some other model?
[BL] We use a little bit of the “Edwards Model” and the “Clarke Model” in IRON MAN:The End.

[SEB] Reading your Bio on your website (http://www.boblayton.com <http://www.boblayton.com/>), it’s obvious that, to date, you have had a long and successful career in the comic book industry as well as in film and television. During your career, have you used the concept of a Space Elevator in any other project? If so, could you tell us a little bit about those projects?
[BL] No. But I have a proposed TV series in the works entitled “Jett’s Way” that revolves around the first commercial Space Agency. In the premise, the lead character is trying to get permits to construct the space elevator and encounters political and corporate opposition from every imaginable source.

[SEB] There is support building for a Space Elevator in both Europe and Japan and I think they would be very interested in this issue. Are Marvel Comics available in other languages?
[BL] Yes.

[SEB] Finally, if you had a chance to ride on a real Space Elevator, would you do it?
[BL ] In a HEARTBEAT!! YOU BET!!

Thank you Bob!  And, please keep us updated on the “Jett’s Way” project you mentioned.  It sounds fascinating.

Go out and buy this issue, dear readers.  More than most comic books, I think this could become a ‘Collector’s Item’.

(Cover Text/Graphic and frame from this issue)

YouTube Updates

Two new space elevator-related videos have made their way to YouTube.

The first is excerpts of an interview with the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke.  It’s undated, but in the opening seconds, Sir Clarke states that he wrote the “Fountains of Paradise 20 years ago…”.  That book was written in 1979, so this interview was recorded in 1999 (or thereabouts).  Most of it is about the Space Elevator, but some other subjects (like Cold Fusion) are mentioned.  I enjoyed the interview, but, he does mention something about Mars “…being infested with life…” due to “…Mars Orbiter photographs showing huge areas of vegetation…”.  Really?  A quick Google search discussed that this ‘vegetation’ is really natural formations or the results of carbon dioxide geysers or whatever.  I like Sir Clarke’s explanation better – I just wish it were true.

If anyone knows where I might get a copy of the LP record Sir Clarke shows in the begining of the interview, I’d dearly love to know about it.

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And this other video is a shameless ripoff of existing Space Elevator images and photos from the Space Elevator Games, intermixed with multiple photos of Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin, Russian Flag images, etc., etc., etc. all set to some sort of strange ‘Martial-techno’ music.  It’s all very bizarre…

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I didn’t say it was good, only that it was there 🙂

Update – 20NOV08 – Brian Turner, captain of the Kansas City Space Pirates Power-Beaming / Climber team, found a link to a NY Times interview (in 1999) that may have been the source of the Sir Clarke video shown earlier in this post – thanks Brian!)

Iron Man – The End at your comic book stores now (maybe)…

Today is the day that Iron Man – The End was released to the public.  I sauntered over to my local comic book store about 11:00am this morning only to find that they were sold out already!  Hopefully, you’ll still be able to find one in your area.

I ordered a copy and it’s supposed to be in my hands next Wednesday or Thursday – I’ll write more about it then.  I also have an interview with Bob Layton (the storyline author) to publish along with it.

Coming November 5th…

Back in August, I had put up a post about how Tony Stark (aka The Iron Man) was going to oversee the building of the world’s first commercial Space Elevator.  The release date (according to Bob Layton’s website) for this issue of Iron Man has now been set for November 5th – the day after election day.

From the preview:

“It’s the middle decades of the 21st century. After a lifetime fighting crime, corporate evil and super-powered villainy as Iron Man, industrialist and inventor Tony Stark faces his biggest challenge ever: building the legacy he will leave humankind after he’s gone. But when his world-changing project comes under attack, Tony must fight espionage and super-villainy once more…perhaps for the final time.”

I’ve included two graphics from Layton’s website.  One looks like a Space Station, perhaps at the end of the tether (though I can’t see the tether) while the other looks like an earth-port under-construction.  But I could be wrong on both – we’ll see when the comic book comes out.

Mark your calendars!

