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Source:http://www.space.com/businesstec ... vator_020327-1.html|
The Space Elevator Comes Closer to Reality
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
27 March 2002
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO -- Make way for the ultimate high-rise project: the space elevator. Long viewed as science fiction "imagineering", researchers are gathering momentum in their pursuit to propel this uplifting concept into actuality.
Still, the mental picture needed to grasp the elevator to space idea…well, you can't be weak of mind.
Forget the roar of rocketry and those bone jarring liftoffs, the elevator would be a smooth 62,000-mile (100,000-kilometer) ride up a long cable. Payloads can shimmy up the Earth-to-space cable, experiencing no large launch forces, slowly climbing from one atmosphere to a vacuum.
Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, Venus, the asteroids and beyond - they are routinely accessible via the space elevator. And for all its promise and grandeur, this mega-project is made practical by the tiniest of technologies - carbon nanotubes.
Seen as an engineering undertaking for the opening decades of the 21st century, the space elevator proposal was highlighted here during the 2002 Space and Robotics Conferences, held March 17-21, and sponsored by the Aerospace Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers.