February 26th, 2011
This video is several years old, but I don’t think I’ve linked to it before on the blog. It is a 5+ minute long presentation, narrated by the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson. It gives a very quick overview of carbon nanotubes and how they are grown in a furnace (and then pulled off to longer lengths) and then talks about the 2007 Space Elevator Games - Climber / Power-Beaming competition held near Salt Lake City, Utah.
It’s a bit depressing to realize that the state of the art in growing long, strong nanotubes hasn’t advanced that much in the last few years, but we have every reason to hope that is now starting to change. The upcoming Space Elevator competition - Strong Tether challenge looks like it is going to have its strongest field of contenders yet.
28Feb2011 Update - As noted in the Comments by Brian Turner, the ‘original’ version of this video can be accessed at the PBS website here. There are also links to other Space Elevator related broadcasts and videos and webpages that have more information about the Space Elevator. Thanks Brian!