Going Up! Canadian Company Granted U.S. Patent For A Space Elevator

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Draconalis:

Zontar:

Well it's something that's going to happen anyway, so all we have to do is have a base built at its base and basic security security measures taken to protect it.

Security measures grow lax with time, and again, terrorism is only one potential problem to worry about. Nature has a way of making even man's most lasting structures into nothing but the dirt Bentham our feet.

If things like that terrorism or natural weather where enough to not build something, we'd still be living in huts, even ignoring things like this which are incredibly useful from an economic point of view.

Zontar:

If things like that terrorism or natural weather where enough to not build something, we'd still be living in huts, even ignoring things like this which are incredibly useful from an economic point of view.

That is grossly false. Everything we build now, we build with that in mind. But frankly speaking, nothing we build now can endanger millions of lives, as this elevator could.

(With the obvious exception of weapons)

Draconalis:

Zontar:

If things like that terrorism or natural weather where enough to not build something, we'd still be living in huts, even ignoring things like this which are incredibly useful from an economic point of view.

That is grossly false. Everything we build now, we build with that in mind. But frankly speaking, nothing we build now can endanger millions of lives, as this elevator could.

(With the obvious exception of weapons)

We build towers with the idea that a jet could be flown into them now, but we still live in a world where the vast majority of large free-standing structures where never designed with something like that in mind. All this space elevator would need to prevent it from being a major issue is to have it built on an island in the pacific so that even terrorists somehow manage to damage it enough to take it down the resulting collapse would be absorbed by the ocean (there is no way this thing would have the mass to create a title wave people a few hundred kilometres away would notice).

It's all about the risk vs reward, and if we're being realistic here we're talking almost no risk vs benefits which are hard to understate.

Zontar:
All this space elevator would need to prevent it from being a major issue is to have it built on an island in the pacific so that even terrorists somehow manage to damage it enough to take it down the resulting collapse would be absorbed by the ocean (there is no way this thing would have the mass to create a title wave people a few hundred kilometres away would notice).

Force is mass times acceleration, it has enough force, once its mass is combined with the energy of the fall. I'm not an expert, but I'd wager it's enough to create a tsunami.

Draconalis:

Force is mass times acceleration, it has enough force, once its mass is combined with the energy of the fall. I'm not an expert, but I'd wager it's enough to create a tsunami.

The mass would require such force to create a tsunami that it would vaporize before it landed from friction. A tsunami requires an incredible amount of power, we're talking about earthquakes at a magnitude 8 or above running along a hundred kilometre stretch of seabed to create what we saw in 2011, something the elevator in question doesn't come close to having enough mass to produce. Add to that the fact that water absorbs kinetic energy when it's from the top down, the amount of energy required to form a tsunami from falling into water is even higher then from an earthquake.

If it was built on an island in the pacific, outside of the island it was built most coastal areas would barely notice it, and those that would would likely have only a few feet or meters of water to deal with, something most already have wave-breakers build specifically to deal with.

Zontar:
snip

A tsunami can be generated by ANY disturbance that displaces a large water mass from its equilibrium position. Submarine landslides, which often occur during a large earthquake, can also create a tsunami. During a submarine landslide, the equilibrium sea-level is altered by sediment moving along the sea-floor. Gravitational forces then propagate the tsunami given the initial perturbation of the sea-level. Similarly, a violent marine volcanic eruption can create an impulsive force that displaces the water column and generates a tsunami. Above water (subarial) landslides and space born objects can disturb the water from above the surface. The falling debris displaces the water from its equilibrium position and produces a tsunami.

More than just seismic activity will create a tsunami, however:

Unlike ocean-wide tsunamis caused by some earthquakes, tsunamis generated by non-seismic mechanisms usually dissipate quickly and rarely affect coastlines far from the source area.

This, I did not know. I still wonder though, how much water would be displaced by the falling elevator.

source:
http://wcatwc.arh.noaa.gov/?page=tsunami_science

The_Great_Galendo:
I thought one of the requirements for a patent was a working prototype. This just shows how friggin' broken the U.S. patent office/system is.

...of course, if they actually build it, and it works, I'll gladly eat my words. But at first blush this seems like yet another company that's going to sit on a patent that it can't really use and doesn't really deserve just so that if someone else actually gets the job done, they can sue them for millions.

There is at least one patent, perhaps more, for a time travel machine.

OT- Cool story bro, but you folks should probably build a place for this elevator to take me first... XD

Draconalis:

I still wonder though, how much water would be displaced by the falling elevator.

