Bri Manning

A Personal Nerd Favorite of Mine: the Space Elevator

December 5, 2011

I recently read a misleading and misinformed Time article about the space elevator that got me a little steamed.

One thing in particular was the dismissive tone. It was never really considered from an engineering standpoint of an engineer. Certainly it sounds like a pie-in-the-sky idea at first, but when someone does some research they find it’s not as far-fetched as they originally thought. The idea that is costs “kazillion zillions” is entirely fictitious. At least do some research and use real numbers.

The real pricetag is between $8 billion and $20 billion, or .2-.5% of the 2012 US federal expenditure, which you can compare to NASA’s 2012 budget of $19 billion.

Now, things can certainly go overbudget, it happens all the time, but even if it still costs ten times as much, the benefits outweigh the problems significantly.

In a nutshell, any writer should be far more educated on the topic and do some actual fact-checking before writing a terribly misinformed article.

And I fully understand if I sound like a space elevator fanboy, I love the idea and have read a lot of the literature on it, it’s something I get really excited abuot – I’m not quite sure how one wouldn’t. 🙂