When the late Neil Armstrong
and the crew of Apollo 11 went to the Moon, they did so sitting atop a rocket the size of a skyscraper that blasted out jets of smoke and flame as it hurtled skyward. For over half a century, that is how all astronauts have gone into space. It’s all very dramatic, but it’s also expensive. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to take the elevator? That’s the question that Michael Laine, CEO of LiftPort in Seattle, Washington, hopes to answer with the development of a transportation system that swaps space-rockets for space-ribbons.
Public transport systems offer many advantages over the personal alternatives when it comes to getting large numbers of people from A to B in style and safety - less congestion, less pollution and lower costs for starters. But while we certainly see plenty of impetus on the personal transport front here at Gizmag, fresh concepts for the future of mass transport don't seem to enjoy the same level of exposure, despite the fact that many cities around the world are still saddled with public transport infrastructure that's been in place for over a century. There are some radical plans in the works, however, and the 21st Century will undoubtedly bring with it a raft of people moving projects that redefine our notion of public transport. So just what will be pulling into the station in 50 years time? Read on for our pick of the most tantalizing concepts out there.
A Japanese company is looking to take elevators to new heights. The Daily Yomiuri
reports that Tokyo-based construction company Obayashi Corp. hopes to have a space elevator operational by 2050, carrying passengers and cargo in a vehicle that travels along a ribbon made of carbon nanotubes extending a quarter of the way to the moon.
August 5, 2007 Almost 40 years after it ended, the Spaceward Foundation
is reigniting the space race with the third annual Elevator: 2010
competition. Part of the “Spaceward Games” taking place on October 19-21 near Salt Lake City, the competition is open to any family, school or adult and this year allows participants to compete in more events including the first inaugural Light Racer challenge. The tournament aims to bring attention to the viability of far-reaching space exploration concepts and requires competitors to build beam powered lunar buggies and beam powered cable “climbers”. But the machines aren’t the only thing ascending rapidly in the name of scientific advancement; the total prize money this year has skyrocketed to US$1 million.
The Spaceward foundation has announced the Elevator:2010 project, aimed at encouraging public, academic and private sector involvement with development of the Space Elevator. Popularised in science fiction, a Space Elevator hauling cargo up a ground-to-orbit tether was once considered by scientists an interesting but impractical idea. Advances in technology could change all that.