The Mother Of Election Promises...

In response to James D. Miller's suggestion that the GOP commit to building a space elevator for the 2006 midterm elections, Mark Whittington has this counterproposal:
"I wonder if a better space related election year idea would be for the Republicans to openly suggest that space settlements should be the goal of our national space effort and give a list of simple to understand reasons why."(link)

First off, no matter what I read the probability of anyone fabricating a 62,000 mile carbon nanotube cable, attaching to it a large mass sattelite in space and a sufficient facility on the ground all to make an illustrious "space elevator," not to mention doing all of this on the cheap, are pretty remote. The facility and insurance costs on something like this would be mindboggling - though I'm free to admit it's still a very remote possibility.

Whittington's suggestion I think is unrealistic given the political climate - but his line of thinking is sound. Maybe not "Settlements" but a Lunar "Settlement" could be an election year promise. It need not be an extravagant government run affair - they could involve private industry. The most noble course of action could be a proposal to provide incentives for Lunar settlement. Don't make any specific number promises - or if so make them small... Though I think this is what Mark had in mind in the first place just on a large scale.

This would add to the whole "Vision Thing" that is so necessary in an election campaign. Vote GOP and vote for America inherenting the stars... That's something to think about.

1 comment:

  1. Two things that might alter the equation.

    attaching to it a large mass sattelite in space

    You're thinking old-style conception. What we think is a more viable SE is to extend the ribbon past GEO for a total length of 62,000 miles; using the moment-arm of the ribbon as the counterweight.

    Your earlier post reference friction in the atmosphere - but the ribbon isn't moving through the atmosphere - or at least no more than any other structure is.

    We've had insurance reps look at this idea. Given a set of operating conditions that must obtain for any commercial transport the costs are not unreasonable. Site costs are allevieted somewhat by basing the anchor at sea - it is acknowledged that this increase other costs somewhat.