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Discussion Forum

Possible shape of the universe

Started by Donald L. Engel. Last reply by Kiljoy616 Mar 18, 2016. 9 Replies

All things Pluto

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Gerald Payne Sep 17, 2015. 2 Replies

The Five Planets in the Sky.

Started by Visvakarman Svetasvatara-Upanish Jun 17, 2015. 0 Replies

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Comment by Gerald Payne on May 29, 2015 at 6:58am

The idea of a space elevator has been around since the late 1800’s, but despite big dreams and years of research, the low-cost, easy access to orbit that a space elevator promises is likely still decades away. The biggest problem rests on the fact that no one has been able to successfully manufacture long ribbons made of ultra-light, ultra-strong carbon nanotubes, the only known material that is strong enough for a space elevator. But entrepreneur Michael Laine believes a lunar elevator – a space elevator from the surface of the Moon – could be created with materials that are available now. With more research and the right amount of capital, Laine says a lunar elevator could be built within a decade.

While Laine said he is still “emotionally very invested” in the concept of a space elevator based on Earth, for now he has shifted his focus to the lunar elevator. “There was a question of where was I going to put my time,” he told Universe Today, “and being able to do this soon – perhaps within 5-7 years and not some mythic 15-25 years in the future is enticing.”

Since the Moon’s gravity is only one sixth that of Earth, it drastically reduces the requirements of the ribbon. A material that is available now, a synthetic polymer material called Zylon (poly(p-phenylene-2,6-benzobisoxazole) which has high strength and excellent thermal stability, could be used.

Additionally, the components to build the elevator that would be sent to the Moon would be relatively lightweight, so a smaller rocket would do the job. “The physical requirements of the system look like you could use a standard Atlas or Delta rocket to launch the components.” Laine said. “That’s a big deal that you don’t need to build something like a Saturn V.”

While Laine said he believes a lunar elevator in 5-7 years is feasible, he didn’t want to go on record as saying it could be built in such a short time frame without adding some major caveats.

The biggest hurdle could be getting access to the 6 cubic meters of the Zylon material. “That actually could be the biggest challenge,” Laine said.

Additionally, there are still an untold amount of unknowns about building such a system. “I used to say for the space elevator that we still didn’t know all the questions, let alone the answers,” Laine said, “and that is even more true for the lunar elevator.”

The other hurdle is money. But a lunar elevator might actually be cheaper

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 22, 2015 at 3:38pm

  These coronal loops are a mystery/  Solar flares and  the like are tantalisingly

These coronal magnetic loops are tantalisingly beyond full understanding.


Comment by Idaho Spud on May 22, 2015 at 2:40pm

Amazing sun images Joan.  I read what is pictured, but couldn't understand it all. 

They say the blue and yellow areas are opposite poles of the magnetic field, and the threads are magnetic flux.  Whatever is going on, it looks powerful and wild.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 22, 2015 at 2:00pm

May 22, 2015

Coronal Loops Over a Sunspot Group

May 22, 2015

Coronal Loops Over a Sunspot Group

Comment by Idaho Spud on May 16, 2015 at 1:37pm

Hope I'm around in 4 billion years to see the main show.

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 16, 2015 at 7:36am

The milky way and Andromeda galaxies, set to collide in 4 billion years may already be in contact. Using the Hubble telescope scientists have discovered a halo of gas surrounding Andromeda that's 2 light years in diameter. Being 2 light years distant, a similar halo around our galaxy would mean contact has already begun.

Quasars are the brightest objects in the Universe and so distant, relative to Andromeda that from them has to pas through Andromeda's halo. Light showed a minute dip at selected wavelengths as  it passed through the halo en route to Hubble

To detect Andromeda's halo, Lehner and team studied how the light of 18 quasars (five shown here) was absorbed by the galaxy's gas. Credit: NASA

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 1, 2015 at 7:19am

Sending a probe to Mercury was the most challenging mission they've ever tried. The gravitational well of the Sun is so strong that the inner Planets, although the closest, are the most difficult to reach. It was estimated that a direct spaceflight to Mercury would need to burn so much fuel to check it's momentum there'd be no room for the scientific instruments!

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 1, 2015 at 6:57am

When we consider that they have only a 50 mile 'window' to hit to get the sling right after millions of miles of travel, with everything moving under the influence of gravity, it's no small feat.

Comment by Idaho Spud on May 1, 2015 at 6:34am

I'm often amazed at what scientists have accomplished.

Comment by Gerald Payne on May 1, 2015 at 6:30am

I think it took something like 8 years to get there Idaho, using planetary slingshot manoeuvers, first out to Jupiter and then slinging back to Earth to Venus back to Earth and so on to slow the spacecraft down before it fell into the gravitational well of the Sun.


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