New items from Japan

A couple of new Space Elevator items from Japan are in the news.

First is a pre-announcement of LASER2011, the annual student competition held by the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA).  This is the third (or fourth?) such competition.  No exact date has been set, but JSEA states that it will be at “the end of October”.  Details can be found here (note that this page is in Japanese – you can open the page in Google Chrome and translate it to English).

The second item is a video I found titled “Spinning Carbon Nanotubes for the Space Elevator and Industrial Applications“.  This appears to be narrated by Professor Yoku Inoue – team lead for a competitor in the 2009 Strong Tether Competition (I blogged about his entry here).  Professor Inoue and his team hailed from Shizuoka university in Japan.  Professor Inoue has been invited to compete again this year and I sincerely hope he does.

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What’s interesting here (to me anyway) is that the CNT’s are being pulled out/off of the CNT ‘forest’ in a wide array.  It’s nearly transparent as you can see.  When I watched CNT’s being pulled out/off a CNT ‘forest’ at the University of Cincinnati labs, they pulled them off as a very thin thread – traveling from one of the ‘forest’ and back again.  In both cases, it is just the Van der Walls force that is holding the CNTs together…