Space Elevator Concept Takes Some Damage

March 31 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Space   Year: Beyond   Rating: 8

It’s time to recalibrate those space elevator predictions. A new study published in the journal Acto Astronautica claims that the potential for catastrophic wobble is much higher than previously predicted.

Even if a space elevator could be built, it will need thrusters attached to it to prevent potentially dangerous amounts of wobbling, says Lubos Perek of the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Astronomical Institute in Prague. The addition would increase the difficulty and cost of building and maintaining the elevator. – New Scientist

Check out this video to see what might befall a space elevator not supported by thrusters:

Now that’s one extreme, world-class case of whip-lash.

(via New Scientist)

Comment Thread (3 Responses)

  1. I would not want to be at the space end of that elevator.

    Posted by: FutureFly   March 31, 2008
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  2. What’s making that thing wobble? Wind? It looks to me like it just started in a non-equilibrium position and would stabilize.

    Posted by: Andriod   March 31, 2008
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  3. The article cites “gravitational tugs from the Moon and Sun, as well as pressure from gusts of solar wind” as destabilizing factors. The scientists seem to agree that a space elevator is do-able, but differ on the effort it would take to mitigate a worst-case scenario.

    Posted by: Accel Rose   March 31, 2008
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