(Click on the images for a (slightly) larger version or, better yet, visit Bob’s website to see more graphics from this edition)

Space Elevator News catch-up – Part 3

As promised in my last post, I’ve found some new Space Elevator graphics that I’ll share with you.  I found this first set via the website io9, a ‘different’ site I’ve posted about before.  The title of the post was “Imagining the Chuck Klosterman Space Elevator“.  Chuck is a writer for Esquire magazine and he published a future history of the 21st century.  In this history, he predicts;

JUNE 22, 2043: As predicted by Arthur C. Clarke in 3001: The Final Odyssey, the orbiting luxury hotel is connected to Earth by a massive space elevator. Hyperstrong cables anchored to the earth near the equator (as required by physics) stretch 100,000 kilometers into the sky, rising into the hotel’s lobby.”

Of course he also predicted that McCain would win the election next week and, among other things, that on “MAY 8, 2030: A deathbed confession by George W. Bush reveals that JFK was, in fact, assassinated by the CIA.” and on “OCT. 19, 2071: An army of panda bears attacks Beijing, killing twelve hundred people and wounding thousands more during a bloody four-day onslaught.”  The CIA assassinated JFK?  Maybe, but I’m not buying the Panda Bear thing… 🙂

Anyway, back to the graphics I promised.  These first two graphics in this post were shown with that ‘Chuck Klosterman…’ story and credited to artist Bruce Irving.  They came from Flickr, posted by “Flying Singer”.  The first is the earth-based Elevator rising to a Space Hotel while the second is an Elevator on Mars.  If you visit the Flickr site, you’ll see that the earth-based Elevator graphic is an ‘active’ one with various call-outs as you mouse around the picture.  A visit to Flying Singer’s Flickr site is highly recommended – lots of cool photos and graphics to peruse…

This next graphic comes from Arie Wijaya’s website.  On this site, he discusses the Online Times article (he’s the 5,259,027 blogger who has picked this up 🙂 ).  He doesn’t give credit for the graphic, so I don’t know where it came from – might even be from the LiftPort archives.

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Finally, from the LaserMotive blog, we see this picture of ‘horribles’ being perpetrated on a gold-plated mirror.  Visit the LaserMotive blog for the rest of the story on this travesty…

And that, truly, catches us up with all of the backlog in my Search Engines.

(As always, click on the picture thumbnails for a larger version)

The Space Elevator makes xkcd.com…

One of my very favorite comics is xkcd.com.  Their view on things is, well, to say the least, unique.

A few days ago, they had a comic which showed “Height“…

Now they have one which shows “Depth“…

The authors of these cartoons love to draw in little “in the know” bits.  Note the “Edge of Federation Sector 0-0-1” in the “Height” image and Peter Norton shooting down a bacteriophage and the “IPOD Femto” in the “Depth” image.

But the real prize in the “Depth” image is the carbon nanotubes and resulting Space Elevator.  We’re everywhere!  We’re everywhere!

This website / cartoon strip is HIGHLY recommended.  Put it into your RSS reader – it really is worthwhile.

Wikipedia has an extensive entry regarding XKCD – very interesting reading…

Finally, let me link to an earlier post I did with an XKCD cartoon – one with James Bond and the centrifuge.

When is a Space Elevator not a Space Elevator?

When it’s at Burning Man.  At this year’s just concluded festival (and I guess at earlier ones, too), they had a “Space Elevator” booth described thusly;

“Space Elevator, elevating from the trance communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, featuring psytrance, progressive trance, funky-electro beats and chill-out music on a 20,000 watt sound system, with local and international DJs from all over the world bringing their best music to you on the playa.”

There are several videos on YouTube about this event; a couple are included below:

If you do a Search on “Space Elevator” at YouTube and sort by date, all the videos (there are 5-6) will show up at the front.

