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Beanstalks, Elevators, Clarke Towers

6 Sep 2013, 14:16 UTC
Beanstalks, Elevators, Clarke Towers
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Planetary BeanstalksArthur C. Clarke well described a space elevator in his novel The Fountains of Paradise:In the very decade that the first satellite was launched ... one daring Russian engineer conceived a system that would make the rocket obsolete. It was years before anyone took Yuri Artsutanov seriously. ... Go out of doors any clear night and you will see that commonplace wonder of our age — the stars that never rise or set, but are fixed motionless in the sky. We ... have long taken for granted the synchronous satellites ... which move about the equator at the same speed as the turning earth, and so hang foerever above the same spot. The question Artsutanov asked himself had the childlike brilliance of true genius. A merely clever man could never have thought of it — or would have dismissed it instantly as absurd. If the laws of celestial mechanics make it possible for an object to stay fixed in the sky, might it not be possible to lower a cable down to the surface, and so to establish an elevator system linking earth to space? When you build a bridge, you start from the two ends and meet in ...

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