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August 26th, 2005
Stu Hutson: Blasting a space shuttle away from Earth's gravity and through atmospheric friction at 15,000 miles an hour (24,140 kilometers an hour) is the most dangerous and costly part of every mission. Why not just take an elevator instead? Thanks to a new development in the manufacture of molecule-size cylinders known as carbon nanotubes, that may one day be a viable option.
"This is a trillion-dollar moneymaker for a ten billion dollar investment," said Bradley Edwards, whose work with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts has made him a go-to expert on space elevators. "Some of the largest companies in the world are just waiting for the word that this is possible."
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