They'd be using the most lightweight materials possible to build the elevator, so actually I don't think it would have as much kinetic energy as you might think if it fell. It'd be a disaster for the agency or country who owned the elevator, but from a environmental point of view it'd be fairly negligible. Orders of magnitude less energy than a decent hurricane or earthquake, certainly.

Anyway, I thought the best current bet for sending things into space without relying on rocketry was some kind of kinetic slingshot system?

FogHornG36:
The only thing other then books that i can think of that has a space elevator was one episode of star trek voyager called "Rise". Was a bad episode mostly because of Neelix.

Here, have another!

OT: Yay, Canada science! :D

Zontar:

9/11 isn't going to happen again, it only happened at all because it was inconceivable at the time and everyone thought a hijacking would lead to hostage taking with demands for money, defection or prisoner releases. A hijacking of a plane is virtually impossible in the post-9/11 world.

Yes, after 40 years of hijackings becoming prevalent by terrorist it wasn't until 9/11 solved all the problems. 9/11 happened because they couldn't ID the hijacked planes in time for the military jets to shoot them down.

mad825:

Zontar:

9/11 isn't going to happen again, it only happened at all because it was inconceivable at the time and everyone thought a hijacking would lead to hostage taking with demands for money, defection or prisoner releases. A hijacking of a plane is virtually impossible in the post-9/11 world.

Yes, after 40 years of hijackings becoming prevalent by terrorist it wasn't until 9/11 solved all the problems. 9/11 happened because they couldn't ID the hijacked planes in time for the military jets to shoot them down.

Shooting them down as an acceptable response is a post-9/11 idea even if the military always had it on the table. Hijackings in that 40 year period where exclusively in the form of terrorists trying to get ransoms, prisoners released, getting to a location or a combination there of, and the M.O. for militarise when dealing with this was to wait until the inevitable landing and then take out in the way only the military or a SWAT team can. People didn't resist on the first three planes because to be frank the idea that someone would fly them into a building was just not in anyone's head until after it had actually happened.

Even ignoring security measures which have been added over the years after that event, a 9/11 like hijacking, or a cold war communist or contra one as well, is pretty much never going to happen again due to the new way we as a society perceive such an action. Instead of it being one where we think passively going along with it will virtually guarantee our survival no matter what the outcome (as was the case with pre-9/11 hijackings) now the perception is that no matter what the risk is of resisting, it's better odds then letting them have their way.

This is something terrorists are aware of, and is the reason why now they try to bomb planes instead of taking them over.

There's a cool space elevator in Cyber City OEDO 808... and vampires?

Canada is at a very bad latitude for this. The Galapagos islands would be a great location.

I think the orbital airship makes more sense, don't bother with an elevator structure in the lower atmosphere ... just use a blimp to fly your cargo/rockets/etc to your lighter than air station.

So, I get that this is an inflated tower but what would happen if a rigid structure was built around it and then the base destroyed? Would it fall? I assume so. Would it behave like dropping a rod from space would from that height (a massive explosion) or what? I guess the idea is that it is more like a pendulum hanging away from the earth thanks to the counterweight rather than a structure that is standing on earth. But surely if the base of the structure is destroyed then its orbit would decay very rapidly and fall to earth just like anything else.

I'm partially interested in what could go wrong. Still mostly excited for its uses but what's the worst case scenario? What kind of pressures would it have to survive? I mean, even pushing off of it from space would cause far more pressure than people might with the top of it being nearly weightless despite having all that mass connected to parts that are fully weighted.

Batou667:
Anyway, I thought the best current bet for sending things into space without relying on rocketry was some kind of kinetic slingshot system?

Even if such a thing was feasible (may or may not be, I have no idea), the G forces would kill people and sensitive equipment.

mad825:
Yes, after 40 years of hijackings becoming prevalent by terrorist it wasn't until 9/11 solved all the problems. 9/11 happened because they couldn't ID the hijacked planes in time for the military jets to shoot them down.

There was also an impressive amount of mistakes made by US government agencies. If they'd been on the ball, hell even if they just followed their procedures right away instead of dithering, it likely would not have happened.

Of course, if they had shot the planes down, 9/11 would be remembered as the day the USAF shot down civilian planes in US airspace because of some plan some terrorist group nobody had heard of had to destroy the WTC. It would have seemed ludicrous to very many people if it hadn't actually happened.

Thinking about the movies with space elevator featured in them but not too many i guess. The only fiction coming tomind is EVE Empyrean Age book. Not on earth but space elevator nontheless. Warhammer 40k universe probably has them as well but still no movie.

My questions would be how would you maintain such a thing and how would you protect it from space junk and micrometeorites?

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