Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Overview of technopolitics

whats new at ieet

New nanotech to detect cancer early

Short story: Dead Man’s Trigger

The incredible inventions of intuitive AI

Quantum Biology – Wandering where the edge is

On the use and misuse of 1984 in the reign of Trump

Andrew Ferguson on Predictive Policing

ieet books

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World
David Brin


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Comment on this entry

Is Our Time in Outer Space Finally At-Hand?

David Brin

Contrary Brin

May 09, 2012

Obayashi Corp has announced it will construct a space elevator capable of shuttling passengers 36,000 kilometers above the Earth by 2050.


Complete entry


Posted by hdufort  on  05/09  at  09:56 AM

Why don’t we build a magnetic catapult first (space gun, mass driver)? The technology is much more accessible right now and the project could be scaled up, from a low-capacity prototype (let’s say, a 500kg “upper stage” with a 100kg payload). Getting rid of toxic rocket fuel would certainly help us lower the costs and environmental impacts of space exploration.

A mass driver with high-acceleration profile would be cheaper to build but unsuitable for transporting humans. A model with a more gentle acceleration profile could then be built for delicate cargo and humans.

As for a space elevator…  if we could build a “non-solid” tether to maintain a capsule aligned, then we could use the “pulsed plasma” technology (laser bursts) to push the capsule up to a space “terminal” up there, or at least to the upper atmosphere.

Posted by hankpellissier  on  05/09  at  12:11 PM

I like David’s last suggestion here:  “Brain boosts. Smart pills.  For everybody. (oh, please!)  If we can get those, without major side effects, then maybe… just maybe… those stars.”

great idea.

Posted by iPan  on  05/09  at  05:45 PM

We’ll be post-singular before 2050.

Add your comment here:




Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
35 Harbor Point Blvd, #404, Boston, MA 02125-3242 USA
Email: director @