Pillar to the Sky

PillarToTheSkySuggested by Timothy Lane • William R. Forstchen looks at what he thinks is a feasible method (given technological developments that are likely) of establishing a space station in synchronous orbit linked by elevator to the surface.
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5 Responses to Pillar to the Sky

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Timothy, this is, of course, a dumb question given your encyclopedic knowledge of books. But did you ever read Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Fountains of Paradise” which has a similar technological theme? An industrialist has invented a carbon-based diamond thread which is strong and light…light enough to braid a rope of these to a geosynchronous station in the sky. It’s quite an interesting novel from a technical standpoint. Once established, it takes a trivial amount of energy to transport something to earth orbit.

    Especially noteworthy in the novel are the perils of building in zero g (or “micro gravity”). The novel gives several interesting accounts of accidents…as well as a couple accidents that occurred in manufacturing and using the diamond thread which is invisible and more than razor sharp.

    I remember, as is usual, there was a certain amount of intrigue in the novel as well. But I do remember it being a particularly good work of science fiction in the best and truest sense.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I have the Clarke book, but haven’t read it yet (I buy books faster than I can read them, which probably surprises no one here). Forstchen has characters in the book mention it. One problem that Clarke probably didn’t consider is the matter of violent attacks — sabotage, terrorism, whatever. In this book, it helps that the elevator (which has to be on the equator, of course) starts from an island in the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati), which makes it easier to control access.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Geosynchronous necessitates putting the ground station on or near the equator. In “The Fountains of Paradise” (published in 1979 before the advent of global warming hysteria and most environmental-wackoism) put it — for some strange reason — on the top of a mountain in Taprobane that is occupied by an order of Buddhist monks who oppose the plan (Wiki).

        Reading the Wiki entry, in retrospect, the plot sounds pretty stupid. But the engineering aspects of it were very cool.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One minor annoyance with this, I should add, is that Forstchen lists Bill Gates as an example of an important entrepreneur. Consider the myriad frustrations I have with the buggy products of Microsoft, the only thing I wish for Gates and everyone else who has ever worked for Microsoft (and, incidentally, also Google and Mozilla, which can be equally frustrating due to their regular blow-ups) to die and be damned forever. (I will admit that today has been an especially frustrating day, but then such days are quire frequent.)

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      buggy products of Microsoft

      Have you ever thought that if any other company put out the amount of faulty products which have been sold by Microsoft, the company would be closed and the managers in jail? Can you imagine an auto company churning out the amount of crap Microsoft has and getting away with it?

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