Friday, September 15, 2006

From Space Elevators To Solar Bridges? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
Imagine if you will that a small company out of Washington State (USA) achieves the impossible. Imagine if a company called LiftPort is able to successfully build a structure spanning from the oceanic surface to 100,000 km into space.

Such a feat would revolutionize the space industry entirely, and perhaps change the way we view space as we know it. But what if humanity went beyond constructing a planetary elevator into space, and decided to create a solar bridge connecting two worlds?

Solar bridges, like space elevators, would revolutionize the way citizens on two worlds engage in trade and transportation. Instead of having to launch shuttles into space (which can become fairly tedious and expensive), residents could simply transport their goods through an inter-planetary auto-bahn without worrying about the size and the amount.

A solar bridge would also serve as a "rest stop" for future star ships needing to deploy goods between worlds. Instead of docking on a space station and requiring its resources/crew to descend upon the world via miniature rocket shuttles, a solar bridge would enable star ships to quickly deliver necessary goods by tapping into the "economic blood stream" of the planetary system.

Last but not least, a solar bridge would enable scientists, governments and businesses to conduct research within a microgravity environment without having to board a shuttle. This would not only reduce the cost of these studies, but enable them to transport the fruits of their labor back home or towards the other side.

But just like their space elevator ancestors, solar bridges would only be feasible under certain conditions, and most planetary systems would probably not be suitable to host one.

They would have to be constructed in a region free from hazardous space debris (such as asteroids, comets and space junk). They would also have to be located within a binary system whose worlds are gravitationally locked, otherwise the rotation or orbit of one of these worlds would simply tear the structure in half.

Although the only planetary system meeting these conditions is Pluto and Charon, humanity may want to consider drawing plans for such a feat, especially if they encounter binary systems in other solar systems.

Humanity is a community orientated species, and one can notice this by observing the massive bridges built between cities, and even countries. If the conditions are favorable enough, why not attempt to build something similar between two worlds?

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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