Monthly Archives: February 2008

Queen’s Space Engineering Team to use TRUMPF Lasers

Today, the Queen’s Space Engineering Team announced that they would be using a TRUMPF laser to power their entry into this year’s Climber / Power-Beaming competition.  From their website:

“First of all, I’d like to announce TRUMPF as QSET’s new partner for the 2008 Space Elevator Games!  TRUMPF will be supplying us with their powerful 8000 W semiconductor pumped, solid state laser.  This laser is a marvel of engineering (I’ve seen under the hood, it’s unbelievable).  We are excited to work with the experts at TRUMPF and anticipate a great competition in September 2008!”

They’ve also announced that they’ve extended the deadline for applications for several positions with their team, plus an announcement of new positions and a request for applications for them.

Read the full post, here, for all the details.

This makes the second team that has reached an agreement with TRUMPF to use their lasers this year.  Earlier, the Kansas City Space Pirates announced that they would be using TRUMPF lasers also.

With USST and Lasermotive, this makes at least four teams which should be entering laser-powered climbers in this year’s competition – only 162 more days to go! :)

03 March, 2008 – I can’t count – that should have been 193 more days to go…

EuroSpaceward at the International Space University (ISU)

At the recently concluded 12th Annual Symposium of the International Space University (ISU), Markus Klettner and Eurospaceward presented a Poster Session on “Why we need an elevator to Space”.

I emailed Markus, asking how it went and this was his reply:

“It went quite well. We had a number of people gathering and picking up information on the space elevator project.

Most noteworthy perhaps that we are now getting in touch with Tallin Institute of Technology and Tartu University (Mechatronics division) to promote the beam power challenge. They had a robotics competiton there in 2007, where the challenge for the competing robot teams was to climb up a rope of 2,5 m. You see the connex to the NASA challenge :)

(For more information visit their Robotex website with an overview and task description in English: http://www.robotex.ee/overview).

Concerning the ISU Symposium itself you can find pictures of it at:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/7ce9mr
http://www.sendspace.com/file/7p9wm5
http://www.sendspace.com/file/m5u5ou

They were taken by Ondrej Doule, the ISU student that participated in the Luxembourg workshop.  Please reference him in case you find an image worth to be blogged.”

But the REALLY interesting item in his email to me was the following tidbit:

“Another bit of information that may be interesting is that Prof. Alan Windle and his team at Cambridge University including Dr. Marcelo Motta are now definitely considering participating in the NASA tether challenge. The final decision however, (as always) depends on the sponsorship they get in order to finance the preparation of the competition tether. We are of course trying to assist them as much as possible since w’d love to see them at the Spaceward Games!”

This is the team, of course, that announced their ~9 GPa – N/Tex nanotube fibers (blogged about here and many other places) at the 1st annual European Space Elevator Climber and Tether workshop.

I fully expect the teams from both Astroaraneae and DeltaX to be up to this challenge, which should make for a very exciting Tether competition this year.

I am reminded of the immortal line from the movie “Jaws” when Police Chief Martin Brody, viewing the Great White shark for the first time, says “You’re going to need a bigger boat”.  If we have several teams that show up at this competition with carbon nanotube tethers meeting (or perhaps exceeding?) 9 GPa, all I can say to Spaceward is “You’re going to need a stronger machine”

(Picture of Great White Shark from here – click on it for a larger version)

More carbon nanotube development from Nanocomp

Nanocomp is the company behind the carbon nanotube tether brought to last year’s Space Elevator Games by Team DeltaX.

While not directly related to creating a tether for a Space Elevator, their latest development shows that this company continues to push the carbon nanotube envelope.  From their website:

CONCORD, N.H.— February 19, 2008 — Nanocomp Technologies, Inc., a developer of next-generation performance materials, today announced it has successfully produced 3-foot by 6-foot sheets of carbon nanotube material. This significant production milestone, the result of the company’s ongoing investment in nanotube growth technology and manufacturing capacity, gives Nanocomp the ability to generate the largest cohesive sheets of nanotube material ever produced.

