Monthly Archives: May 2008

ISDC2008 – Day 3

Today was the last full day of this year’s ISDC conference and also a day which saw the two sessions devoted to the idea of a Space Elevator.

The first session today was presented by independent researcher Jim Dempsey and was entitled Space Elevator Initial Deployment.  Jim is not convinced that the tether deploymen proposed by Brad Edwards (i.e., placing an initial ribbon carrying a climber at Geo and then spooling the ribbon down to earth) will work, mainly due to ribbon fluctuations.  He’s proposed an alternative, deploying many tether fibers individually down to earth and then, when a sufficient number of them are in place, sending a climber up the ‘bundle’, combining them into a tether as it goes.  He has an Internet-reachable presentation which I’m unable to find at the moment – I”ll link to it when I can find it.

Incidentally, I’ve mentioned Jim in a couple of previous posts (here, where he related a very prescient observation from Sir Isaac Newton, and here, where he weighs in on the paper by Nicolas Pugno) and he will be presenting at this year’s Space Elevator Conference.

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Next up was a joint presentation by Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation and Bert Murray of the National Space Society (NSS) Space Elevator Team.  Ben went first and gave an overview of the Space Elevator Games, discussing how/why they were founded, their history and their current status.

Bert then took the stage and gave an interesting presentation of what the NSS team is planning to do.  The prize money for theClimber/Power-Beaming competition is being awarded in two different levels; $900,000 for a single winner with valid climb of 2m/s and $2,000,000 for a single winner with a valid climb of 5m/s.  The NSS team is going for the whole $2,000,000.

Finally, we have a photo of the “concept” climber built by the NSS Space Elevator team.  It is the one they used in the BBC documentary I blogged about here.  It is a small unit (for reference, I placed a quarter on the table just in front of it), but appears very rugged and efficient.  And, obviously it worked…

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I’ll do a wrap-up post tomorrow or Monday.

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

ISDC2008 – Day 2 – Part 3

Here are a few more photos taken at today’s ISDC2008 conference.

This first one is of a young lady walking around ISDC2008 in a concept design for a new-style spacesuit.  It is supposed to be much more flexible and efficient then ones being used today.  She told me the name of the company was “StarSuits”, but that they don’t yet have a website.  You heard it here first…

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This second picture is of (from left to right) Ben Shelef, Brian Turner and Ray Dittmeier.  Ray is the author of the Space Prizes Blog, a blog dedicated to all things Space Prizes related.  He and I have emailed each other a few times in the past and he has always had nice things to say about my blog so it was a real (and unexpected!) pleasure to meet him today.  His blog is very succinct and is the place to go if you want to follow events in all of the various Space Prize competitions being held.

The National Space Society (NSS) Climber team is selling raffle tickets for a Quilt.  I’m told that this is not just any quilt, but one that normally sells for thousands and thousands of dollars.  This picture is a closeup of the tickets.  Well, I thought they were interesting…

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Finally, this photo shows the shipping box for the Meteor Crater exhibit.  It’s laying on its side and, sizewise, is quite impressive.  My guess is about 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  I’m sure the shipping company was thrilled when they saw this…  It looks very sturdy and should keep this exhibit well protected.

Tomorrow, we finally get to the two Space Elevator presentations which are scheduled.  The first is by Jim Dempsey, an entrepreneur who has come up with an alternative way of deploying a Space Elevator tether.  The second presentation will be by Bert Murray of the NSS team, giving us a status report of his team’s climber.  He’s also promised to bring the “proof of concept” model used in the BBC footage I blogged about last month.

Stay tuned…

(Click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)

ISDC2008 – Day 2 – Part 2

How many engineers does it take to replace a balloon?  The video, below, explores this complicated issue…

It seems that the balloon used in the Space Elevator Games venue mockup was leaking and losing some of it’s lift, so it had to be replaced.  In this video, we see Ben Shelef, founder of Spaceward and the creator of this exhibit doing just that.  First he had to untie one of the four tethers so that he could pull the ‘current’ balloon over close enough to him so he could work with it.  Then we see him replace the balloon with the new one and then have it returned to its original position.  He was ably assisted by Brian Turner and Ravi of the Kansas City Space Pirates.

