The Corner

Re: Space, Space

Stanley: A reader has reminded me of the “space elevator” that, if memory

serves, featured in one of Arthur C. Clarke’s later novels. I recall

thinking, when reading the novel, that it was all very plausible Clarke’s

work, especially his later work, is all founded in good science. (A “space

elevator is exactly that: a huge tube with one end anchored on the earth

and the other in orbit. The mathematics of the thing are very interesting.

It all depends on some spectacular materials science & of course huge

initial capital investment, but once in place is a cheap and safe way into

space, or at any rate into low orbit.)

Has this idea been definitively proved impossible? Or are the space

bureaucracies too attached to their shiny bright rockets? Or are we

feverishly working away on the idea in dead secret? Anybody know?