Estimated strength of these sheets, from this press release, are:

The tensile strength of the mat ranges from 200 to 500 megapascals—a measure of how tough it is to break. A sheet of aluminum of equivalent thickness, for comparison, has a strength of 500 megapascals. If Nanocomp takes further steps to align the nanotubes, the strength jumps to 1,200 megapascals.

I think the significance of this is that companies/manufacturers continue to grow more familiar with this material, and this can only lead to further breakthroughs in this field.

(Picture comparing the nanotube sheet with a human being from the company website.  Click on it or visit the website for a larger version)

(Hat tip to Tom Kastan for this post)

Updates from USST

The Climber/Power-Beaming team from USST has been very busy as of late, but they were kind enough to reply to a “status request” email I sent out a while ago.  I received this reply to my questions from Patrick Allen, USST team member:

We are getting the last of last year’s competition out of the way and starting towards the new one. We are actually having our elections for the new executive this Monday. Hopefully it will start the ball rolling and get us on our way to another successful year.

[Space Elevator Blog - SEB] – Why did USST decide to use Dilas equipment in the 2007 Space Elevator Games?
[Patrick Allen - USST] – We went with Dilas in the 2007 competition because it had the required wave length for the cells that we had available and also that it could be prepared in the short amount of time we had left before the competition.

[SEB] – What factors will be most important to you and USST in deciding what power source you’ll be using in this year’s Games?
[USST] – For this year’s games the most important factors in deciding what power source will be the ability to focus the source to 1km, how easy it is to control, and the wave length of the power source.

[SEB] – Will USST be attending the Photonics West show and will USST be “interviewing” with Trumpf for possible use of their equipment?
[USST] – We will not be able to make it to the Photonic West show due to our busy school schedules.

[SEB] – What are USST’s goals for this year’s competition?
[USST] – Our goals for this year is obviously do the best we can, but we are hoping that will include winning the competition. We also hope to have our design finished before the competition to make the competition run smoother.

Thank you Patrick!

More Space Elevator Games YouTube Videos

Here are two more videos of the Punkworks team, testing out their equipment prior to last year’s competition.  Incidently, in an earlier post of a Punkworks video, I wondered if the name they posted these videos under, Punkworks2008, indicated that they might be planning on competing again this year.  I contacted them and they’ve replied that they are NOT planning on competing in 2008.  Pity.  We’ve never seen a microwave-powered climber do a successful climb (in either 2006 or 2007) and I don’t know if anyone will try to do one this year either.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fglTcgLR4v4[/youtube]

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr6evWEBtPg[/youtube]

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And here are two more videos posted by The Spaceminers of the 2005 competition:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjnnd-YO7nw[/youtube]

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvnRQw4MmxY[/youtube]

Space Elevators and Space Tourism

This article touting the possible nearness of space tourism contains the following quote:

“A safer, cheaper launch system is critical if space travel is to become more commonplace in the future. An elevator rising tens of thousands of miles into space is one possibility that scientists and entrepreneurs are considering.”

The article goes on to discuss developments in the Space Elevator field and the role that the Spaceward Foundation is playing in this endeavor.

(With apologies to Fodors for the proposed Guidebook cover – click on it for a larger version.  Picture of Shimizu Hotel on book cover from here.)

More Space Elevator-related videos

This video, from “Thought TV”, looks like a “semi-official promo” for the 2008 Space Elevator Games.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9rVJ1oTa40[/youtube]

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And this video is from the 2006 Space Elevator Games.  It is of the qualification run for the SpaceMiners.  As I hadn’t made it to the fairgrounds in time, this is the first time I’ve seen it.  The description says that the video is from a “French Documentary (but in English)”.  I’d like to see the entire documentary and will see if I can find it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n79VQHUROyY[/youtube]

Two new records

Two new records have been set in fields that are related to either a real Space Elevator or the Space Elevator Games.

Lasers are now the power source of choice (and perhaps necessity) for the next and succeeding Space Elevator Games Climber/Power-Beaming event.  Researchers at the University of Michigan believe they have set a new record for laser intensity.  It is described thusly: 

“If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory.”