All in all, a competent job :)

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Some things I learned (or relearned) about balloons and tethers today:

This balloon is filled with Helium, a monatomic (single atom) molecule.  This means that it will leak more than a balloon filed with Hydrogen, a diatomic (two-atom) molecule.  I may have learned this in High School, but probably not…

You’ll note that there are four tethers holding up the balloon.  Four was used, rather than three, for a very specific reason.  If you have four tethers and one of them snaps, this will not put any additional force on the tether/rope in the middle, the one being used for the racetrack.  However, if you have only three tethers and one of them snaps, then additional force can be put on the ‘racetrack’ tether, possibly causing it to snap.  And if a climber happens to be on it at the time, well, look out below…

ISDC2008 – Day 2 – Part 1

It’s now the second day of the ISDC2008 conference.  As I blogged yesterday, Stephen Steiner of team DeltaX was at the conference and at the Spaceward exhibit; demonstrating and talking about carbon nanotubes.

Today, we have the team captains from three of the Climber / Power-Beaming teams in attendance, Bert Murray (of the NSS team), David Nemir (of the TXL Group team) and Brian Turner (of the Kansas City Space Pirates).  I’ve taken several photos and shot a few videos.  I’m posting some now and more later.

Here is a picture of Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation and David Nemir, captain of the TXL Group team.  Ben is the guy with pointer.

David tells me that there will be some ‘very interesting’ news about their Climber system that they will be releasing soon.

This is a picture of Ben with Bert Murray, team captain for the National Space Society (NSS) team.

Bert’s team also has an booth in the Exhibition Hall and he will be giving a presentation at the conference tomorrow.

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And here is a picture of Brian Turner, captain of the Kansas City Space Pirates, and recent guest on the Conan O’Brien show

Why is Brian always in a hard hat and always trying to fix a problem? :)

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Also in attendance from the Kansas City Space Pirates was Ravi.  He’s a main character in the “Fix the Balloon” video which I’ll be posting later.

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This is a picture of the three team captains.  I’m not sure what they’re discussing, but I’m sure it’s being done without revealing a lot of information…

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Finally, an old friend, Ken Davidian, the previous Centennial Challenges guy from NASA, is here.  This photo show him talking with Brian Turner.

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More later…

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

ISDC2008 – Day 1 – Part 3

Here are two more short videos I shot today at ISDC2008.

The first is a video of the awesome exhibit that Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation put together, complete with blinking laser light.

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This last video is a panorama shot of the Exhibition Hall.

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Again I apologize for the poor audio – I have to learn to speak up or else to not say anything at all…

ISDC2008 – Day 1 – Part 2

Stephen Steiner of team DeltaX was here at ISDC2008 today, showcasing and explaining carbon nanotubes to the Exhibit attendees.  Here is a short video of him doing so.  I apologize for the crappy audio.

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In Stephen’s hand is a short piece of carbon nanotube ‘tether’.  At the end of the video, I zoom in on a larger piece of carbon nanotube ‘fabric’ that Stephen brought.

Incidentally, I had a very interesting talk with both Stephen and Ben Shelef of Spaceward about the possible health hazards of carbon nanotubes.  I’ll have more to say about this in a near-future post, but just let me say now that I am much reassured…

ISDC2008 – Day 1 – Part 1

Well, here I am at ISDC2008.  Lots of people, lots of cool space things and a mockup of a possible Space Elevator competition site!

