Continuing with our space theme this week, right now the Space Elevator Games, sponsored by the Spaceward Foundation, is going on to see which company can win the offered prizes. For those who never thought of a space elevator, I am sure you question is, “can scientist make a space eleavator?”
This week in the Mojave Desert, three teams of engineers are competing for $2 million offered up by NASA for anyone who can build a prototype of an elevator able to crawl up a kilometer-high tether while hauling a heavy payload.
While the idea of a space elevator is a great idea, it leads me to think about what converngence of technology is going to be needed to create such a structure. The obvious is electronics. There are very few things in this world without sometype of electronics and this will have a lot of electronics in it. Then there is Nanotechnology – nanotechnology to make the tether or elevator cable strong enough to go 22,000 miles. Photonics, because many of the ways of powering the elevator involves using a laser from the ground to provide power. Semiconductors will be critical because you need brains to run and monitor everything. Solar and wind techonology – so “Alternate” energy technolgogies – after all solar panels in space, wind turbines in the upper atmosphere where it is always windy. Communication technology. Materials technology. It seems like a very daunting task with just this list of technologies, and I am sure I haven’t touched on many of the other technologies that will be involved in making a space elevator. There are a lot of possibilities, and they say it will happen in our lifetime. What type of jobs will this create? Or is creating right now? IF you want to see live feed from the games, go to the Space Elevator Games website.