While I’m sure that this breakthrough does not have an immediate impact on either competitors in the Climber/Power-Beaming event at the Space Elevator Games or a real Space Elevator, it’s just another indication about how research in this field is ongoing.

And, some previous entrants in the Climber/Power-Beaming event have attempted to use a Stirling Engine to propel their climber.  A new record has been set in this field also:

“Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) have set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES’s “Serial #3″ solar dish Stirling system at Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility.”

Perhaps this development may help encourage another attempt with a Stirling-Engine powered climber.

(The laser picture was taken by Anatoly Maksimchuk and the Stirling dish picture was taken by Randy Montoya – they were from their respective stories.  Click on them for a larger version.  If someone showed up at the Games with a mirror like the one shown from Sandia, it would finally blow away what the KC Space Pirates had used.  And, doesn’t the laser picture remind you of the laser focusing setup used by LaserMotive?)

News from the Queens Space Engineering Team

One team which was entered into the Climber/Power-Beaming event at last year’s Space Elevator Games, but wound up not competing, was the Queens  Space Engineering Team.  However, I recently discovered that they DID attend the games, albeit as spectators only.

From their website blog (“Progress” section):

This trip was well worth the time and money after spending one hour talking to other teams, The other 71 hours were bonus!  The first hand experience of witnessing the event will have a profound impact on the success of our first competition experience.  We hope to avoid many of the pitfalls we witnessed at this years competition and pass on this knowledge to future leaders of QSET.

They’ve also recently posted a “Help Wanted” entry, looking for help in their Sponsorship, Finance and Marketing areas (the reply-by date was February 15th, but I would guess that if you’re interested and they still need help, they’re not going to turn you down).

The picture is a team shot from their website – click on it for a larger version or visit their website to see more photos and read all of their news.

NSS Space Elevator Competition Team – Help Wanted

A few days ago, I wrote that the National Space Society (NSS) had decided to compete in the 2008 (and 2009) Space Elevator Games with an entry in the Climber-Power/Beaming competition.

At the NSS website, Bert Murray, fearless leader of the nascent NSS team, has put out a call for volunteers:

All,

I am leading a team to compete in this year’s Elevator2010 contest. Right now the team consists of seven people. I would like to grow the team to 10 to 20 team members. In particular we need help in laser optics, and embedded controls

If you are interested please shoot me an email.

Cheers,
Bert Murray
Ellicott City, MD

hcm1955 [AT] gmail.com

D 301 698 3382
E 410 750 7497

NSS Space Elevator Chapter
NSS Space Elevator Team

As a member of NSS, it’s tempting for me to sign up.  However, I think the independence and objectivity of the Space Elevator Blog requires that I keep this at arms length.  If you’re a member of NSS though (or even if you’re not) and you’re looking for a fun project and/or a concrete way to help further the development of a Space Elevator, here’s a great opportunity for you to do so.

The Space Elevator vs. Fusion Power – Ben Shelef responds…

Ben Shelef of Spaceward sent me the following response to the Bruce Pittman statement (comparing the reality of using Fusion Power for rockets to a Space Elevator) that I posted here.

“Regrettably, that statement shows such a basic lack of understanding of both the Space Elevator design or even straight forward physical reasoning.

To respond directly, there is absolutely zero connection between the wind behavior of the power beaming setup and a real Space Elevator.

A real Space Elevator, inside the atmosphere, will likely have a round cross section, about 1/4″ in diameter, and only 0.05% of the Space Elevator (yes – half-a-thousandth) is inside any appreciable atmosphere. (50km). The Space Elevator will oscillate with a period of hours, not even comparable to what we see in atmospheric tests.

Having said that, here is one more statement:

Go Fusion! Fusion technology is definitely not a pipe-dream, and we need it urgently.”

