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Could we build a 20 kilometer high space tower?

RATE THIS! +4
Posted in Science on 13th Sep, 2012 08:13 PM by AlexMuller

Science-fiction novelist Neal Stephenson imagines a 20-kilometer-high steel tower that reaches into the stratosphere.

 

From that height, planes could save fuel by docking at the tower rather than landing, and space missions could do the same by launching from it.

 

Stephenson is teaming up with a structural engineer, Keith Hjelmstad at Arizona State University (ASU), to work out how to actually build the tower, New Scientist reports.

 

Hjelmstad is now analyzing the feasibility of Stephenson’s tower. Preliminary modelling suggests that it could support its own weight, but many questions remain. “The tower pushes well beyond anything anyone has ever done in structural engineering,” says Hjelmstad. “Building [it] would be the biggest project ever undertaken by humans.”

 

The tower story will be published by Hieroglyph, a joint project between the centre and Stephenson, which will host online forums for further discussion. Other writers can also use Hieroglyph to contribute new stories and collaborate with ASU scientists. Author Cory Doctorow, for example, has a story and accompanying research project based around the idea of sending 3D printers to the moon, where the devices would build a base for humans to inhabit later.

 

This month will see the launch of the Center for Science and the Imagination, an ASU project that will bring together scientists, engineers, artists and writers and encourage them to think big. The idea is to team artists and authors with ASU researchers to turn science fiction into reality.

 

For Ed Finn, who will direct the center, success will be measured in part by a change in thinking about “audacious moonshot ideas” that are seen as too ambitious for the incremental process of contemporary science.

 



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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2012-09-14
+1
If you just stop and think about this, could it really be done. Pairing the writers with the scientist is a novel idea and not necessarily a bad one. Although the sci-fi writers do come up with ideas that are not feasible. Good luck to all and we will just have to wait and see the results. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2012-10-08
+0
It's imperative that more ploepe make this exact point. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2012-10-08
+0
It's always a pleaurse to hear from someone with expertise. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-09-13
+0
4vP6DD Muchos Gracias for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-10-15
+0
W0A65B Fantastic blog. Cool. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-02
+0
xHhVBe Very informative post.Thanks Again. Will read on... Reply


 

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