Space Elevators

The Paradisi Project’s success was heavily dependent on its innovations in the development and use of Space Elevators (umbrella term for all classes of elevators).

One of the key problems inherent in deep space exploration and colonization was the incredible expense of using rockets to transport material and humans from the surface of a planet or moon. Not surprisingly, with the development of steam and then electric-powered elevators in the last half of the 19th century that could lift people and goods ever higher distances in buildings that were called “skyscrapers,” people began to think about the possibility of using elevators to solve this problem.

In fact, the lift systems used in the Eiffel Tower are what inspired Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895 to propose a tower with elevators that could reach up to a point in geostationary orbit.

However, by the mid 20th century, scientists had shifted from the idea that space elevators would be part of buildings constructed on earth to the idea of some sort of tether between a floating base on earth (located near the equator) and a counterweight (a satellite or station) built in geostationary orbit above earth.

The main obstacle to this model was the need for materials of sufficient tensile strength for the elevator’s ribbon, and the development of carbon nanotubes in the 1990s suggested this was the way to solve this problem.

In the early 21st century, a number of independent initiatives were taken to stimulate research into elevators, including competitions and privately funded projects like the LiftPort Group.

However, it wasn’t until two of the Paradisi Project founders, Elisha Quinn and Asuka Nakata (who were responsible for financing and transportation) began to pour funds into the research and development of elevator technology that the needed breakthroughs occurred.

There are five basic parts to an elevator:

  • LiftPort: (or anchor/base structure, usually built on a moveable platform located in a planet’s equatorial ocean waters)
  • Ribbons: these are made either of carbon nanotubes or diamond nanotubes depending on the design year and planet and range from 3 to 5 meters in width and around 144,000 kilometers in length.
  • Lifters: These haul dry and wet cargo up and down the elevators. The number of lifters is in direct relation to the number of ribbons in use on a given elevator. Propulsion systems are usually laser-powered, though more the more sophisticated models on New Eden are powered by solar.
  • Docking Station: Located in Geosynchronous orbit around a planet, this is where the humans and cargo are either transported down to a planet or to other parts of space.
  • Counterweight: At a height of 144,000 kilometers, the Counterweight’s sole purpose is to keep the ribbon taut as cargo is lowered or raised.

The first elevator was constructed in 2030, even before the official formation of the Paradisi Project, to lift supplies to and from the lunar surface. This lunar elevator made mining on the moon profitable, and provided much of both the material resources and financing for the rest of the Paradisi Project.

The construction of the first Earth Elevator, Solix Sky, was completed in 2043, providing the crucial transportation of workers from Earth to Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 1 to build the Nautilus-11 Space Station and the first of the Asteria-class spaceships, the SS Challenge.

Two more elevators, the Novux Sky and the Tolux Sky, were completed by 2070, in order to provide the necessary workers and materials for the completion of the rest of the Nautilus Fleet by 2092, when the journey to New Eden had begun.

Later, a Space Elevator was constructed on the planet Tenebra, in the Paradisi System. And finally, on the planet of New Eden, the Nova Mere Elevator was constructed off the coast of the city of New Seattle.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150211-space-elevators-a-lift-too-far

http://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/the-space-elevator-concept/

http://www.gizmag.com/space-elevator-lunar-lift-liftport/35119/

http://liftport.com

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cocktail-party-physics/putting-a-new-spin-on-space-elevators/

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/10/tech/innovation/space-elevator-nanotechnology/

The Paradisi Project and the information under the New World are works of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of our authors’ imaginations or used fictitiously.