Here’s a post by an organizer looking for DJ’s for this event.  I’m truly glad my 16 year old son didn’t know about this; he’s a part time DJ and this is EXACTLY the type of music he likes.  I’d have never heard the end of it…

This last video, while not at the Space Elevator camp, is my favorite.  Give it a few seconds and, I think you’ll be hooked…

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(Picture of Burning man from here)

Doctor Who visits The Great Space Elevator

Oh joy of joys!  Oh frabjous day!  There is now a new audio Doctor Who episode centered around the Space Elevator!!

Yes, Doctor Who fans, ’tis true, the Good Doctor, Jamie and Victoria Waterfield visit the Artsutanov Space Elevator, anchored in Sumatra on the earth end and the “Sky Satellite” in geosynchronous orbit at the space end.  This Space Elevator is electrically conductive, batteries are used on emergency climbers (which get to the top in no time) and has all sorts of other heresies, but who cares?  It’s Doctor Who!  This episode, like all Doctor Who episodes, has villains, narrow escapes, stupid moves by the protagonists (which never get them in unrecoverable trouble) and much derring-do.  It’s 70 minutes of great fun, outrageous plot twists, sexual innuendos (complete with a “scantily clad, female security guard”), glorious non-sequiturs and, the dialogue – oh, the dialogue!

“I come from the Space between the worlds”

“You will be converted – you will become part of us!”

“Now, let’s not be hasty…”

“The creature has consumed the Doctor!”

“They have to be completely insulated!”

“We’ll be returning earth to clear, sunny skies.”

And, best of all…

“Thank God for the thick, white foam!”

Glorious, truly, truly, glorious…  Earth is saved with Faraday cages, thick white foam and Fleming’s left-hand rule…

Highly, highly recommended and well worth the $7.99 download price.  Truly, this is a treat.  You can order it here, but note that you must register with the distributor (Big Finish) before you can order the download.  The download comes as a 96MB zip file, containing 21 tracks/chapters (.mp3 files) and the artwork shown above (click on it for a slightly larger version).

Click below to listen to the trailer – make sure your sound is turned up!

[audio:/media/Doctor-Who-trailer.mp3]

Big hat tips to elyssadc’s journal and the Tardis Newsroom

One suggestion; import the 21 tracks/chapters into a playlist and listen to it as a whole – it’s a lot better than clicking on and listening to each track separately.

Iron Man to build the Space Elevator!

I’m not a big comic book fan, and haven’t kept up with all of the creations in the Marvel Universe.  However, even I have heard of Tony Stark, aka the Iron Man.

Evidentally, he’s outlived his usefulness, so his demise may be in the works.  In November, Marvel Comics is scheduled to release “Iron Man: The End” in which:

“Decades in the future, a 70+ Tony Stark is overseeing his ultimate project of his lauded career—the completion of Earth’s first commercial space elevator, whose inauguration will change the world’s economy and the future of space exploration forever. However, not everyone is looking forward to this project’s launch with the same enthusiasm as the head of Stark Universal. Sinister forces are at work, behind-the-scenes, to insure that Stark’s pinnacle scientific achievement ends in disaster.”

It looks like EVERYONE wants to destroy the Space Elevator.  Guess we’re just going to have to build a bunch of them…

This is one comic book I’m going to buy.  No one can doubt the talent and creativity of the Marvel artists and I’m looking forward to their “concept drawings” of a Space Elevator.

(Picture of Iron Man from here.  Click on it for the larger version)

Under construction (Part 4)…

This should be pretty much a giveaway 🙂

(Previous clues here, here and here)…

I’ve had several people email me the correct answer or else post a comment with the correct answer.  I’ll “OK” those comments tomorrow so they appear and I’ll be at ISDC this weekend to photograph the completed model in all its glory and will post it on the blog.

Thanks for playing!

The coolest photo ever?

No, nothing to do with a Space Elevator, but everything to do with coolness…

This is a picture (already seen by many) of the Mars Phoenix probe, descending to the Planet Mars on Sunday.  You can clearly see the deployed parachute and the probe underneath it.  It was taken by the HiRise camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As one person put it; “This was a speeding bullet taking a picture of another speeding bullet.”

Many people seem to love to pick on NASA, but as I’ve written before, we too often take their accomplishments, their many real and spectacular accomplishments, for granted.