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This first picture is of Ben Shelef, fearless leader of the Spaceward Foundation, along with an interested visitor to the Spaceward Exhibition (Ben is the good-looking guy on the left).  The exhibit is a mockup of what it might look like at the 2008 Space Elevator Games IF Meteor Crater in Arizona is chosen as the venue.  While the crater is to scale, of course the Lego climber on the “tether” and the balloon are not – the balloon should be about the size of a golf ball.  And this exhibit, of course, is the answer to the “Under construction” riddle I’ve posted over the past several days.  Ben will have a more extensive posting of his “progress pictures” on the Spaceward website in the next several days.

This picture is a closeup of the “crater”.  The ‘sand effect’ was created with, oddly enough, real sand.

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Here is a picture of the background Spaceward Display.  You can see several translations of the term “Space Elevator” on the display.  It’s nice to know that someone is getting some use out of my Translation Project….

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And finally, we have a closeup of Ben – this to show a certain family member that he really can wear a suit, even though it goes against everything an Engineer stands for.

The exhibit/display/mockup is really quite awesome – Ben did a great job on this and it has generated a lot of interest.  Lots of people were attracted to it and this, of course, helps get the word out.

More later, including some video I’m taking…

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

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)

Planning for 2008 Space Elevator Conference in high gear…

If you visit the 2008 Space Elevator Conference website and login, you will see the preliminary schedule for this upcoming conference.

Topics include:

  • Why We Need an Elevator to Space!
  • Thin Disc lasers – a robust, scalable source for power beaming applications
  • The Space Elevator: Solution to Global Climate Control
  • Space Elevator Dynamics through Simple Approximations
  • Technology of Japan that can be utilized for construction of an SE
  • Superconducting Electromagnetic Applications for a Space Elevator

And many, many more…

Speakers include Dr. Bradley Edwards, Bryan Laubscher, Dr. Jerome Peterson, Peter Swan, Blaise Gassend, Markus Klettner, Akira Tsuchida, Holger Schlueter, etc., etc., etc…

If you haven’t signed up for this event, I urge you to do so now – it promises to be everything that a hard-core Space Elevator junkie could want.

And it should be a lot of fun too – only 56 more days!

(Correction: 23May08 – oops, I meant Jerome PEARSON of course, not Peterson.  Thanks Michael…)

An Australian Space Elevator Project

I found this video on YouTube a couple of days ago:

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I found it quite interesting, but had no idea in what context it was built.  I contacted the person who uploaded this video to YouTube and asked them what it was all about.  ‘Caitlin2022′ replied:

“Just a group of students from the University of New South Wales, we had a project to build a scaled down version of the elevator to climb a 7m tether.”

Here’s hoping we see an Aussie team in the Space Elevator competition someday…

And yes, the video is ‘sideways’.  It would have been more appropriate had it been upside down :)

The Mighty Tether

Last month, I put up a post about a speaking engagement with Michael Remington (of Team Astroaraneae) and a new documentary film (submitted to the Seattle Film Festival) which is described by its producers as:

“It distills, and elicits the very essence of technological innovation as seen through the eyes of those toiling at the Space Elevator.”

Today I receved an email from one of the Producers, Kane Wilke, informing me that:

“The Producers of the Mighty Tether (Jeremy Dinovo, Kane Wilke) would like to annouce we have a website Mightytether.tv and a trailer of the movie available. The movie’s tentative released day is June 16th for DVD.

At the beginning of the long road to space exploration, NASA pushes to build a real elevator between Earth and outer space. A team of aerospace scientists and technologists responded by creating the strongest rope in the world. Stretching between the balance of their personal and work lives, this team still must push forward beyond rockets and hold the world of space travel on a string.”

The trailer is available at their website (shown above) and also on YouTube:

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There are scene snippets from both the 2006 and 2007 Space Elevator Games in this trailer.  Visit the MightyTether.tv website for more information about this documentary including how to purchase it.

News from the Queen’s Space Engineering Team

On the Queen’s Space Engineering Team website, Progress and Updates tab, we learn that:

“Parts have been ordered and we expect to be starting on the construction as they arrive.

We will keep you posted on developments and news and contacting you as construction begins so we can build our climber!”

