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Canadian company Thoth Technology, Inc. is awarded a patent for an inflatable space elevator that is proposed to extend 20 kms into the stratosphere.

http://www.cnet.com/news/an-inflatable-s...-a-patent/
http://news.discovery.com/tech/robotics/...150818.htm
http://www.space.com/30272-space-elevato...atent.html

Ciao,

Terrafamilia
A few things about this idea; the inflatable tower would be very wobbly, but it could conceivably be stabilised by guy ropes. These ropes would effectively short out the electrical difference between the top and the bottom of the tower, which would be a challenging design consideration (but I wonder if it could be used to extract energy from the atmosphere somehow).

Secondly the runway on the top seems very short. I would change the design to incorporate a longer runway, or even an acceleration track - I seem to remember one interesting idea, which was a launch track suspended in the stratosphere by balloons. This track was many tens (possibly hundreds) of kilometres long, producing a concept like a Lofstrom Loop but held up by buoyancy.
I believe their concept design features some form of active stabilisation. Few things about this story:

1) It's an incredibly irritating example of how news media works. I must have seen five or six different articles people were sharing all over facebook with titles like "company to build tower 25x taller than worlds tallest building!" No they've come up with a concept design. They've not got any plan to build it.

2) With things like this the failure modes are always what I think of. There will always be accidents, what will happen to this structure if one of the returning planes lands poorly and crashes into the runway instead? What happens if it hits the tower? What happens if someone deliberately flies into the tower? If it's built in the middle of nowhere then it the human cost might be slim but the economic cost could be ruinous.
(08-20-2015, 01:54 AM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]1) It's an incredibly irritating example of how news media works. I must have seen five or six different articles people were sharing all over facebook with titles like "company to build tower 25x taller than worlds tallest building!" No they've come up with a concept design. They've not got any plan to build it.

You guys remember that thread about star birth rates decreasing? Facebook mangled it. This is the kind of stuff that makes people believe gravity fails during planetary alignments.
[Image: 11846520_433582546831914_543473327875468...dzpmgn.jpg]

(08-20-2015, 01:54 AM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]2) With things like this the failure modes are always what I think of. There will always be accidents, what will happen to this structure if one of the returning planes lands poorly and crashes into the runway instead? What happens if it hits the tower? What happens if someone deliberately flies into the tower? If it's built in the middle of nowhere then it the human cost might be slim but the economic cost could be ruinous.

https://xkcd.com/697/
(08-20-2015, 02:47 AM)PortalHunter Wrote: [ -> ]You guys remember that thread about star birth rates decreasing? Facebook mangled it. This is the kind of stuff that makes people believe gravity fails during planetary alignments.
[Image: 11846520_433582546831914_543473327875468...dzpmgn.jpg]

Ergh yup. Might be professional grievance but I think it's worse in the biological and medical sciences. Earlier in the week I saw a headline saying "'Experts' u-turn AGAIN, now fat is good!". Every single minor piece of medical advice is turned into a massive sensationalist piece designed to make those researchers look stupid. In half the cases it isn't even a change in medical opinion it's just one random guy saying something that goes against a thousand other opinions.

(08-20-2015, 02:47 AM)PortalHunter Wrote: [ -> ]https://xkcd.com/697/

Lol, at least if it was cut low enough it would just cost you trillions :p being cut higher...now there's something you don't want if you live on the equator.