24Feb2012

 All Aboard The Space Elevator /A Continent Ablaze in Auroral and Manmade Light

Space elevators have been our shared dream for years, but like other promising technologies of the future, they’re just concepts on a distant horizon. Now a Japanese construction firm that specialises in the very tall could make them a reality. By 2050, so still pretty far on that horizon, but hey, it’s a start.

Obayashi Corp., which is almost done building the giant structure above, the Tokyo Sky Tree, wants to build a space elevator that would reach 36,000 km above the Earth – that’s above the altitude where geosynchronous satellites orbit. It would take a week to ride up the elevator, traveling on some type of vessel tethered to carbon nanotube cables.

In Obayashi’s plan, a carbon nanotube cable would stretch one-quarter of the way from the Earth to the moon, about 96,000 km and attach to some type of spaceborne counterweight. The other end of the tether would be anchored at an Earth-based spaceport, as reported by the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

The elevator car could carry up to 30 people and would travel at 200 kph for a week. Tourists could stay at the waystation at 36,000 km up, and scientists and researchers could go all the way to the end of the tether. There are unfortunately no leads on cost, where to build it or who would finance the project, however.

AFP reports that the company was inspired by its work on the Sky Tree, a 634-metre tower that will contain telecommunications antennas and a visitor’s deck offering panoramic views of the capital. “Our experts on construction, climate, wind patterns, design, they say it’s possible,” spokeswoman Satomi Katsuyama told AFP. In 40 years, maybe so. Source: Aust. Popular Science

 

A Continent Ablaze in Auroral and Manmade Light

The North American continent is literally set ablaze in a confluence of Auroral and Manmade light captured in spectacular new videos snapped by the astronauts serving aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The Expedition 30 crew has recently filmed lengthy sequences of images that are among the most stunning ever taken by astronauts flying in orbit some 240 miles (385 kilometers) over the United States and Canada.

Teams working at the Crew Earth Observations center at NASA’s Johnson SpaceCenter in Houston, Texas have assembled hundreds of individual still images taken onboard the ISS into a series of amazing videos.

Two videos collected here focus on the East and West coasts of North America and show the path traveled by the station from the crew’s perspective as they photographed the light emitted by hundreds of millions of humans living below and the brilliant light of the Aurora Borealis shining above them.

Recently we highlighted a single night time snapshot of the East Coast and tens of millions of humans. Source; Universe Today

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