Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Space Elevator 101: Sat., Aug. 15 in Redmond

Scientists, engineers, students, and space enthusiasts are gathering Aug. 13-16 at the 2009 Space Elevator Conference, presented by The Space Engineering and Science Institute, at the Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond. Attendees will parse many aspects and implications of developing an elevator into space using a carbon nanotube ribbon that stretches from the surface of the earth to a counterweight in space.

Some Northwest Science Fiction Society insiders are already participating in the development of the technology (and The 2009 Space Elevator Games) and are up for the full-on R&D discussion, however, the conference will also include a less technical family and friendly event for newbies.

Space Elevator 101,
for those who want to learn more about the concepts, challenges, and technologies involved in this "radical new way to access space less expensively," will be Sat., Aug. 15. The Pacific Science Center will also be on hand, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an exhibit on nanotechnology. The registration fee for Space Elevator 101 (which includes up to four family and friends) is $40 for either the morning, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., or afternoon, 1:30-6 p.m., session. This could be a great double-feature with EMP|SFM's family day and the opening of Spaced Out, also on Saturday.

There was also a free, public presentation, "The Space Elevator and the Future" by Dr. Bryan Laubscher, on Aug. 12. Give a shout if you made it to this and share the scoop.

KUOW's, Aug, 12, Conversation included an interview with Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group based in Monroe, talking about the "enormous" strength ("30x times stronger than steel") of the carbon nanotube ribbon that could stretch into space as early as 2031 as well as the
robots (Winnebago-sized lifters) that would climb them transporting items (as much as 100 tons per week). He mentions just some of the possibilities afforded by this new mode of space travel. A space elevator "changes the entire way of getting back and forth out there," he says. The clip with Laine starts about 8 minutes in.

Read Ted Semon's Space Elevator Blog for updates from the Space Elevator Conference and follow @spaceelevator.

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