Space elevators may not be a reality — yet — but if you want to revel in talks about these awesome lifts to the sky and beyond, then this is your weekend.
The 2012 Space Elevator Conference is landing at the Museum of Flight right here in Seattle. That’s right, Saturday through Monday, scientists, engineers and other assorted space geeks will gather to discuss all things space elevator in four areas of development: technology, business, outreach and legal, under this year’s theme of “Operating and Maintaining a Space Elevator.”
Just why would space elevators rule? Here’s a great article from our friends at the BBC on why space elevators make so much sense: They are way cheaper and more efficient than rockets in terms of carrying cargo and people. And less polluting. Think you’re going to get to space on one of Richard Branson’s rockets? Think again. You will probably have better odds on a space elevator — that is, if we can get them to exist.
Just what are space elevators? A “ribbon or tether” from the Earth’s surface, with a counterweight and centrifugal force at top. Robot “climbers” would go up the ribbons, possibly powered by lasers. How cool does that sound?
“You could take a ride for the cost of a first class airline ticket,” David Horn, the conferences chair of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), the group putting on the Space Elevator Conference, told the BBC. “A primary school could have a bake sale to cover the costs of sending a class science experiment into space.”
And while registration for the technical portion of the conference closed Aug. 19, check out the happenings at spaceelevatorconference.org to see if you can still beg, borrow or steal your way in. Or just check out the family science fest included with your Museum of Flight admission on Saturday.
All we can say is, space elevators, yes please!