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?