Monthly Archives: December 2006

Version 0.94 of 2007 Power Beaming (Climber) Competition rulebook posted

Version 0.94 of this rulebook is now up and available for review.  Here you can find the changes from version 0.93 to 0.94 discussed.  Of course everything can be accessed from the Elevator2010 website.  As always, submit comments and recommendations to Ben Shelef at Ben AT

Ben also has the following comment on the remarks (here and here) by Professor Mark Welland.

“It’s a known fact that popular journalism, both technical and mainstream, tends to exaggerate claims. There is no argument that the SE CNT tether does not exist yet, and is much stronger than anything we produce today – nothing to the contrary was ever claimed. Still, it is not laughable to predict that totally new technology will result in large improvements, especially when the mechanism of this technology is understood. CNTs are strong enough, and composites and ropes exhibit tensile strengths very close to that of their native fibers. There’s enough evidence that the CNT tether is feasible – saying we can’t get there because we’re not already there is dead-end thinking. Just my 2c.”

Dr. Mark Welland responds

A couple of days ago, I had posted a link to a blog entry which stated that Professor Mark Welland, FRS, had said that the idea of a “Space Elevator” was nonsense.  I had also written that I was going to attempt to contact Professor Welland to try and get some clarity on the matter.

Professor Welland has responded to my query and I quote him here:

“In my talk I was discussing in general terms some of the aspects of nanotechnology that have been over hyped. I gave as an example a proposed space elevator that was on the front cover of the American Scientist magazine. Next to this image I showed the material referred to and pointed out the enormous difference between a hypothetical elevator based on the ideal strength of carbon nanotubes and the reality of the actual material that can be currently synthesised. If one puts the figures in for actual material performance as opposed to ideal performance one can easily see that material is simply not strong enough. This of course was the calculation I was referring to.”

So, his issue was that the current state of nanotube technology cannot spin them strong enough to build a Space Elevator.  Well, we all know that and most of us believe that the technology WILL get there (and quickly, I hope).

Funding for NASA’s Centennial Challenges

Several weeks ago, I had posted a link to TopSpacer’s article at, an article discussing “funding for the Centennial Challenges program will be zeroed out for 2007” and wondering what that meant.  Then a few days ago, the Space Frontier Foundation issues a press release saying essentially the same thing that TopSpacer’s article did.  I contacted Jeff Krukin, the Executive Director of the Space Frontier Foundation, and asked him if the current games are in jeopardy.  He replied that they are not;

“The prized that have already been announced are funded with money appropriated in previous years.  Future (not yet announced) prized are dependent on new funding provided in FY2007 or later, so there is no funding for new prizes.”

Yesterday, over at Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log, he said essentially the same thing; funding for the existing prizes (including the Space Elevator challenge) is there, but funding for NEW prizes is not.

Russia will develop space elevators (Part 2)

In Part 2 of an article I blogged about a couple of days ago, the Russian News & Information Agency (Novosti) reports on a rather unique “Space elevator” concept, designed to deliver payloads from the Earth to the Moon and back.

An excerpt: “Theoretical studies and experiments showed that the cluster should comprise two cableway systems, one in a low circular and the other in a low elliptical Earth orbit, and one cableway in a circular equatorial lunar orbit. The dimensions of all three cableways should create different gravitational potentials at each end. By adjusting tether length, it will be possible to change each orbital system’s angular speed of rotation.”