Just under 6 hours remaining for LiftPort's "Space Elevator Science" project over at Kickstarter. I kicked in a few bucks; so should you. But hurry.
A short snippet from the Kickstarter page is below, but you should check out the whole thing. We're a long way from being able to build an Earth-based space elevator. The carbon nanotube fiber materials don't exist yet, but there's no physical reason why those can't be developed or that the concept is not feasible from an engineering standpoint.
A lunar version is another story. According to Laine, existing materials would be sufficient to deploy a small lunar elevator (the width of dental floss). Given very low gravity on the moon, this would allow it to be functional for small thingamajigs, and presumably scalable for larger things.
So an Earth one is a ways off. Cost will be the big constraint. So I harbor no illusions that this is going to happen any time soon but I love hearing about dreamers passionately committed to a vision. However seemingly unrealistic it may be in the short-term, it's important to keep pushing the envelope. And hey, who the hell knows? It's so crazy....it just might work!
From the Kickstarter page:
Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure
Feasibility Study - This is Where We're Going
Before we can build Earth’s Elevator, we’ll need to build one on the Moon. It is significantly easier, and much much cheaper. Importantly - we can build it with current technology – in about eight years.
To meet our target date, we need to complete a 1-year Feasibility Study, beginning next year. That will cost $3M. I don’t expect to raise that through this Kickstarter campaign. But I’m throwing it out there so you know what’s ahead for this program. (But if you’re feeling generous – surprise me! All kidding aside, if you think the rewards we’ve got for Kickstarter are good, you should talk to us about the ‘rewards’ if you fund our Study!)
This Lunar Elevator is a new effort. It is part of LiftPort's revival program. This system can be built now, while Earth’s Elevator requires several more breakthroughs. We think we should focus on building this Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure (LSEI or “Elsie”) as a prerequisite to the main goal.
Image: LiftPort, Inc.