Always nice to see progress.

And, a nice article about the team appeared in one of their local press outlets (the Kingston-Whig Standard).  It says, in part:

NASA underwrites the international competition, which will be held this fall under the auspices of the Spaceward Foundation, in hopes that competitors will be able to solve these problems, said Anna Wu, one of the members of the Queen’s Space Engineering Team.

‘We’re really excited to be taking part in this,’ she said, noting the team of engineering and other science students – which bills itself as the most advanced competitive engineering team at Queen’s – has been working on its prototype for two years.”

The entire article is a worthwhile read…

Google honors the invention of the Laser

If you go to the Google website today, you’ll see that their logo has been altered to look as it has been created by various colored laser-beams, this to honor the first succesful demonstration of a laser, 48 years ago today.

I checked both the TRUMPF and DILAS websites, but neither one of them mentioned it – perhaps they’re waiting for the 50th anniversary in 2010 :)

(Hat tip to Dan Leafblad of the Kansas City Space Pirates for this info – thanks Dan!)

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?

Latest version of Space Elevator competition rulebooks now online

The latest set of rulebooks for the Climber / Power-Beaming and Tether events at the Spaceward Games are now available online.

The general outline for this year’s Climber / Power-Beaming event has been known for some time; the climb has been increased to a full kilometer and the average speed needed to be in the running for a prize has been increased to 2m/sec (for the nine hundred thousand dollar prize) and 5 m/sec (for the two million dollar prize).  Note that there will be smaller prizes awarded to those teams who make it to the top at less than 2 m/sec but average at least 1 m/sec.  Amounts paid will be determined by the number of qualifiers and their overall ranking.  To date, a total of eleven teams have signed up.  All of them will be laser-powered and all but one (the TXL Group) will be using lasers in the ‘conventional’ sense, i.e. using photovoltaic cells to convert the laser energy into electricial energy.  The TXL Group will be using “…a combination of phase change and thermoelectric technology to provide energy to the climber.”

Newly released is the rulebook for the Tether challenge.  In previous years, the challenge has been to find a tether that is at least 50% stronger than the house tether.  The bar this year has been raised to find a tether that is a) at least 100% stronger than the house tether and b) stronger than 5MYuri (see below).  Two levels of prize money are available in this competition as well.  If a 2-gram competition tether proves stronger than a 4-gram house tether and 5 MYuri, this entrant is eligible for all or part of the first million dollar prize pool.  If a 2-gram competition tether proves stronger than an 8-gram house tether and 10MYuri, this entrant is eligible for all or part of the second million dollar prize pool also.  Amounts paid will be determined by the number of qualifiers and their overall ranking.  With the advances we’ve seen in carbon nanotube technology over the past several months, this may well be within reach – we all certainly hope so.  At the moment, no one has signed up for this competition – we hope to see the return of DeltaX and perhaps some other teams with carbon-nanotube tethers.  And hey, if someone can come up with something else strong enough to win the prize, we’d all be eager to see it.

Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation has proposed a new measurement, the Yuri, named in honor of Yuri Artsutanov.  From the competition rulebook:

One Yuri = SI-Natural pa-m3/kg, or N-m/kg, and thus a MYuri (Mega-Yuri) is equivalent to the commonly used units of GPa-cc/g and N/Tex.

Only 136 days to go…

(Both picture thumbnails are from the 2007 Spaceward Games.  The first one is a night-vision shot of the USST Climber as it neared the top of the ribbon.  The second one is of the ‘Tether Torture machine’, before the Tether competition began.  Click on either thumbnail for a larger version.)

News from LaserMotive

Tom Nugent Jr. of LaserMotive is resuming his “Meet the Team” series and, while he makes no promises that he’ll be able to keep this up, one can only hope that he does so.