Congratulations NASA and all of the other organizations that assisted in this effort!

(Picture from here – click on the thumbnail for a larger version)

Fun math with a Space Elevator

I ran across an interesting blog post today at Rough Equivalents.  The author has calculated the weight and quantity needed for a substitute Elevator cable made out of bologna slices.  It would weigh approximately 61,589,647 pounds, contain 88,689,091,770 calories and 17,375,178 pounds of fat.  He has some other equivalents and asks readers to come up with their own.

Here’s mine:  There are eleven, individually-wrapped slices of Kraft American cheese in one inch.  We want them individually wrapped, of course, for sanitary purposes and to make repairs to the “Cheesevator” easier.  A kilometer contains 39,370.0787 inches (have to be exact, of course).  One hundred thousand kilometers, then, would contain 3,937,007,870 inches.  At 11 slices to the inch, this means that a Cheesevator would contain 43,307,086,570 slices of individually wrapped Kraft American cheese.  Each slice of this cheese contains 70 calories and 5 grams of fat giving us a grand total of over three trillion calories (3,031,496,059,900 to be exact) and over two hundred billion grams of fat (216,535,432,850 grams to be exact).

It’s also possible, of course, that the life of a Cheezevator would exceed the life of a carbon-nanotube tether – this stuff never goes bad…

Who said math wasn’t fun?

Space Elevator Potpourri…

Well, that didn’t take long.  The video clip I put up of Brian Turner of the Kansas City Space Pirates appearing on the Conan O’Brien show has been taken down due to “Copyright violations”.  I don’t know why – there’s a ton of other Conan video clips up on YouTube.  Maybe someone from another Climber/Power-Beaming team complained because they thought that Brian was getting too much publicity 🙂  Anyway, you can go to the Conan O’Brien website and see the clip.  Don’t delay though, it probably won’t be up there for long either.  Go to this website, navigate to the “May 2nd” episode and then select on “Brian Turner”.

I received a couple of photos from Akira Tsuchida, Captain and Fearless Leader of team E-T-C, showing the Japanese translation of the Edwards-Ragan book “Leaving the Planet by Space Elevator” on sale at a Japanese bookstore.  When Akira first wrote me about this, he exclaimed that the book was “Laying on it’s side!!”  I had no clue why that was important until he explained to me that this was reserved only for books with multiple copies – a position of prominence I’m told.  On a related note, I received an email from Phil Ragan, the co-author of the book.  He emailed me to say; “I just saw your spaceelevatorblog.com web site for the first time, sorry I hadn’t come across it earlier.  Thanks for the supportive words about our book! The intent was to increase the public awareness of the project and help it along in some way.  We’ve just had the Japanese version of the book released and it is in the stores in Tokyo and available at amazon.com.jp and its prompting the book publisher to consider taking us up for a second edition in English, which would be great if it happens.”  So, way cool…

On the Spaceward Foundation website, there is an “Artist’s rendition” (complete with Homer Simpson) of a mockup of what the 2008 Space Elevator Games venue might look like (if it’s held at Meteor Crater in Arizona).  This mockup will be on display at this year’s ISDC and SEC2008 (and probably some other venues too).

Speaking of ISDC, Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation will be there (with the aforementioned venue mockup) along with representatives of some of the teams entering this year’s Space Elevator competition.  I may make it there myself – we’ll see…

And, speaking of the Space Elevator games, the observant may note that the date for these games (posted on the sidebar of this blog) has been changed from September 8th to September 26th-28th.  The September 8th date was never really ‘set in stone’ – it was just a target date.  The 26th-28th dates (with qualifications beginning on the 23rd or 24th) is a much more firm date.

And finally, just another example of how the term “Space Elevator” is entering into the everyday lexicon.  In this article, the author is complaining about the rise in diesel fuel prices saying; “Sure, fuel spikes aren’t new, but this time it’s less of a roller-coaster ride than a space elevator.”