Thank you Ben…

The Space Elevator vs. Fusion Power

In a recent episode of The Space Show, the show’s host, Dr. David Livingston, interviewed Bruce Pittman.  The topic of the show was Fusion Power – what is the status, when might it be available, problems in creating it, etc.  Now frankly, I know very little about the ins and outs of fusion power, how feasible it is, etc., so I’m in no position to judge Mr. Pittman’s veracity or expertise on this subject.  What did interest me, however (and why I’m mentioning this interview on the Space Elevator Blog), was when a listener asked Mr. Pittman about what he thought what was “more realistic”; fusion power for rocket propulsion or a Space Elevator.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Pittman said “fusion power”.  He freely admits he doesn’t know much about the Space Elevator, but says that, based on his trips to the last “two X-Prize Cups” to watch the Space Elevator Games (?!), there seems to be some “real challenges” to building a Space Elevator, specifically wind issues (and tether strength) and the problem with space debris.

I don’t have the background to make this comparison on my own so I won’t try.  But perhaps you have your own opinion :)

The discussion about fusion vs. Space Elevator is near the end of the interview, beginning at the 52:28 mark.

More updates from LaserMotive

LaserMotive has just announced an Open House on February 23rd for their new shop (mentioned earlier here).  If you are in the Seattle area and have any interest at all in Space Elevators or the technology used in the Space Elevator Games or just want to talk to anyone from the LaserMotive team, here’s your chance to take a close-up tour.

Also, I did hear from LaserMotive’s Jordin Kare about what they were up to, especially at the recently concluded Photonics West Show:

[Space Elevator Blog - SEB] – Why did Lasermotive decide to use DILAS equipment in the 2007 Space Elevator Games?
[Jordin Kare - JK] – We had been talking to a couple of other companies, and had found at least one workable option, but we held off placing an order until after Photonics West.  I talked to several manufacturers at last year’s Photonics West.  I also talked to people I knew  from a company I used to consult for, who are heavy users of laser diodes, and they strongly recommended I talk to DILAS.  I spoke to Georg Treusch at PW, and we made a deal on the spot.

[SEB] – What factors will be most important to you and Lasermotive in deciding what power source you’ll be using in this year’s Games?
[JK] – Ease of development and overall project cost.

[SEB] – Will Lasermotive be attending the Photonics West show and will Lasermotive be “interviewing” with TRUMPF for possible use of their equipment?
[JK] – I’ll be at PW, but on behalf of my employer, not (primarily) LaserMotive.  However, I’m sure I’ll talk to some of the laser companies while there.  I won’t discuss (at least for publication) any particular plans.

[SEB] – What are Lasermotive’s goals for this year’s competition?
[JK] – Compete and win!   Seriously, we have decided we’ll try to compete this year, despite the short schedule, but we are still deciding exactly what we’ll build — and we’re still very concerned about the feasibility of Spaceward’s proposed contest setup.

Thank you Jordin!

National Space Society to compete in the 2008 Space Elevator Games

While perusing the current list of team’s entered into this year’s Climber/Power-Beaming competition, I noticed that the National Space Society (NSS) had recently been added to the mix.  Now I’m a member of NSS so I was quite intrigued as to what they planned to do.  I recently spoke with Bert Murray from the NSS.  Here is what I learned from the conversation.

Bert (with the enthusiastic backing of George Whitesides, the Executive Director of NSS) has recruited the beginnings of the NSS team.  In addition to Bert (who is the team lead), the team includes Matt Abrahms (Chief Engineer), Steve Laroche (command and control), Chris Barnes, Aaron Bakos (who works at Bosch Home Applications, a company that uses Trumpf lasers for fabrication) and Al Burke (Robotics).

Matt Abrahms, as you may recall, was the guy who was behind the Starclimber entrant into the 2006 Space Elevator Games.  It’s great to see him back in the picture.

Bert is looking to expand this team (to at least 10 members) with the emphasis of making it a “senior team”.  Bert, who has 30 years experience in the aerospace and transportation industries, works at Lockheed-Martin during his “day job”.  He is looking to put together a team that has an “engineering” mindset, meaning a heavy emphasis on planning, project management and testing, testing, testing (“build a little, test a little, learn a lot”).

IMHO, the only teams with a chance to win the Climber/Power-Beaming prize now, with the requirements so high, are teams that take this engineering-management approach so I certainly concur with the way they are organizing.

They have talked with Trumpf about using their equipment as a power source; talks are ongoing.

