An oldie but goodie…

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.

Stay tuned!

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!

6 thoughts on “An oldie but goodie…

  1. Pingback: Tapping into...

  2. Ivan

    Hm, I agree that it is disconcerting to not see the nanotubes make way quicker; I would have expected them to… According to Wikipedia, though, graphene might exhibit tensile strength at that magical limit of 130GPa – considering the Nobel prize hubbub, might that be a quicker route to the material requirements? Or is graphene sheets not suited to building thick tethers?

    Either way, you have an interesting niche here, it was helpful to me when writing about Konstantin’s Beanstalk. Cheers and thanks.

  3. WindGrins

    Does anyone have any reason that they can expound on about why the “power beaming” method seems to be the only method for powering climbers?

    I’ve often thought that a structural element that can conduct power from solar panel stations on the tether or from the surface would drastically simplify the complexity and weight of the climbers.

    See this article for the types of material of which I’m thinking:


  4. Jim T

    Why is no one proposing building a space elevator first in lunar orbit? It would seem much easier and achievable in the short term. If we need to raise mined materials to orbit in a least cost basis wouldn’t that be cheaper?

    So why no proposal for the elevator z-prize there?

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