Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Could An Orbital Space Elevator On Phobos Open Up Mars? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

Like many of the worlds that orbit the Sol star, Mars has the potential to play a significant role in our future solar economy. The red planet could easily serve as a stepping stone towards humanity colonizing other worlds such as Ceres, Ganymede, and beyond.

But before we can dream about conquering this red gem, humanity may need to figure out how to land humans safely upon Mars, as the crimson planet's atmosphere may pose problems for future explorers.

If humanity is ever going to conquer Earth's favorite neighbor, then scientists are going to have to figure out a way to transport large payloads to the crimson world below.

Although a space elevator would compliment Martian colonies by providing a low cost method of delivering goods to the surface, such a structure would easily be destroyed by the red planet's global storms that dust the surface every three Martian years.

But despite the fact that constructing a space elevator upon Martian soil may be not be feasible, constructing an orbital one (that does not touch the ground) from the base of its nearest moon may not.

The moon Phobos orbits its guardian planet at less than 6,000 km, a distance that should be within easy range of any powerful rocket. With the red planet's atmosphere extending only to about 11 kilometers, a strong space tether could be constructed just above the clouds, allowing easy access for smaller space craft seeking easy access to the stars.

Another advantage an orbital "Phobian space elevator" would have is the availability of the space port towards the Martian masses. Phobos orbits its parent world in under eight hours, seeing up to three sunrises in an average Martian day.

Constructing an orbital space elevator from underneath this asteroid moon belly would enable colonists to have frequent access towards needed supplies off world, as well as a dependable quick exit if terraforming Mars takes a turn for the worse.

An orbital space elevator underneath Phobos could ultimately open up the crimson world towards human habitation, and allow us to not only land colonists upon this rusty world, but quickly transform Mars into a second home.

Note: Due to time constraints, images will be inserted later on in this post.

Update: Images added.

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  1. Do you really think that a Martian dust storm could hurt a Space Elevator? How fast do the winds blow in such a storm?

    Ted Semon
    The Space Elevator Blog

  2. Hey Ted,

    Martian winds have been recorded at speeds of 375 mph on the red planet, and I wouldn't be surprised if faster ones were discovered once humans land there.

    But what worries me is not the winds, but rather the lightening resulting from the global dust storms.


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

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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