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The Space Elevator

Arguably the most conceptual of all the technologies spotlighted in Postcards, the Space Elevator is a ribbon of incredibly durable carbon nanotubes that stretch from a 'ground station' upwards, all the way into space. Getting off the planet becomes a simple task of getting in an 'elevator' that climbs the ribbon up into geosynchronous orbit.

Originally envisioned by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov, the space elevator concept was brought into popular mainstream sci-fi in Arthur C. Clarke's "Fountains of Paradise". Because of the technical requirements for building a space elevator, the idea has been relegated to science fiction realms for a few decades, but current scientific developments in carbon nanotubes have advanced the possibility that it may really be possible to build a space elevator..

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