(Gas price sign from here)

(For all pictures, click on the thumbnails for a larger version)

‘It will be filled with drifters, loners and prostitutes…’

This was Conan O’Brien’s joking response to Brian Turner’s description of the “Space Elevator highway(s) to Space”.

Brian Turner of the Kansas City Space Pirates appeared on Friday night’s Conan O’Brien show.  I thought the interview went well and that Brian handled himself very commendably.  It’s not easy, being interviewed live like that.  Many, many years ago, I had one very forgettable instance in a TV interview and I am eternally grateful the TV network chose not to air my mumblings…

Clearly Conan understood the concept of a Space Elevator; either he knew it beforehand or had been coached prior to the show.  His questions were accurate and Brian handled them well.  There was one comment by Brian where I thought he had clearly misspoke – describing the probable site of a future Space Elevator port as being in the Pacific Ocean, “south of Kansas City.”  But I looked on a globe and darned if it isn’t true…

My only complaint would be that they did not mention the Space Elevator Games at all.  I think this would have given the concept much more credibility; NASA putting up 4 million dollars in prize money and that what Brian’s team (one of many in the event) is building is an entry for this competition, not a real Space Elevator.  But still, Conan O’Brien…

Well done Brian!

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(Update 07MAY08 – YouTube has taken down the video.  To see it, visit the Conan O’Brien website, navigate to the May 2nd episode and then select ‘Brian Turner’.  Do it soon, though – I don’t think episodes stay up very long on this site either…)

News from the NSS Space Elevator Team

Bert Murray, Captain and Fearless Leader of the NSS Space Elevator Team, emailed me to let me know that their team recently did a demo for a BBC news/film team.

The following is a note posted on the News section of the Team website:

“We had a lot of activity this weekend! The BBC flew in from London to film our prototype test of the climber. We started the day filming the battery operated climber which shot up the tether and broke. Then, we went outside and used a 10,000 watt spotlight to power the solar climber. We were pretty nervous, but it was a success. The climber ascended 100 feet up the tether. The BBC was happy with their material from the shoot, and we are looking forward to the airing of the BBC show. Here is a video from the day.”

Incidently, if you didn’t know that the NSS team had their own website, well neither did I 🙂

In that News post, there is a very cool video of the BBC shoot and the climber test (complete with European Dance/Trance music).  What is even cooler is that NSS has also posted a video slideshow, showing team members, close-ups of the Climber, etc., also accessible from their website’s News section.

I’ve taken the liberty of posting two photos from the Slide Show, below.  Click on them for the full-size version (or, better yet, visit their website to see the whole selection – I mean, where else can you register to win a ‘Celestial Design’ Quilt in a raffle?).

On the left, you can see a a closeup of the underside of the Climber in flight.  The underside is illuminated with a 10 kw spotlight; the illuminated cells show clearly.

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Here is a close-up of the Climber itself.  You can clearly see the steel cable it is designed to ascend (a major change from previous competitions in which a ribbon was used).

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Finally, I pulled this photo from the video.  It shows the 10 Kw spotlight used to power the climber being ‘tuned’ on the side of the building.  It kind of reminds me of this video of the Kansas City Space Pirates when they were ‘tuning’ their mirrors…

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A short hiatus…

Yes I know that there have no posts here for a few days now.  No, nothing’s wrong (thank you to those who emailed me, asking if all was well), there just hasn’t been much to post about.

One of the things I have been doing is some investigation into the “wobbly Space Elevator” (non?) problem.  I’ve been corresponding with Dr. Brad Edwards and Dave Lang about this (as well as reading what Blaise Gassend had to say about it) and am going to pony up the $31.50 to read the original paper by Lubos Perek to see what ignited all the fuss.  At some future point, if I think I have something to add to this discussion, I will do so.

Glen Phillips is in town Friday night – I look forward to this concert with great anticipation.

Planning is still ongoing for this year’s Space Elevator Games.  The two biggest changes from previous games are, of course, the length of the racecourse (now 1km) and that instead of a ribbon, the climbers will have to be ascending/descending a steel rope.  The chances that anyone will attempt this competition with a power source other than a laser are somewhere between zero and nil.

