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..
IEEE Spectrum article>
NOVA broadcast segment>