Space elevator, artwork

Space elevator, artwork

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Credit: RICHARD BIZLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Space elevator. Artwork of a transporter moving along a space elevator from the surface of the Earth to space. To remain stable, the elevator needs to rise all the way to geostationary orbit at a height of 35,900 kilometres, with a counterweight above that. Immensely strong materials (such as carbon nanotubes) would be needed to build this structure, which is a cross between a tower and a rope. The transporter here is called the Clarke Clipper, named after the British science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), who wrote about space elevators in his novel The Fountains of Paradise (1979). Clarke also wrote about geostationary orbit, which is sometimes called the Clarke Orbit.

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