Planning is also ongoing for the 2008 Space Elevator Conference.  A full team has been assembled to organize this event and I, for one, am truly looking forward to it.  It will also be very interesting to see how much Microsoft is truly interested in this idea.  I had blogged earlier about Bryan Laubscher’s talk at Microsoft – perhaps this is another way that they are going to compete with Google? 🙂

The picture thumbnail, above, is probably one of the last (if not the last) pictures of Sir Arthur C. Clarke and was provided as part of a story by Saswato R. Das.  Click on it for a slightly larger version (or access the story, of course).

Finally, about 30% of me thinks that this is a hoax…

An artistic tribute to Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Artist Maciek Rêbisz sent me today a link to his artistic tribute to Sir Arthur C. Clarke.  It’s a beautiful picture, and a particularly European one…

Maciek is also the person who sent me the Polish Translation (Winda Kosmiczna) of ‘Space Elevator’.

Thanks Maciek!

(Photo thumbnail is from Maciek’s work)

Search Engines…

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that Search Engines are “funny things”…

Here’s an example of story that showed up in my “space elevator” bucket.  Note that I specified that both the words ‘space’ and ‘elevator’ had to appear, that the words had to appear together and that the word ‘space’ had to preceed the word ‘elevator’…  Maybe now I need to specify that ‘space’ cannot be immediately preceeded by a hyphen 🙂

(Outstanding picture from here – I LOVE Photoshop – click on it to see it in all it’s glory…)

Upcoming appearance of Glen Phillips

A few days ago, I wrote about a new song that Glen Phillips had written called “Space Elevator” and how much I enjoyed it.  I’d like to note that Glen will be appearing in concert at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, CA next monday, February 18th, 2008, at 8:00pm.  You might want to check it out.  Glen is also coming to Chicago in April of this year (as part of this same US tour) and I definitely plan on attending his show then.

I’ve also been told that certain “Space Elevator luminaries” will be in attendance at this show – so here’s a chance to get an autograph (or two) 🙂

(Picture of Glen from here – click on the thumbnail for a larger version)

Rockin’ Space Elevator Music!

Glen Phillips is releasing a new album, available February 26th, entitled Secrets of the New Explorers.  It contains a soundtrack entitled “Space Elevator” and it ROCKS!!

I’m emailing them, asking if I can purchase the license rights to it so I can post it on this blog.  In the meantime, if you go to his homepage and give it a few seconds to load, you’ll see the song in the upper left-hand corner of the web page.  Click on the play button and ENJOY!

If you’re a Nickle Creek fan (like me), the style will sound very familiar.

Lyrics:

take me up to the top
and don’t stop
you look down
can’t comprehend such a long drop
twenty thousand miles
i’m not a liar
i tell you steven tyler’s wishing
he could have a piece of
this ascending movable feast
paydirt, payload, heave-ho
pack your halliburton and let’s go

space elevator

we’ve no need for escape velocity
we’re free
with every mile higher we lose the weight of gravity
climb the tether together
heading for the counterweight
up the carbon nanotube
spiderweb into space

you’re gonna love it here
get undressed in the mesosphere
get so hot in the thermosphere
you know what’s coming the exosphere

space elevator

don’t look down don’t look down don’t look

And he’s coming to Chicago in April – oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!

“A dirty little four letter word – cost”

There is a TV/DVD series out now called The Universe.  It’s a series of shows about all aspects of, naturally enough, The Universe, and everything in it.  Recently the aired an episode entitled “Space Travel“, Professor Michio Kaku (who I posted about earlier) discussed the issue of the cost of getting to space and how a Space Elevator could significantly lessen that.

And now, for something completely different…

A short break from Space Elevator posts…

My brother-in-law sent me a link to the following video…

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I thought it was pretty funny and forwarded it to, among others, Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation. He told me about two other videos made by this same guy. They’re Part 1 and Part 2 of a “Grand Endeavour” and are a hoot! Enjoy…

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And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…