Bert tells me that they want to compete in 2008, and hopefully win, of course, but they are starting late and are focused on the competition in 2009 as well (as is the team from the University of Michigan).

Here’s wishing them luck!

Kansas City Space Pirates to use TRUMPF Lasers in 2008 Space Elevator Games

As noted in earlier postings, both here and on the Spaceward website, TRUMPF has offered to supply ‘Laser Power’ to qualifying teams for the 2008 Space Elevator Games.

The Kansas City Space Pirates have reached an agreement with TRUMPF for use of their equipment.  Brian Turner, captain of the Space Pirates, sent out this email today to his team and supporters:

Well our trip to San Jose was a success.  After meeting with two laser companies we are happy to announce that we have an agreement to use the TRUMPF Trudisk 8002 industrial laser. This laser is the pinnacle of Industrial laser power and performance. It has an output of 8 kilowatts. We are very excited to have access to this laser.

The drawback is that the color of this laser is not well matched with the best solar cells. Our research has led us to believe we have a solution to this issue. We are going on an expedition to Detroit next week to test the underlying tech.

The issue we are struggling with now is how to aim the laser. It’s awesome power level requires exotic optics and/or special tactics. It would be no problem if we had $150,000 to throw at it. But because we have chosen not to be full time fund raisers we are looking for more creative solutions. This keeps with the spirit of the competition but of course represents a possible major barrier to our success. I will have to keep you posted on our progress in this area.

Brian
Captain
KC Space Pirates

This is MOST promising.  Anyone who has seen the Space Pirates in action for the past two competitions know how seriously this team has to be taken.  And now that they’ve ‘moved up’ to using Lasers, it has to be worrying to the other teams.

Less than 7 months to go…

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)

More cool credentials…

In September of 2006, I linked to a resumé on Space Careers for an Aerospace Engineer.  The “cool credential” from that resumé was “Senior Member Research Staff – Assigned to Goddard Institute for Systems, Software, and Technology Research (GISSTR), Project, Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier (SLIC) & Space Elevator conceptual design”.

There’s a new resumé on Space Careers for Spacecraft Operations Engineer.  This one has the “cool credential” of:

Research Thesis: Feasibility of a Tethered Space Elevator: A technical feasibility study into the possibility of a large scale orbiting tethered elevator, including analysis of tether material, dimension, structure and survivability in the space environment. The results were then applied to synchronous and non-synchronous tether systems; the perturbations affecting these systems were summarised qualitatively and a study of the orbital debris environment at the relevant altitudes completed.

This thesis was done in the time period of 1998-1999 at Cranfield University in the UK.  Here’s hoping that someday soon people with these skills will not be looking for jobs as Spacecraft Operations Engineer, but rather something along the line of Space Elevator Development Engineer or Space Elevator Operations Engineer.

News from LaserMotive

Tom Nugent from LaserMotive has posted a new entry to their team blog.  Basically it states that they are “coming back to life”…

“It’s been a while since I last posted anything to this blog. The LaserMotive team has finally caught up on sleep, and worked out our plans for 2008.

The first and most important order of business we had to attend to: our own workshop. I’m glad to report that LaserMotive moved into our very own shop in January…”

I’m going to be very interested to hear what their plans are for this coming competition.  They’re “blooded” now and should be considered a serious threat to make a money-winning run in the upcoming Space Elevator Games

Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the picture or visit their blog to read the rest of the post and to see more pictures from their new setup.

The McCain Space Elevator?

In March of 2006, economist and writer/blogger  James D. Miller wrote an essay for TCSDaily called “Elevating Elephants” (which I linked to here), an article calling for the Republican Party to commit the US Government to build a Space Elevator by 2020.

With McCain the evident Republican nominee, Mr. Miller is now calling for:

Building a space elevator has just become vastly more practical because scientists have figured out how to”grow nanowires of unlimited length.” So I now urge John McCain to advocate building a space elevator. McCain seems like the type of politician who would support a bold project that would showcase America’s technological dominance while giving the U.S. military a tremendous boost.

