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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 04 2018, @01:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the going-up! dept.

Japan is taking us one step closer to a space elevator.

Elon Musk may not believe in space elevators yet, but Japan is taking a step forward to realise the dream of travelling to space by elevators instead of the traditional rocket.

A team of researchers from Japan's Shizuoka University and other institutions will conduct the first test in space this month as part of a project to build a space elevator, Japan's The Mainichi reported last week. The space elevator essentially ferries people and cargo shipments in an elevator car travelling on a cable connecting Earth to a space station.

This test is the first exploring the movement of a container on a cable in space. Two ultra-small cubic satellites measuring 10 centimeters on each side connected by a steel cable about 10 metres long will be carried from Kagoshima's Tanegashima Space Center to the International Space Station on Sept. 11.

From there, the connected satellites will be launched and a motorised container acting as an elevator car will travel along the cable and have its journey recorded via a camera attached to the satellites.

The project's technical advisor, Japan's construction giant Obayashi Corporation, is also working on a similar project, though it previously said it expects to deliver a space elevator by 2050.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04 2018, @08:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04 2018, @08:06PM (#730438)

    If a beanstalk breaks, it'll potentially wrap around the Earth one and a half times, unleashing massive devastation across the path of its fall. The top end at least might burn up in the atmosphere - then again, it might not: after all it'd be FAR wider than the base, to support the weight of all the cable beneath it. After falling 36,000 km it might well manage to get through the atmosphere before most of it has burnt away. Especially since carbon nanotubes are quite possibly the best thermal conductors known to man - that cable might barely burn until the whole length is approaching it's flash point - at which point flames might end up racing down the length of the preheated cable, rapidly creating the largest fires humanity has ever dealt with (though the portions in the ocean would offer both a firebreak and cooling to the remainder.)

    Also wouldn't the cable impacting the ocean (assuming it doesn't completely burn up) cause a giant tsunami along the length of the cable?

    This would make an epic disaster film!