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Space Elevator?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Older than Dirt, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. Urederra

    Urederra Mostly harmless

    Apr 22, 2004
    Sea of tranquility
    I think the book is called The sounds of distant Earth, By, C. Clarke. oddly enough, I read the book in spanish and, since I like to read with ambiental music, I bought a Mike Oldfield CD entitled "The songs of distant Earth", based on the book.

    I wasn't aware of the coincidence because the title of the book was translated into spanish but the CD wasn't, until I reached the middle of the book and in a moment of inspiration I took the case of the CD and I started reading it, and, oh surprise... the CD was based on the book. :eek:
  2. royfurr

    royfurr "Klotzen, nicht Kleckern"

    Nov 21, 2001

    I don't believe this is true, regarding radar. Nikola Telsa first proposed the rough principles that would enable 'radar' in Aug. of 1917, which I believe predates Clarke. First practical results achieving this technology occured in England in the 1930's, although actual detection of an aircraft, presumably in flight, occured in June 1930 in the US. By about 1934 Robert Watson-Watt of the Metrological Office in England clearly outlined the details with:

    "... meanwhile attention is being turned to the still difficult, but less unpromising, problem of radio detection and numerical considerations on the method of detection by reflected radio waves will be submitted when required."

    Watson-Watt published a report on Feb. 12, 1935 titled "The Detection of Aircraft by Radio Methods". By Feb. 26 of the same year he had demonstrated actual aircraft detection to a range of 8 miles to representatives of the English government. This directly led to the developemnt of radar for the RAF. Work was at this time also occurring in Germany.

    If you know of actual work or prediction by Clarke, please let us know.

    The British Govt. did not apparantly ever labor under the preconception that "... it will never catch on".

    A good thing, too.

  3. Yarmoss

    Yarmoss Chieftain

    Jan 18, 2006
    Dunedin, New Zealand
    The Red Mars trilogy (Red Mars, green Mars, Blue Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson deals with Space Elavators, and goes into some detail on how humans might build one and the technologies required.

    Granted its sci-fi, and we dont yet have the materials or technology to do it, but as far as realism go, a Space Elavator is much more likely in the next 50 years then humans going to Alpha Centauri! I doubt it we'll even have reached Mars in 50 years, the way the space industry is being run and under funded.
  4. DrewBledsoe

    DrewBledsoe Veteran QB

    Nov 6, 2005
    Cheering For Mr Sanchez
    You right my memory wasn't quite right on that one..in the war Clarke was with the RAF and "During this time he was in charge of the first radar talk-down equipment, the Ground Controlled Approach, during its experimental trials."

    So he didn't propose or invent it, but was fairly instrumental in its initial application.

    He did however first propose geostationary orbit satellites for worldwide communications , and the "space elevator" novel was the "Fountains of Paradise"
  5. Older than Dirt

    Older than Dirt King

    Dec 17, 2005
    Swamps of Houston
    If we all get together and meditate, couldn't we overcome gravity and levitate the junk up into orbit? Does anyone have Shirley McLaine's (?sp) phone number so I can call her to make sure this will work. I'm sure she's been in touch with Arthur C. Clarke.
  6. Crighton

    Crighton Emperor

    Jan 3, 2006

    I think the rail launcher mentioned previously is much more pheasible (sp?) and realistic than doing the space elevator which seems to have caught some favorable pop trend lately.

    But forgetting all that, aside from popping telescopes into space and repairing/launching satelite why on Earth should anybody pay for this thing in real life?
  7. Meffy

    Meffy humanoid skunk

    Mar 5, 2005
    Unincorporated Territory of Croatan
    I wonder how many people gloated as they burst poor Robert Goddard's bubble. "Rockets are fireworks! You're a fool to try to build anything more elaborate. You're a crackpot and will never amount to anything."

    Or the Wright Brothers. "You deluded fools! It'll never get off the ground."

    Early automobile adopters. "Ha! Ha! Get a horse!"

    Do I think a space elevator will ever be built on Earth? No, I don't. Do I consider it crackpot pseudo-science? Not at all. The main obstacles are matters of engineering and of politics.

    For a graphic description of one serious risk of space elevators, check out Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars" trilogy. I can't see one ever being built on Earth, partly because our Moon is so large and near but partly because of the risk Robinson describes in this story.

    Crighton, if you don't understand why we would want to be in space, you've got some reading to do. There are lots of good, recent books that will tell you why space exploration could be the most important thing to happen to us Earth people... if we can figure out how to do it right. (We've barely got our toes damp in the surf so far.)
  8. ZouPrime

    ZouPrime Chieftain

    Nov 18, 2005
    Well, if we want to mine to moon we'll have to find a way to bring heavy machinery up here at a low cost.
  9. Falcon02

    Falcon02 General

    Dec 11, 2001
    Maryland, USA
    The "Gun to orbit" idea, which I think is the general concept that you're talking about, is seperate from the Space Elevator. I think most experts agree this is not really very practical.

    The Audacious Space Elevator.

    I can tell you with Assurance NASA still looks into it, however it's not one of the main priorities right now since much of the technologies required are still very much so in the developing stages. Let alone the logistics and politics of it, especially since I believe a practical Space Elevator must be anchored at the Equator (ie. South America, Africa, or East Indies), you can't just build it at Kennedy Space Center.

    The long terms savings of such an elevator are immence. Average cost to orbit right now is about $10,000 per kg (based on Delta IV EELV series). For anything big and complex, it quickly adds up to billions and billions of dollars just for launch.

    The International Space Station has a mass of about 183,283 kg as of Aug. 2005. That is about $18 Billion right there just for launch costs, not Research and Development, not Manufacturing, not resupplying, and not recrewing. The overall Budget for ISS is about $80. So that's 1/4 of their budget just for launch costs.

    The NASA site I linked earlier estimates costs per kg of appox. $1.50 per kg, which is MUCH cheaper.

    So in short, the Space Elevator is a very good idea, but complications with the idea will likely prevent it from being implemented within the next hundred years or so, if ever.

    As such, I have no problem with it being in Civ IV.

    On a side note, apparently C. Clarke wasn't the first to theorize about a space elevator.....

    C. Clarke just helped to popularize the idea in 1978 in The Fountains of Paradise. Though it didn't become feesible until recently with the discovery of carbon nanotubes, since nothing else could withstand the forces.

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