In his latest post, we meet LaserMotive team member David Bashford.  We learn that;

“Dave brings several things to any team he’s on. First is his ability to organize parts, tools and information, something that is easy to overlook and underestimate until you see it in action. Second is his ability to ask the annoying questions just when they most need to be asked (”shouldn’t we move that mirror first?”). Third is his ability to take a rough paper napkin sketch, a badly thought out electrical schematic, and a ten minute discussion of overall concept and turn them into a working proof of concept for a sub system.”

All of this is well and good.  However, as a once proud owner of a 1967 Camaro, truly one of the finest cars ever built, I am thrilled to learn that Dave says about himself;

“When I was a teen I built my first car. A ‘67 Camaro. I learned lots, including you can’t out-run a radio…”

Yes, I learned the same thing.  I foresee good conversations with you at this year’s Games, Dave.

Read the entire post to learn all about Dave and what he brings to team LaserMotive.

(Camaro picture from here – click on the thumbnail to see it in all it’s glory)

More Kansas City Space Pirates news

In his latest missive, we learn from Brian Turner, Captain of the KC Space Pirates that:

The Conan Show was a big hit.  I managed not to choke and remained rather articulate through the 5 min interview.  We did not however get to cover the competition, the team or the sponsors.  They were on the list but I had no idea how fast time would fly.  I felt that I was on for only 30 seconds.  We clearly managed to inform thousands of viewers about the space elevator and raise awareness.  I saw a big jump in web site visitors but only received 1 small donation.  The show will be re-run at least once so even more may come of it.  I will keep you posted.  You can go watch the video on the NBC site if you missed it.

We mechanically steered a beam!  It was just a laser pointer and only in 1 dimension.  Still it is a small but significant step in our mission.

We are planning to go to the ISDC (International Space Development Conference) in Washington DC at the end of this month.  I plan on meeting with potential supporters there and hopefully securing the funds needed for the rest of this year.

Brian Turner

News from The Space Elevator Reference

THE original Space Elevator site, Marc Boucher’s Space Elevator Reference, is undergoing a renovation.  In addition to a spiffy new logo, we learn that;

“…the site will be changing it’s current format which is more news oriented with some reference material to a wiki/mashup platform allowing for greater participation and dissemination of reference material. I anticipate having the site online before the upcoming Space Elevator Conference. So at this time I’m asking for volunteers to step forward in helping create the new Space Elevator Reference.”

Read the entire post to see what’s happening at this site…

I like the new logo Marc!

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…)

Don’t forget to tune in…

I don’t like to write about the same thing twice, especially in the same week.  However, this is just too cool not to…

On Friday, May 2nd, Brian Turner, Captain and Fearless Leader of the Kansas City Space Pirates is scheduled to appear on the Conan O’Brien show (11:30pm Central – I don’t know what time in other time zones – look it up).

Oh, God of TIVO, please let my recording of this show be without troubles.  If you grant me this boon, I will promise to worship you forever and ever…

(Thumbnail from here – click on it for a larger version)

“A speck of dust to change the world”

Dr. Brad Edwards, the ‘father’ of the modern-day conception of the Space Elevator, has written a very interesting article in the latest issue of the TRUMPF newsletter (available here).

In this article, Dr. Edwards talks about how lasers can be used, not only to power the Climbers that will travel on the Space Elevator, but also may be involved in the creation of the carbon nanotube fibers that the Elevator will be built of.  From the article:

“A powerful laser is focused onto a mixture of carbon and metal catalysts vaporizing the mixture into the surrounding 1200 °C furnace. The metal catalyst forms nanoparticles where the carbon atoms adhere and move about to combine into rings and then graphite sheets. These sheets wrap around the catalyst particle and form a tube that begins to extend out as more carbon atoms are added to the end where the catalyst sits.”

A truly interesting article – highly recommended.

TRUMPF, of course, is the company which is providing laser power and laser-power-expertise to no less than five of the contestants in this year’s Space Elevator Games (chronicled here, here, here, here and here).

(Hat tip to Dan Leafblad of the Kansas City Space Pirates for pointing out this article to me – thanks Dan!)