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Beam me up Scotty

Steve
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Beam me up Scotty

Well err no not quite more like lift me up Scotty, a Canadian firms been granted a patent for a space elevator.
Quote
“Astronauts would ascend to 12 miles by electrical elevator,” said Dr Brendan Quine, the inventor.
“From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit, returning to the top of the tower for refuelling and reflight.”

Full story here :  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11805987/Inflatable-space-elevator-invented-by-...
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Seems plausible enough, I had wondered before why it had never been done and thankfully someone is going to try it now.
Now we're firmly in the electronic and computational age, there is no reason why we shouldn't be looking to explore space again.
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

I always liked the idea ever since reading "The Fountains of Paradise" many years ago.
But as it can't exactly be a lightweight construction it has the potential for being a major disaster over a large area.
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Yeah i must admit it's not the sort of thing you'd want falling down on your house in a storm is it.
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

A space elevator is a pretty good idea, build it tall enough and it will be self-stabilising as the space-end will be in orbit so the pressure on the earth weight-wise would be reduced so materials don't need to be as big and heavy as something like the Blackpool tower...
The only issue is building it up and not having it collapse mid-build before it can get high enough to start being pulled out by the earth's centrifugal force, which is why to date it's not been done... Smiley
nanotm
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

to work it would likely need to be built from the top down (the primary tower at least)
whilst normal weather (up to 500 mph winds) at ground level can be built for there are other problems that would also need to be overcome like the greater decay rate at the higher  altitudes due to all the pollution up there especially the particulates which could scour through the outside of the tower in a few months to condensation causing extreme acidity or alkalinity to form on the outside of the tower prom atmospheric pollutants and of course you have the problems of opposing weather streams at the different layers of the atmosphere plus the higher exoatmospheric inductions, unless you can create a shield around the entire tower it just wouldn't be possible to keep it up  (meteors are constantly hitting the upper atmosphere any one of which could decimate a building)
in theory its a great idea but in practice it doesn't work, the temperature based stresses alone would induce building collapse within a couple of years, every day the sun comes into range the temperature would rocket up from -200 to +40 in a few minutes, and that would create structural defects where non had existed previously especially if you factor in the wind speed change adding in extra pressure at the same time.
having a bunch of cables anchored into the ground from an orbital or sub orbital platform might work, but realistically you would probably have to replace them every couple of days or retract them back into the platform daily making it not quite so good as it might first seem/
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Patent for prior art? qv  Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Quote from: nanotm
to work it would likely need to be built from the top down (the primary tower at least)

But as it got lower, gravity would bring that idea down to earth (literally).
Quote from: nanotm
whilst normal weather (up to 500 mph winds) at ground level

Not sure if you intended to make it sound like that but you realise that looks like you're saying you can get winds up to 500mph at ground level don't you? - and AFAIK, that doesn't happen even in the middle of a hurricane / tornado
If I've misunderstood i apologise but thats the way it looks..
You say in practice it doesn't work.. yet it's never been practiced  Wink
As for the heating stresses you mention, geo stationary satellites cope with it somehow..
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nanotm
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Not at ground level but certainly below the height of the stratosphere, you get wind speeds of around 450 in costal hurricanes in the states quite regularly, orbital platforms utilize the ability to move to avoid hitting extremes, a 12 mile high tower would have no such ability, and the surface temperature of the proposed runway would heat up to a few hundred degree during calm summer weather, at that point operations would be impossible and any fuel would be in danger of exploding.
Regardless of what they intend to achieve this is another pie in the sky idea that basic physics says can't work.....
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Quote from: nanotm
Regardless of what they intend to achieve this is another pie in the sky idea that basic physics says can't work.....

Basic physics says man can't fly.. yet we cross large oceans every day.
Engineers solve problems like this everyday. If they've put forward plans to do it and its been approved then they must have some clever idea for solving these issues or they wouldn't be wanting to build it. You forget.. many minds are better than one when it comes to challenges like this and the americans are smart enough to try anything different.
Moons ago I had an idea for RC helicopters with navigational computers, cameras and package delivery mechanisms. I was laughed at like a lunatic. One word: Amazon. The americans will try anything.. no matter how crazy anyone else claims it to be so regardless of your claims it won't work, if they think they can do it, they'll just go ahead and do it anyway.
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

The interesting thing to note though is the effect on the earth's rotation, apparently when the tragic event on Sept. 11th 2001 happened, the rotation of the earth sped up slightly after the twin towers fell, and as more skyscrapers are put up, the effect of the rotation slowing down is being noticed, hence why there was that leap-second thing, so if space-elevators were to become a thing, the earth could start to slow down... Shocked
The effect can be seen with ice skaters when they do them spins, they pull their arms and legs in and they spin faster, but splay them out and they slow down (though on earth, the resistance of air is also a factor), all through the laws of physics that govern centrifugal force, so the more things stick out form the earth's surface, the more the earth will slow down... Shocked
And not even Scotty cannae change the laws of physics;
https://youtu.be/nfZ12UGiisM?t=23s
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

But look at the positive side 2cv.. if the earth does slow down we'll just put a big rocket thruster on top of the space lift and speed it up again  Cheesy
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Re: Beam me up Scotty

Nah, I'll take the longer days, then my 25-28 hour days would be seen as normal... Grin