A skeptical view of earth-based Space Elevators…

I’ve read several books by David Brin and enjoyed them all.  This is the first time, however, I’ve seen a David Brin video (albeit a YouTube version).

He talks about future technologies, Space Shuttle fuel tanks representing a lost opportunity, tethers, solar sails and, briefly, Space Elevators.  He’s a skeptic of the idea of an Earth-based Space Elevator (calling it a ‘far out what if’) but is more positive about putting one on Mars.

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Some small nits;

  • In his discussion of solar sails, he says that no one has tried to do this.  However, the Planetary Society has tried once – and failed – and is getting ready to try again.
  • He gives the impression that the taper on a space elevator has to continue increasing from the ground all the way out to the counterweight.  If my understanding is correct, it only has to grow to GEO – from there the tether width can remain constant or even decrease.

3 thoughts on “A skeptical view of earth-based Space Elevators…

  1. Darnell Clayton

    The only thing stopping space elevators from becoming a reality is mass producing carbon nanotubes in near perfection.

    That and the costs (as launching rockets is not getting cheaper anytime soon).

  2. Rick Dagless MD

    The bit about electric propulsion sounded rather interesting though. Presumably such a thing would be even more useful for tooling around the Jovian system.

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