As early as 1895, a Russian scientist named Konstantin Tsiolkovsky suggested a fanciful “Celestial Castle” in geosynchronous (always stays over the same point of the Earth) orbit attached to a tower on the ground. The concept finally came to the attention of the space flight engineering community through a technical paper written in 1975 by Jerome Pearson of the Air Force Research Laboratory. This paper was the inspiration for Clarke’s novel ( The Fountain of Paradise ).
Current technology is not capable of manufacturing materials that are sufficiently strong and light enough to build an Earth based space elevator. Recent proposals for a space elevator plan to use carbon nanotube-based materials as the tensile element in the tether design, since the theoretical strength of carbon nanotubes show great promise.
Talk about Jack and the Beanstalk.
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