Saturday, 7 August 2010

Elevator to Emptiness?

Hello dear reader. Today’s topic has been one that I have questioned a long time ago, and then forgot about it. Quite recently my housemate has shown me a cool internet tool called “Stumbleupon.” Even more recently, I stumbled upon a site that talked about the topic of Space Elevators.

So the goal for the space elevator is quite obvious. We are looking for an efficient method to travel back and forth, to and from the Moon (and other planetary bodies). The proposed method is using nano-carbon rods (these are quite strong and hard to break) to make a cable and then attach it to the moon. From this plain description, you may have found the problem. “Let’s attach this cable to an orbiting body!”

If we attach such a thing to an orbiting body, there will be adverse effects. When you attach two bodies, especially one that orbits the other, you are changing the orbiting pattern. Thinking about it, we would probably create something like a binary system. There is no real solution for that, except not to create such a device. Earth has more mass, thus, we would be swinging the moon around, which could probably knock it out of its original orbit.

As the moon is a key factor to the tide of our oceans, there could be some very adverse effects concerning our oceans. Fishing will become harder in some areas and easier in others. Sediments would be harder to for with heightened activity. Think of the “natural” disasters that would occur; Floods that seem to get stronger.
Depending on the placement of the cable attachment, we would be creating an artificial “North” and “South” pole. A new axis as to where it spins. This would change the speed in which the moon rotates. Moon gazers would notice that the dark side of the moon appears less often and the waxing and waning process is a lot slower, if not null.

We are going to find a different way to travel back and forth to parts of the solar system. We would be easily be destroying one of the only visually pleasing objects in the sky that people can see, even in light polluted areas (such as Toronto).