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January 29th, 2007
Nanotubes could link elevator to space
Forget bone-jarring lift-offs and clunky space shuttles: the trip to space may soon be as smooth as a ride up a long elevator, thanks in part, to the work of UTD scientists.
Ray Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute, recently discussed the possibility of building an elevator to space on the science show "NOVA," which aired on PBS in January.
"It's a dream of the future, but it's an achievable dream," Baughman said.
A space elevator, a 22,000 mile-long cable from the earth to outer space, could make this dream a reality.
For a space elevator to function, a cable with one end attached to the Earth's surface stretches upwards, reaching beyond the Earth's gravitational pull at 21,700 miles. After that, simple physics takes charge.
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