Dr. Mark Welland responds

A couple of days ago, I had posted a link to a blog entry which stated that Professor Mark Welland, FRS, had said that the idea of a “Space Elevator” was nonsense.  I had also written that I was going to attempt to contact Professor Welland to try and get some clarity on the matter.

Professor Welland has responded to my query and I quote him here:

“In my talk I was discussing in general terms some of the aspects of nanotechnology that have been over hyped. I gave as an example a proposed space elevator that was on the front cover of the American Scientist magazine. Next to this image I showed the material referred to and pointed out the enormous difference between a hypothetical elevator based on the ideal strength of carbon nanotubes and the reality of the actual material that can be currently synthesised. If one puts the figures in for actual material performance as opposed to ideal performance one can easily see that material is simply not strong enough. This of course was the calculation I was referring to.”

So, his issue was that the current state of nanotube technology cannot spin them strong enough to build a Space Elevator.  Well, we all know that and most of us believe that the technology WILL get there (and quickly, I hope).

3 thoughts on “Dr. Mark Welland responds

  1. Rahul

    Perhaps that is what Professor Welland intended to say. But he did not say that, while he did say the other things I wrote on my blog.

  2. Darnell Clayton

    What we have today is not fit for tomorrow,
    That is why hope in the future we often borrow.

    ~Poetic response, Darnell

    Translation: Don’t bet against the future. Remember the Wright Brothers.

  3. Brian

    Remember the Wright Brothers.

    I do. I remember that one died young, the other had no interest in running a business and sold out and died not nearly as wealthy as he should have been.

    The guys who bought the Write Airplane company then bet that the future was a pusher model plane, but the US Army went with a tractor (puller) scheme. Bankrupt the WAC was sold to a rival – Curiss I think.

    Which does not detract from your point but i do like to keep that lesson in mind.

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