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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.

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