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May 22nd, 2006
The space elevator: going down?
Is it possible to make a cable for a space elevator out of carbon nanotubes? Not anytime soon, if ever, says Nicola Pugno of the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. Pugno's calculations show that inevitable defects in the nanotubes mean that such a cable simply wouldn't be strong enough.
This comes in sharp contrast to claims made by Bradley Edwards, whose space elevator feasibility study for NASA and a subsequent book have made him the most frequent spokesman for the project. Edwards, who is president and founder of the Dallas-based company Carbon Designs, shrugs off the controversy, and says that with adequate funding he could make cables at or above the 62-GPa benchmark in just three years.
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