I’m not a McCain fan in any way, shape or form, but if he did this I would certainly applaud – I’d even let them name it after him (The “McCainevator”?)  Of course I’m not going to hold my breath…

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.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVV0S9cNLKI[/youtube]

The return of Punkworks?

There is a new user on YouTube called Punkworks2008.  Does this bode for their return to competition this year?  In their most recent blog entry, they stated that “We’re definitely not coming back to Spaceward’s games ever again.”  I’ve emailed them to see what’s what.  In the meantime, here’s a video that Punkworks2008 has just posted on YouTube.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gujn1IsmpT4[/youtube]

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The description for this video reads: Punkworks microwave wireless power transmission (WPT) beam testing in 2008 in preparation for the Space Elevator Games. The motor is being powered by the microwave beam.”

It would be nice if they do decide to compete.  No one has yet met a credible, Microwave-powered entry into the Climber/Power-Beaming event.  We’ll see…

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…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dljyEyq5Aw4[/youtube]

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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…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AwVnfo_3Sk[/youtube]

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOc1mjH9bKQ[/youtube]

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And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Nanotubes, the environment and human health

Concerns have been raised by many about how safe it would be to release carbon nanotubes into the environment.  Some of this is overblown I think as nanotubes occur in small quantities naturally (as a byproduct of a wood fire, for example).  Nevertheless, I think the concerns are real and I’m glad that research is ongoing on this subject, especially as one sees stories now (like here) about lung problems being perhaps associated with very small particles jettisoned into the air by combustion engines.

One recent studyfrom Stanford shows that nanotubes in the bloodstream can exist safely within the body and are excreted in the “normal way”.  Not only that, but nanotube based delivery systems for medicines hold much promise to treat human health problems.

But I’d still like to see some studies about what happens when nanotubes are inhaled.  I’m sure there are nanotube development researchers who are now unwittingly being guinea pigs in this area as they work to create nanotube-based materials (like tethers).  At some point if/when nanotube strength gets to the point where a Space Elevator is really possible, this is going to be one of the concerns raised.  Of course, this theoretical release of nanotubes into the environment as a potential pollutant will have be balanced against the very real pollution which is a byproduct of today’s rocket programs.

(Hat tip to Andy Price for pointing out the Stanford Article.  Graphic from here.)

Dr. Michio Kaku website

Back in January of 2007, the Discovery Channel Series 2057 aired an episode which used a Space Elevator as a backdrop.  I wrote about it here.

I bring this up again because I’ve found that Dr. Michio Kaku’s website has now linked to a YouTube video containing a portion of this show, the portion where he is speaking, of course :)

I looked up Dr. Kaku in Wikipedia (sorry, Dr. Edwards) and the guy has a MOST impressive resume.

(Picture from Cosmos Magazine – you should read the article in this picture link – it is quite interesting)

A Space Elevator Poem

Deborah Kolodji has written a poem about the Space Elevator.  She says about her poem:

“Here’s one of my 2007 Rhysling eligible poems which few have seen. It was first published in Encore, an awards publication from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies because it won second place in their annual contest in 2006 in the “Futuristic Award” category.”

You can read the poem here.

News from EuroSpaceward

The 2nd European Workshop on Space Elevator Design has been tentatively rescheduled to Oct 18-19, 2008.  EuroSpaceward’s Markus Klettner emails me that this date will depend on when this year’s Space Elevator Games (now scheduled to begin on September 8th this year) actually occur.

Our friends across the pond certainly have a busy schedule this year:

February 20-22, 2008 ISU, Strasbourg-Illkirch, France
EuroSpaceward’s poster session on Why we need an elevator to space!
International Space University’s
12th Annual International Symposium

Sep 23-24, 2008 European Lift Congress 2008, Heilbronn, Germany
EuroSpaceward’s presentation by Dr. Brad Edwards:
The Space Elevator: Design and Technical Challenges

Oct 1, 2008, Session D4, IAC Glasgow, United Kingdom
Space Elevators and Advanced Tethers – Roadmaps to the Future

Oct 18-19, 2008: 2nd European Workshop on Space Elevator Design, Luxembourg

For schedule updates, visit the EuroSpaceward website or check back here.